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Julia's Chocolates by Cathy Lamb

Julia's Chocolates

by Cathy Lamb

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Quirky, eccentric book and characters. I wasn't sure I would like this book at the beginning - it seemed too off beat. But then I was drawn in by the characters and the storyline, which centers on Julia, who at thirty-four is escaping from an abusive fiancee and from an abusive childhood, to her quirky aunt's Oregon farm. And her aunt surrounds herself with quite a few human, animal and inatimate eccentrics! ( )
  nancynova | Apr 26, 2014 |
This book was a gift. From the dust jacket alone it isn't something I would have purchased myself but I gave it a whirl. It was a fast read and at times I got into the quirky characters but I knew from the first chapter where the book was heading. The entire time I was reading I kept thinking this is a just a modern romance novel isn't it!?

If you like the romance vein with plucky and quirky characters that persevere through terrible circumstance then by all means grab it. It was definitely not my cup of tea and I'm very glad I didn't purchase it. ( )
  MonsterThatIAm | Mar 26, 2014 |
I love this book. While the beginning was a bit hard to get through, I couldn't put it down after I got to about page 100. There are some things about this book that are disturbing. There is a lot of violence against women and a lot about their struggles trying to get away from it. I don't have much of that experience, so it was hard for me to understand.

Aunt Lydia stopped me in my tracks. She reminded me SOOO much of my oldest aunt that I had a hard time thinking of her as Lydia and not as my aunt. If my aunt had different opportunities, I think she would have been even more like Lydia.

I found that this book had wonderful descriptions and the [a:Cathy Lamb|422343|Cathy Lamb|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg] did a great job portraying people as they say what society expects them to say while what they really want to say goes on in their heads. As the reader, I got both views and found it to be exciting and interesting. I could also relate, because I know that I want to say something than what comes out of my mouth all the time.

All of the characters are pretty quirky, which a friend and I had a discussion about, the crux of which was whether or not the author was stereotyping the small town full of quirky caricatures or whether small towns are more prone to have quirky characters? I haven't lived in a small, so I can't really say.

The fear that Julia feels and how it affects her relationships, even with Lydia, who knows the story and loves her dearly, was a very profound part of the books for me. It illustrated the power of fear for me in a very graphic way.

The book also shows the goodness of people; people who drop off eggs to those with less, people who help a battered mother move out of her house, because it is the right thing to do, people who give someone a second chance when everyone else brands them as bad, people who chip in to make life a little better for someone. It wasn't presented in a hokey manner. The theme wove its way through the entire book as part of life.

One of the characteristics of this book that I really enjoyed was the layering. This might be a theme I am working with right now in a number of areas of my life. There was a a layer of fear, not just with Julia, but with other characters. There was a layer of love and another layer of helpfulness. There was also a layer of secrets, reminding the reader that everyone has their secrets and they keep them for different reasons.

I really want to read this book again and think I will read some others and then go back to this one. ( )
  jlapac | Aug 14, 2013 |
Seemed a little trite, 50 pages in and I couldn't get into it. Maybe it's not the season.
  E.J | Apr 3, 2013 |
Another good story from Cathy Lamb. This one contains quite a bit of weird language including a weekly Psychic Night- the first one is themed around their breasts... I have to admit skipping over a lot during those times. However the stories of the characters make you love them all. They fight for each other and will do anything to help one another in their need. Overall I did enjoy it. ( )
  Brenda63 | Nov 7, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0758214626, Paperback)

From the moment Julia Bennett leaves her abusive Boston fiance at the altar and her ugly wedding dress hanging from a tree in South Dakota, she knows she's driving away from the old Julia, but what she's driving toward is as messy and undefined as her own wounded soul. The old Julia dug her way out of a tortured, trailer park childhood with a monster of a mother. The new Julia will be found at her Aunt Lydia's rambling, hundred-year-old farmhouse outside Golden, Oregon. There, among uppity chickens and toilet bowl planters, Julia is welcomed by an eccentric, warm, and often wise clan of women, including a psychic, a minister's unhappy wife, an abused mother of four, and Aunt Lydia herself - a woman who is as fierce and independent as they come. Meeting once a week for drinks and the baring of souls, it becomes clear that every woman holds secrets that keep her from happiness. But what will it take for them to brave becoming their true selves? For Julia, it's chocolate. All her life, baking has been her therapy and her refuge, a way to heal wounds and make friends. Nobody anywhere makes chocolates as good as Julia's, and now, chocolate just might change her life - and bring her love when she least expects it. But it can't keep her safe. As Julia gradually opens her heart to new life, new friendships, and a new man, the past is catching up to her. And this time, she will not be able to run but will have to face it head on.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:09 -0400)

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Cathy Lam has created a passel of characters so weirdly wonderful that you want to hang out with them all day just to see what they'll do next. It's a ride that's both hilarious and poignant, and all the while you cling to the edge of the pick up truck because you'll want to make sure you stay in for the whole trip.… (more)

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