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Life in Abbotsville is full of surprises.
What is the Miss Julia series about?
Written by North Carolinian author Ann B. Ross, the Miss Julia series is about an elderly widow in Abbotsville (in North Carolina, of course).
Exploring with humor the Southern culture, the story of Miss Julia began with a death, the one of Julia’s husband. After that, secrets emerged, new friends appeared, and adventures followed as Miss Julia’s world kept expanding.
As the series progresses, Miss Julia’s personal life also develops, as she becomes more involved in the lives of her family members and forms new relationships with others in her community. In fact, Miss Julia takes on a variety of challenges and helps her friends and neighbors navigate their own difficulties.
How to read Miss Julia Books in Order?
Every book in the Miss Julia series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind (1999)
- Miss Julia Takes Over (2001)
- Miss Julia Throws a Wedding (2002)
- Miss Julia Hits the Road (2003)
- Miss Julia Meets Her Match (2004)
- Miss Julia’s School of Beauty (2005)
- Miss Julia Stands Her Ground (2006)
- Miss Julia Strikes Back (2007)
- Miss Julia Paints the Town (2008)
- Miss Julia Delivers the Goods (2009)
- Miss Julia Renews Her Vows (2010)
- Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle (2011)
- Miss Julia to the Rescue (2012)
- Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble (2013)
- “Miss Julia’s Gift” (short story, 2013)
- Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover (2014)
- Etta Mae’s Worst Bad-Luck Day (2014)
- Miss Julia Lays Down the Law (2015)
- Miss Julia Inherits a Mess (2016)
- Miss Julia Weathers the Storm (2017)
- Miss Julia Raises the Roof (2018)
- Miss Julia Takes the Wheel (2019)
- Miss Julia Knows a Thing or Two (2020)
- Miss Julia Happily Ever After (2021)
What is the plot of the Miss Julia novels?
For more information about the books in the Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross, you’ll find below the official synopsis for all the books:
- Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind – Miss Julia, a recently bereaved and newly wealthy widow, is only slightly bemused when one Hazel Marie Puckett appears at her door with a youngster in tow and unceremoniously announces that the child is the bastard son of Miss Julia’s late husband. Suddenly, this longtime church member and pillar of her small Southern community finds herself in the center of an unseemly scandal.
- Miss Julia Takes Over – Hazel Marie doesn’t return from a dinner date with a fund-raiser who, in Miss Julia’s opinion, wears his shorts too tight. Frantic and unable to persuade the local police that Hazel Marie is in danger, Miss Julia hires J. D. Pickens to investigate. She and Little Lloyd help search for Hazel Marie, running into adventures ranging from a most indelicate display of fisticuffs to a high-speed car chase on the track of a NASCAR Speedway, all the while standing strong…
- Miss Julia Throws a Wedding – To Miss Julia’s delight, a wedding is in the offing: Handsome Deputy Coleman Bates and attorney Binkie Enloe announce their plans to run down to the courthouse and tie the knot. But Miss Julia insists they have a real wedding ceremony and vows to make it happen. When a missing preacher, a crowd of uninvited guests, and a queasy bride threaten the happy event, Miss Julia is there to restore order, confirming her undying motto: if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!
- Miss Julia Hits the Road – Miss Julia is becoming increasingly concerned about her gentleman friend, Sam, who has suddenly started wearing cowboy boots, sending her flowers, and writing bad poetry. And when he shows up on a Harley-Davidson Road King and asks her to hop on, she’s convinced he’s lost his mind. Meanwhile, Lillian has been evicted from her home by her greedy landlord. Deciding that Lillian’s need is greater than her own fear, Miss Julia takes Sam up on his offer and sets off on a motorcycle Poker Run to raise some fast cash.
- Miss Julia Meets Her Match – Sam Murdoch wants to tie the knot. While it’s hard to resist Sam’s charm, Miss Julia isn’t about to give up her independence. After all, there are plenty of other matters that require her attention, including a Holy Land theme park to be built on her property, a possible affair between the mayor and the preacher’s secretary, and the arrival of her housekeeper Lillian’s five-year-old pistol of a great-granddaughter.
