Review: Miss Julia Renews Her Vows by Ann B. Ross

Title: Miss Julia Renews Her Vows

Author: Ann B. Ross

Genre/Pages: Fiction, Mystery /352

Publication: Viking, April 6, 2010

Rating: 2  Bookmarks*

Source: Review copy courtesy of Viking Books

The 11th installment in this charming Southern mystery series, Miss Julia proves her mettle once again as an amateur sleuth, proper Southern lady, wife, and friend.

Miss Julia has her work cut out for her as she orchestrates a shotgun wedding, attempts to clear the name of a friend accused of assualt and burglary, and faces off with two antagonists from books past.  To complicate matters further, Julia’s second husband encourages her to accompany him to marriage classes, sparking insecurity that she isn’t living up to Sam’s expectations.

Jumping into an established series without reading at least the first book is  difficult because it’s hard to get a full sense of the characters and story.  I intended to read the first book of the Miss Julia series before reviewing this novel but didn’t have the chance.  Prior knowledge of the characters and back story would have greatly increased my enjoyment of this novel, hence my asterisked rating.

Some series authors, Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich come readily to mind, dedicate a few paragraphs at the start of each installment to back story.  Unfortunately, Ann B. Davis hit the ground running, and I had difficulty trying to piece together relationships, characters, and events from previous stories.

That said, the novel was enjoyable and well written, though the actual mystery and scandals were a bit watered down.  Davis writes great dialogue and her characters are dynamic and funny.  Characterization, especially physical description, was a bit scant but may have been given in earlier novels.  Compounding my inability to visualize the characters was the fact that this series seems to be geared to a more mature audience, if you will.

Miss Julia Renews Her Vows was a light and fun romp through a quick Southern mystery.  I’m sure fans of the series will be delighted, but new readers should start at the beginning to enhance their appreciation.

* Indicates that this book will be more well-received by fans of the series.

8 Comments

  • At 2010.04.06 11:03, Les in NE said:

    I’ve only read the first in this series and it was YEARS ago! As I recall, it was entertaining, but apparently not so wonderful that I continued with the others. I didn’t realize she was on her 11th book, in spite of seeing the collection on the shelf at work (B&N) nearly every day. 😉
    .-= Les in NE´s last blog ..Maisie Dobbs – Audio =-.

    • At 2010.04.06 11:17, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

      Sorry this didn’t work for you as well as it could have. I really enjoy this series and will be reading this one soon since I’ll be attending the author’s Book Your Lunch event.

      • At 2010.04.06 11:25, Natalie said:

        Kathy,
        I hope you have a great time at the lunch event–you sure get around. I know that this installment will resonate with fans; it was just a bit too hard to fully appreciate the characters without knowing the back story.
        Cheers!
        Natalie

      • At 2010.04.06 11:55, Amused said:

        I’ve never heard of this series before. I am constantly amazed how many series our out there with a ton of books in them that sound great that I have yet to read! Someday…
        .-= Amused´s last blog ..Mailbox Monday – Mar. 29 – Apr. 3, 2010 =-.

        • At 2010.04.06 14:09, Meg said:

          Even when I have read the previous books in a series, I’m always grateful for those little opening explanations to help me remember what happened in books past! Since it’s usually been months (or even years) since I encountered the characters, a little back story never hurt anyone.

          I think I’ve seen some of the books in this series before… sounds like it could be entertaining!

        • At 2010.04.06 15:28, vivienne said:

          I am really getting into these Southern books and like the sound of this series. Sorry this didn’t work for you though.
          .-= vivienne´s last blog ..Happy Easter =-.

          • At 2010.04.08 06:07, vivienne said:

            I haven’t really ventured into the cozy mystery genre yet. Although I suppose M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series might come under this title. I like the sound of this series as it is set in the South, but it sounds like you need to start from the beginning.
            .-= vivienne´s last blog ..Happy Easter =-.

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