Miss Julia Takes Over (Miss Julia Series #2)

Miss Julia Takes Over (Miss Julia Series #2)

by Ann B. Ross


$14.83 $16.00 Save 7% Current price is $14.83, Original price is $16. You Save 7%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, August 21


The follow-up to Ann B. Ross's beloved debut that kicked off the New York Times bestselling series. Look out for Ann Ross's newest, Miss Julia Raises the Roof, coming April 2018 from Viking.  

When Miss Julia burst on the scene in her fictional debut, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind, this proper lady of a certain age found her orderly world turned upside down when Hazel Marie Puckett appeared with her nine-year-old son, Little Lloyd, who looked disturbingly similar to Miss Julia's late husband. Now, in Miss Julia Takes Over, with her sharp tongue and iron backbone intact, Miss Julia must tackle another disruption when 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, despite her reservations about his taste for beer and women. 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 ...because if Miss Julia doesn't take care of things, who will?

Fast paced, funny, and full of colorful characters you'll want to meet again and again, Miss Julia Takes Over is a zany race through the South you'll not soon forget.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142000892
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/30/2002
Series: Miss Julia Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 81,724
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Praise for Ann B. Ross and the Miss Julia series:

"Ross has a gift for elevating such everyday matters as marital strife and the hazards of middle age to high comedy, while painting her beautifully drawn characters with wit and sympathy."
-Publishers Weekly

“A charming, fun adventure with new relatives, old secrets and a will putting Miss Julia and the Abbotsville regulars in a true Southern mess. I loved it!” —Duffy Brown, bestselling author of the Consignment Shop Mysteries

"Ann B. Ross develops characters so expertly, through quirks, names, and mannerisms, that they easily feel familiar as the reader is gently immersed into the world Miss Ross has created. . . . A delightful read." Winston-Salem Journal

"Miss Julia is one of the most delightful characters to come along in years. Ann B. Ross has created what is sure to become a classic Southern comic novel. Hooray for Miss Julia, I could not have liked it more." —Fannie Flagg, author of The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion 

"Yes, Miss Julia is back, and I, for one, am one happy camper." —J. A. Jance, author of Cold Betrayal 

Read an Excerpt

Miss Julia Takes Over, Chapter One

Chapter 1

I declare, if it's not one thing, it's two more. Or, in my case, a half-a-dozen. Seems like everytime I turn around, there's something else to worry me half to death.

Feeling too antsy to sit still, I closed my checkbook and put it in the desk drawer. Who can balance a bank statement with troubles whipping around like the cold wind outside? March, I thought, with a shiver. We could do without it, if you ask me, yet the whole unpredictable month was still ahead of us.

I walked to the window and looked out at the gray morning, noticing the one, lone crocus poking up through the ice that lined the hedge along the side yard. If I'd had a poetic turn of mind, I might've seen it as a symbol of hope or of a brighter day coming or of some other such uplifting thought. But all I could do was wonder how the voles had missed it when they ate the rest of them.

I walked back to the fireplace and adjusted the flame in the gas logs that I'd had the good sense to put in after the last time we lost power in an ice storm. Be prepared, I always say, but nobody could be prepared for all the troubles and worries and problems that were piling up everywhere I looked. If we'd had a real fire, I'd've kicked a log.

Lillian stuck her head around the swinging door and called through the dining room. "You goin' to see Mr. Sam 'fore you eat, or after? I need to know 'fore I set lunch on the table."

"I can't be worried with him now. Lillian, I can't stand this. Where is she?" I threw up my hands, just about at the end of my rope. "And I don't want anything to eat."

"Uh-huh, I hear you, but I already got it fixed." Shepropped her hands on her hips and announced in that bossy way of hers, "An' I don't know anymore'n you do about where she is, but somebody better be doin' something about it."

I knew who that somebody was. Me. Lillian'd been pushing me to do something ever since she'd come to work at seven this morning, while I kept hoping Hazel Marie would show up with a decent explanation for her overnight absence. I declare, it's a burden when everybody stands around, waiting for me to make everything right. Lillian, though, had been with me for so long that she didn't mind telling me what to do and when to do it. Half of what she said usually went in one ear and out the other. But not today, because I was either going to have to do something or pull my hair out, one.