- Miss Julia’s School of Beauty – Miss Julia returns from her whirlwind elopement, only to find herself roped into Hazel Marie’s scheme to raise money by throwing a beauty pageant. Though it all seems a tad distasteful, it’s nothing compared to the revelation that Pigeon Forge, the marriage mill across the state line that wedded Julia and Sam, might not be legitimate. And a flustered Julia can’t help wondering whether she and Sam can keep up appearances before the town finds out they might be living in sin.
- Miss Julia Stands Her Ground – Hazel Marie’s troublemaking uncle, Brother Vernon Puckett, has just swept into town and questioned Little Lloyd’s paternity. Suddenly Miss Julia’s late husband’s estate is up for grabs, and it’s up to her to prove that the boy’s claim is legitimate.
- Miss Julia Strikes Back – Miss Julia’s cherished engagement ring turns up missing after a party, making her the latest target of a Florida-based gang who, according to Sergeant Coleman Bates, has been denuding Dixie of its jewelry. Incensed, Miss Julia packs Little Lloyd into the car and heads south to claim what is rightfully hers-and to show the feds that there’s more than one way to do reconnaissance: selling the Good Book!
- Miss Julia Paints the Town – The sleepy town of Abbotsville is abuzz over the mayor’s plans to replace the old courthouse with luxury retirement condos. On top of that, several of the town’s husbands seem to have flown the coop. As usual, it falls to Miss Julia to save the day-and the courthouse- even if she has to expose a few of the town’s not-so-well-kept secrets.
- Miss Julia Delivers the Goods – Miss Julia whisks Hazel Marie off to the doctor when the latter admits she’s been feeling poorly. The news floors them both: Hazel Marie is pregnant with twins. Unfortunately, she’s also just sent her beau, Mr. Pickens, packing. Miss Julia needs a plan-and fast. So when Sam’s house is robbed, Miss Julia declares that only J. D. Pickins, P.I., can get his things back.
- Miss Julia Renews Her Vows – Sometimes even Miss Julia just wants to go to bed and hide under the covers. Her husband, Sam, wants them to attend marriage enrichment classes. Could their marriage be in a poor state? But she can’t stay in bed for long, even if she wants to. Someone has knocked Francie Pitts in the head and put her in the hospital. Francie didn’t see her attacker, but she sure smelled her. She recognized Etta Mae Wiggins’s perfume, Shania Twain by Stetson. It’s up to Miss Julia to clear the air.
- Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle – Miss Julia has promised her adoring husband, Sam, to mind her own business. Instead of trying to figure out why that dead body was found in Miss Petty’s toolshed, Miss Julia can concentrate on taking care of just-in-time newlywed Hazel Marie as she prepares for her impending due date. But then Miss Julia- suddenly finds her checks bouncing all over town. Just this once (as she tells herself), Miss Julia starts investigating.
- Miss Julia to the Rescue – Miss Julia simply can’t abide sitting idle. And with young Lloyd moving out and husband Sam off to the Holy Land, everybody’s favorite steel magnolia is feeling restless. Maybe it’s time for that long-delayed home makeover. But before Miss Julia can even pick a color swatch, Hazel Marie’s new husband, private eye J.D. Pickens, goes missing.
- Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble – Autumn’s crisp bite is in the air, but Miss Julia soon discovers that, alas, leaves aren’t the only things falling. James, Hazel Marie’s housekeeper, has taken a nasty tumble down some stairs. How can Hazel Marie feed and take care of him when she barely knows how to boil water? Miss Julia promptly organizes the ladies of Abbotsville to give Hazel Marie cooking lessons. But before she can relax, Hazel Marie’s shady preacher-uncle turns up.
- Miss Julia’s Gift: A Penguin Special from Viking (short story) – Miss Julia finds herself reminiscing about her first year of marriage to Sam Murdoch. Everything seemed perfect—alarmingly so. Miss Julia feared that Sam would morph from a sweet and loveable man into a replica of her loathsome first husband.
- Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover – It’s summer in Abbotsville, and Miss Julia’s cousin Elsie calls in an old family debt, asking Miss Julia to teach her granddaughter how to be a lady. When the rude and unkempt Trixie arrives, it’s clear Miss Julia has her work cut out for her. Meanwhile, Sam’s campaign for state senate is in trouble. Miss Julia enlists Lillian, Latisha, Lloyd, and Hazel Marie to whip Trixie and the campaign into shape!
