Book Recommendation – Julia Monroe Begins Again by Rebekah Millet

Book Description:

Samuel was back. It seemed unfair to be blindsided. And in church no less. Shouldn’t there be a commandment about that? Thou shalt not step foot inside thy ex’s place of worship.

Julia Monroe has just turned forty and has high hopes for a fresh start after the last decade of her life abruptly left her a young widow and a single mom. With both her boys off to college, she can finally focus on expanding her New Orleans-based cleaning business. Julia is ready for new beginnings–but God has other plans. Samuel Reed, the ruggedly handsome Green Beret who shattered her heart over twenty years ago, has returned to town and is the kind of distraction she never saw coming.

After their first interaction in years leaves her mind spinning and her emotions out of control, Julia knows she needs to avoid him if she wants any chance of preventing history from repeating itself, but her meddling best friend keeps throwing them together. And now it seems inevitable that the man who was hard to forget might just be impossible to resist.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

When I first started reading Julia Monroe Begins Again, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the story. I was on a tight schedule and needed to read it fast before recording a StoryChats @ InspyRomance podcast/YouTube episode with Rebekah as our guest. At that time, prior to the release date, I decided I would reread the book at a leisurely pace when I was in the right mood to appreciate the story. I’m not always a fan of first person single point of view romcoms, and alpha military heroes aren’t usually my favorite.

I enjoyed my second read through of the story, set in suburban New Orleans. Julia is in her forties and she’s a widow with an empty nest now her boys are away at college in North Carolina. Samuel was her first boyfriend when she was in high school, and their breakup was messy. Julia moved on from Samuel, returned to her childhood faith, and was happily married to Mark until his tragic accident a decade ago. Julia is hard working and has a house cleaning business that evolved from a volunteer cleaning ministry she helped set up at her church.

Samuel starts attending Julia’s church, and seems determined to reconnect with her. Julia is confused and struggles to process the Samuel situation. Samuel is a Green Beret who wears an eye patch, and his military background reinforces his alpha male traits. I could understand why Julia had reservations about Samuel and wondered how she could trust him, despite believing his newfound faith from a few years earlier was genuine.

Julia has a lovely sense of humor and can laugh at herself. Her interactions with Samuel and the side characters, including her chain smoking opinionated mama, are real-to-life and often hilarious. Trust and forgiveness themes are explored in the story. As the story progresses we see Samuel’s softer side and his care for the people he loves. I recommend Julia Monroe Begins Again to contemporary romance readers who like second chance reunion romcoms set in New Orleans with a solid faith element in the story.

Many thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy.

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