But she wasn't through giving me instructions. "Go on over to Mr. Sam's an' see what he say. He countin' on seein' you, anyway."

"What can he do, laid up like he is with a cast up to his you-know-what? Serves him right, is all I can say, out there in a trout stream in the dead of winter."

"What's done is done," she said, "an' no use rantin' around about it. Now, come on in here an' get your coat."

With a click of my tongue, I followed her into the kitchen. "Well, he deserves to suffer the consequences, and I don't mind seeing that he does."

"Mr. Sam, he just want your help to see 'bout that home nurse the doctor say he have to have. It won't hurt you to go over there an' be sure she know what she doin', since he can't hardly do a thing for hisself with that leg hiked up all the time. He need you to lighten him up a little."

She moved a pan off the stove, while I stood there, feeling pushed and pulled a dozen different ways. I didn't have time to be entertaining Sam Murdoch, frittering away my day when I had so much to contend with right where I was, what with LuAnne Conover pestering me to death, moaning about Leonard and the state of their marriage, which as far as I could tell, had never been a model of conjugal bliss in the first place. And there was Brother Vernon Puckett, Hazel Marie's uncle-the sorry thing-calling on Pastor Ledbetter, as I'd seen with my own eyes that very morning when his low-slung, maroon and white Cadillac pulled into the church parking lot right across the street from my house. Now, I ask you, what could a self-proclaimed preacher of the airwaves have in common with a seminary-trained Presbyterian minister like Larry Ledbetter? Well, that had an easy answer. They'd both give their eyeteeth for a way to get their hands on the estate left by my lately deceased husband, Wesley Lloyd Springer. But, thanks to Sam and the State of North Carolina, Little Lloyd and I had it safely in hand.

But, worse than any of those worries, Hazel Marie Puckett, Little Lloyd's mother, had turned up among the missing, and I was about to jump out of my skin, not knowing which way to turn. I'd called every hospital in three counties, asking if an attractive, forty-year-old woman with professionally dyed blonde hair and a full charm bracelet on her arm had been recently admitted. The calls had told me where she wasn't, which was some comfort, but they hadn't told me where she was.

Lillian said, "You better quit standin' there, bitin' yo' lip like that. Go on over to Mr. Sam's an' see 'bout that home nurse woman, an' ask him what we ought to be doin' to find Miss Hazel Marie."

"Lord, Lillian, I'm of two minds about that. Sam always has good advice, but the doctor said not to worry him with anything. Make sure he gets his rest and don't agitate him."

I tapped my foot, thinking of how everytime I needed Sam Murdoch, he'd go and do something unforeseen and, in my eyes, just plain reckless. Take the time Wesley Lloyd passed so unexpectedly, and I was left with wills and bills and so-called financial advisers and grasping preachers and, as if that hadn't been enough, Wesley Lloyd's bastard to boot.

And where was Sam? Retired, that's where. And right when I'd needed his legal expertise the most. And here, history was repeating itself, since I'd have to bite my tongue about my current problems and be pleasant, of all things.

Well, give Sam credit, I thought, though at the moment I hated to. He'd come through for me, straightening out Wesley Lloyd's two wills so that neither Little Lloyd nor I had been stranded without a nickel to our names. Far from it, in fact.

And, to give Sam more credit, he'd handed me over to Binkie Enloe, as good a lawyer as any hoary-headed regular-type lawyer in town, and better than most. I can't help it if she carries on with Deputy Coleman Bates with no legalization of the situation anywhere in sight. I've gotten where I don't let things like that bother me. As long as she does my taxes right and gives me advice I can live with, I'm just not going to say anything about her private life. Although I do mention it, on occasion.

"Lillian," I said, as I reached for my coat, "I've tried my level best not to worry about what Hazel Marie's doing. I know, I know," I held up my hand to stop what I knew she was going to say. "You think it's none of my business. But it is. As long as she's living in my house, out of the kindness of my heart, I might add, I feel responsible for her. I think I have a right to know where she is, especially when she stays out all night long.