- Etta Mae’s Worst Bad-Luck Day – Growing up, Etta Mae couldn’t escape her daddy’s no-good name. But when she becomes the home nurse for an elderly man who is Abbottsville’s wealthiest resident, she sees an opportunity to say sayonara to her trailer-park days once and for all. However, a number of interested parties are less than thrilled by the thought of wedding bells, and she’ll have to work fast to marry Mr. Right on the worst bad-luck day of her life.
- Miss Julia Lays Down the Law – It’s November and Miss Julia is looking forward to some quiet time before the holidays. That is until snobby Connie Clayborn and her rich husband move to town. At first, Miss Julia and the other ladies are pleased to be invited over for coffee, but the afternoon turns into a slap in the face when their hostess spouts nonstop criticism about Abbotsville. Days later, Miss Julia decides to confront Connie, but when she arrives, Connie is lying on the kitchen floor—lifeless in a pool of blood.
- Miss Julia Inherits a Mess – When Miss Julia hears that Miss Mattie Freeman has taken a fall and is in the hospital, she wishes she’d spent more time getting to know the woman. So when the tumble proves fatal, the last thing Miss Julia expects is a phone call from Ernest Sitton, Attorney at Law. Suddenly Miss Julia finds herself the executrix of Miss Mattie’s estate, and from what Ernest has to say, Miss Mattie’s coffers weren’t exactly full.
- Miss Julia Weathers the Storm – Sam has decided to take a big group trip to the beach, inviting family and friends. While Miss Julia prepares for the big trip, her longtime friend LuAnne comes to her with a horrifying discovery–her husband may be cheating on her. Julia invites LuAnne along to the beach to get away and clear her head. Everyone settles into the rental house and six-year-old Latisha is having a blast searching for seashells when she discovers some much more valuable treasures that have washed up from a strong storm off the coast.
- Miss Julia Raises the Roof – Miss Julia hears that the nosy do-gooder Madge Taylor and the new pastor Rucker are embarking on a mission to buy up the vacant house next door to Hazel Marie and establish a group home for wayward teenagers. When Miss Julia and Hazel Marie start investigating, they uncover a far less philanthropic plot for the house that even Madge doesn’t know about.
- Miss Julia Takes the Wheel – Miss Julia’s regular doctor goes on vacation with his wife, leaving a replacement in his stead. Never one to miss an opportunity to entertain a newcomer, she invites Dr. Don Crawford, and his wife, Lauren, to dinner. While Miss Julia and Sam both note Lauren’s obvious lack of social skills, it’s her friends Hazel Marie and Binkie that pick up on some of Dr. Crawford’s less palatable qualities. There is just something Miss Julia can’t place about the Crawfords, and she won’t rest until she gets to the bottom of it.
- Miss Julia Knows a Thing or Two – Miss Julia has decided to turn over a new leaf. It’s time to stop meddling in other peoples’ lives, she thinks–but her hands are full before long! Her neighbor Mildred is sent into a tizzy when a grandchild she’s never met shows up on her doorstep. And Mildred’s husband keeps forgetting who she is, so she’s all on her own. Meanwhile, Etta Mae is worried about losing her job now that the Handy Home Helpers is up for sale. Luckily, Miss Julia has experience dealing
- Miss Julia Happily Ever After – Wedding fever hits Abbotsville and several of Miss Julia’s friends have plans to tie the knot. But, as usual, nothing is so simple. Christy Hargrove suddenly gives up a lifelong dream and drops out of medical school to marry, Helen Stroud and Thurlow Jones decide to change their commercial arrangement into a marital one, and, to Miss Julia’s consternation, Lillian, her housekeeper, and closest companion, is considering a less-than-romantic offer to wed a local businessman who turns courting into a job interview. And then there’s LuAnne who just wants to be married, and Janelle who doesn’t.
What should you read if you like the Miss Julia novels?
If you like reading Ann B. Ross’ Miss Julia stories, you may be interested in Agatha Raisin, Miss Marple, Dorothy Martin…
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