Julia’s Chocolates is about a woman who runs away from her abusive fiance on their wedding day, running to where her Aunt lives in Golden and finding herself surrounded by people who are going through their own troubles.
The book reads very much like a basic chick lit novel, you have the poor defenseless heroine Julia Bennett, who has been abused from a young age – as we learn through out the book – and finally decided that she has had enough so runs away to her Aunt Linda’s farm in Golden. her Aunt Linda is very much a stereotypical feminist, loud aunt; who the author tried to make her come across as a likeable character, but honest just becomes rather irritating. Having said that, she probably would have been interesting to learn more about, to find what made her go into praising breasts and ovaries ect to such an extent that she tells her friends that they should listen to them.
The other side character’s are Lara Keene, a minister’s wife, who is unhappy with her lot and isn’t happy simply being a minister’s wife. Her story is interesting, with the mental abuse she was put through, but there was nothing about her husband Jerry until the end of the book, we knew nothing about him except what was told to us.
Katie Marigold actually was going through the same abuse that Julia was going through, the only difference being that she had to deal with the abuse for years and her children were witness to it. Her story was interesting but the ending was a cliché.
Caroline is the psychic, not much is really revealed about her until the end. But she does live a frugal life, spending as little money as possible, getting by with what she does and manages, barely but she does manage.
The character’s in the book, as a whole, were all cliche’s that have been around for years, all of the character’s above are bland and just aren’t that interesting. The plot has been used many times before, but the author never makes it her’s. There could have been a brilliant story in here about domestic abuse, the mental scars that people have due to it, the ability to find friendships and the possibility of being able to love, even protect those who are under going the same abuse that she does.
Instead the book is more about fluff, the physical and mental abuse, although addressed and spoken of, are never really given that much light. The fact that Julia would have had mental scars, would have had trauma in her psyche isn’t addressed, the children she takes in and eventually adopts, goes through the same rough childhood and yet there is no talk of them getting therapy for what they have gone through.
The start of the story started out rather promising, reading about Julia hanging her wedding dress in a tree was brilliant and yet… it just fell flat. There was so many things that are wrong with this book, yet it would take a long time to go through them all.
What can be said though, if you want a deep, thought provoking novel about a woman over-coming domestic abuse, of regaining her sense of self, of finding herself and helping her new friends in their own troubles, this is not a book to go to. However, if you want to read a book about dramatic feminism, of cliché’s being all over the place, everyone getting a happy ending and some unbelievable love stories and marriages, this is the perfect book to read.