"Now, I don't think she'd do anything wrong, well, I mean, criminal. Well, I don't know what I mean." I stopped, remembering that Hazel Marie had lived in sin with my husband for ever so long, and it might've been a crime as well, for all I knew.

"The thing about it is," I went on, "Pastor Ledbetter's been instructing her in the catechism, since she wants to be a Presbyterian instead of a foot-washing Baptist or whatever she was, and now she stays out all night long with a man whose family nobody knows. Word will get around, Lillian, and that bunch of old men on the church session may refuse to write for her letter. It won't matter that she's never done anything like this before, or that she's doing it with a church employee, if that's what you can call Wilson T. Hodge." I sniffed at the thought.

Nothing would do but Pastor Ledbetter had to bring in an out-of-town fund-raiser to rouse the congregation into a pledging frenzy, since he couldn't raise any funds from me. And for what? Why, to get that family activities center built, that's what. You know, the one the pastor recommended I underwrite out of Wesley Lloyd's estate, seeing, as he'd said, that I needed some Christian financial guidance? Well, I'd put a lid on that as soon as he brought it up, not three days after the funeral, since I knew exactly where he'd guide it to. I didn't have any need for a gymnasium or a running track or a basketball court, nor did anybody else when all they had to do was join the YMCA. I ask you, how many times would I go over there and dribble a ball or lift weights?

"Lillian," I went on, with a sinking heart, "what am I going to tell that child when he gets home from school?"

"Well, I been wonderin' 'bout that, too," Lillian said, coming to the counter and leaning on it, "I thought his mama'd be in 'fore this or least, call an' say when she be here. It's gettin' on toward middle of the day, an' not word one from her. I thought maybe they be jumpin' the gun a little, havin' a early honeymoon like some folks do. But I don't know, Miss Julia, look like she have enough of it by now." Lillian looked up at the clock on the wall.

"You would think so. How long does it take to have dinner and see a show, even if they did drive to Asheville to do it? They've had more than enough time for decent people to do what they need to do. And I don't mean what you're thinking. They've been gone all night and half the morning, and I know something's bad wrong. We both know it's not like Hazel Marie to go off and stay gone, with neither hide nor hair of Wilson T. Hodge to be found, either. I've called his apartment so many times I'm sick of doing it, and he's not at the church, either, where he's supposed to be working."

"Yessum, an' that little chile just gonna be sick about it when he come home, an' she not be here. He know she don't have no sick friend like you tole him this mornin'."

"Well, what was I to do? You know how hard it is for me to out-and-out lie, and it was the only thing I could think of at the time. Should I've told him his mother was out all night without benefit of matrimony? She did that long enough with the child's father, which he doesn't need to know at this tender age.

"Oh, me, Lillian," I stopped and leaned my head against the door, overwhelmed with disappointment. I'd risked my name and reputation to take in my husband's paramour and the then nine-year-old result of their secret relations, and just look what had come of it. Two full years of my close supervision and exemplary influence didn't seem to've made a dent. "I declare, I thought Hazel Marie had given up such loose ways. I thought I'd shown her a more decent way of living and now, she's fallen right back into the gutter."

"You don't know that for a fact. Maybe they have a flat tire."

"Even I know it doesn't take this long to fix a flat, much less make a phone call." I straightened up, confirmed again in my first, unimpressed impression of Wilson T. Hodge, the man Hazel Marie'd chosen to have her first legitimate happiness with. I declare, I couldn't say much for her taste in men, and that included Wesley Lloyd Springer, too. But, if Wilson T. Hodge was her choice, I was trying to be happy for her. Even though I'd had my doubts about him from the first time he'd put a foot in my living room, smiling and standing too close and flattering me with compliments on my house, my furnishings and my own gracious self, as he smoothed that smudge of a mustache with a ring-laden finger. I don't trust people like that as far as I can throw them. He had thin lips, too.

I wouldn't've trusted him even if I hadn't known the line of work he was in. Lord, I didn't think it was right to pay somebody good money to raise more money. Something's wrong with the whole system when Christians have to be begged and pleaded with and finangled into pledging more than they can afford in order to build something they don't need in the first place. That'd been the reason I'd voted against hiring him, sight unseen, but they'd done it anyway.

"Maybe they have a wreck," Lillian said. "That car might be in the middle of Briar Creek, and nobody found 'em yet."

"Lillian! Don't say that! Besides, I've already put the Highway Patrol on alert and, besides that, Briar Creek is so shallow, you couldn't hide a go-cart in it, much less a full-size car. No, it's something else that's holding them up; I just don't know what it could be."

Hearing a gust of wind rattle the windows, I wrapped a wool scarf around my neck, readying myself for the icy blasts.

"I'd better go, if I'm going, but I won't be long," I said, picking up my purse and car keys. "If Hazel Marie comes in, give me a call, will you? But don't say anything to her."

"You don't have to tell me that. Not none of my business to say anything to that sweet woman." She turned away, folding the dishrag and hanging it on the faucet. "'Sides, you do enough for both of us, and she don't need to hear it twicet."

I rolled my eyes and opened the door. Stepping out on the side stoop, I wrapped my coat close against the wind and scrunched up in it. As I walked the few steps to the garage, I glanced out at the street and across to the church parking lot. With a start, I stopped, gasped and tried to catch my breath which had been snatched away at the sight.

Hurrying back to the door, I slammed it open and called, "Lillian! Do you know what he's done?"

"What? Who you talkin' about?"

"That preacher! That idiot preacher! Have you seen it? Come out here and look."

She came around the counter to the door, her run-over shoes flapping on her heels. "What in the world goin' on out there?"

Following me out, she squinched her eyes as I pointed to the church parking lot. There, directly across the street from my front porch, was a huge rectangle outlined by stakes and string. Little orange flags fluttered from each stake.

"You see it?" I demanded. "You see what he's doing?"

"I see it," Lillian said, "but I don't know what it mean."

"It means he's going to build that blamed building that's been on his mind ever since Wesley Lloyd passed, that's what it means. And look, Lillian," I said, grabbing her arm and pulling her along with me, "he's got it laid out right along the sidewalk over there. Do you know what that means?"

"No, I don't know what it mean, an' I'm freezin' out here."

"Well, just look! If he puts a wall along that string, what do you think we'll look out on from every window in the front of the house? A brick wall, that's what!"

"Yessum, but you have the street in between."

"I don't care about the street! He's putting that brick wall right in front of my eyes! It's vengeance, Lillian, that's what it is! I wouldn't build that building for him, so he's getting back at me by putting a wall right out in front, blocking my view, isolating me from my church." I was so mad, I could've wrung the preacher's neck if he'd been standing there. "I'm not going to have it! I tell you, I'm not. I'll have that vindictive man's head on a platter, along with the session's and every member of the congregation, see if I don't!"

"Well, jus' 'member you one of them members, so how you gonna do that?"

I jerked around and headed for the garage. "I'll think of something or, even simpler, I'll stop being a member. I'm going to see Sam, and I'm not going with nice, pleasant things to say to him, either. I don't care what the doctor ordered."

—From Miss Julia Takes Over by Ann B. Ross. (c) July 2001, Viking, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc. used by permission.

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Miss Julia is one of the most delightful characters to come along in years." —Fannie Flagg

"Ross allows the reader to laugh gently at feisty, opinionated Miss Julia while thoroughly enjoying the view through her eyes. [For] readers who love Jan Karon." —Booklist)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Miss Julia Takes Over (Miss Julia Series #2) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading 'Miss Julia Takes Over' which I managed to finish in 2 days' time with 3 kids underfoot and a house to clean (not much cleanin' was goin' on though. I assure you). LOL! I don't know whenever I have laughed so hard in my life! I read the first Miss Julia book about a year ago and loved it. Just when I didn't think it was possible to laugh any harder, Ann B. Ross proved me wrong. I now rank her up there with Jan Karon as my all-time favorite Southern Comedic author. Having grown up in Mississippi I can so totally relate to these characters. Ann Ross has an unprecedented talent for making her characters literally jump off the page at you. I can hear their voices in my head which makes for some very interestin' reading. LOL! I would love to see this on the big-screen with Dixie Carter (aka Julia Sugarbaker of 'Designing Women' fame) in the role of Miss Julia, (only about 20 yrs. older) and Whoopi Goldberg would make a wonderful Lillian. I would be the first in line to buy a ticket. I will definitely be going out tomorrow to find no. 3 in this series. That is one wedding I don't wanna miss.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An avid reader of many types of fiction, but seldom have found a series of books that I have found such a joy to read as the 3 about Miss Julia and her exciting life( Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind,Miss Julia Takes Charge and Miss Julia Plans a Wedding). As someone about her age, and being from the south, I found characters all through the books that could have been people I know or knew. But Ann Ross made them come alive again and put them in situations that had me laughing out loud over and over. She develops her characters in such a manner you feel they are in the room with you. Miss Julia is the kind of take charge woman that women of any age hope to become. My sixteen year old granddaughter enjoyed her just as much as my daughters and I did. A real treat and break from some of the dark dramas we find in much of todays fictio
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this follow-up to Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind! Again, a light, entertaining read. Miss Julia has become one of my favorite zany, outspoken fictional 'friends'. Loveable characters that the reader can relate to and enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Miss Julia is at it again. This time Hazel Marie went out on a date and never returned. It is up to Miss Julia to find her, and fast! Because Brother Vern is up to his old tricks again. He is still trying to prove that Hazel Marie is an unfit mother so he can get his hands on Little Lloyd's trust fund. ...................... Miss Julia hires Mr. J. D. Pickens to locate the missing lady. Well, we all know that Miss Julia is NOT the type to sit back and do nothing. Oh, no! She insists on going everywhere with Mr. Pickens. That way she not only makes sure he does not slack off, but it also keeps her and Lloyd away from home where the Law is waiting to take Lloyd away to 'protective custody'. ...................... The chase for Hazel Marie is on, with Hazel Marie leaving clues along the way in hopes of someone rescuing her from the bad guys. ....................... ***** By the way, the bad guys are mixed up with NASCAR, so if you like racing this story will be even more of a blast for you! This mad cap adventure is the best yet. *****
Guest More than 1 year ago
Miss Julia is one of the best characters I've "seen" in a long time. Each scene is described so well I could just imagine it on a movie screen. I could hardly wait to read the next book when I realized there was a sequel. The situation Julia faced was one she handled with humor, dignity, and grace. My husband enjoyed the book as much as I did. It's a great one for everyone. And it's no more than PG rated, if that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the second book that I've read by Ann B. Ross and I anxiously await the next book: Miss Julia Throws a Wedding. I'm surprised that more people haven't discovered Miss Ross as I am the first to review this book, which I read some time ago. I cannot say enough about Miss Ross' writing. I am an avid reader and it is SO difficult to find a well-written book. I am not particularly interested in plot-driven books, so the JULIA series are perfect for me. Too bad Oprah never caught on to Miss Julia and Ann B. Ross.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoy Fannie Flagg's books and agree with her assessment of Ann B. Ross' Miss Julia series.  Miss Julia is a charming and determined Southern woman who works her way through situations without being the passive-dependent stereotype of Southern women.  She is a fun fictional role model.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Miss Julia just keeps it coming. If you don't enjoy a good read, this isn't for you. Ann B. Ross gives a good relaxing and a barrelful of laughs comig. As always looking forward to the next installment.
punxsygal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The 2nd book in the Miss Julia series. I was a bit tired of the carryover threads of scheming Pastor Ledbetter and Brother Vern from the first book. I did like the new character, J.D. Pickens, private investigator. Poor Miss Julia, so locked into her standards that she has a hard time seeing the good things around her, like Sam.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a totally entertaining read, generously sprinkled with charm and humor, not to mention really fun characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago