Cover Image: Julia Monroe Begins Again

Julia Monroe Begins Again

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley, Bethany House, and the author Rebekah Millet for the opportunity to read an ARC of this title. An honest review was requested but not required.

Quick take: this is not the book for me. I see a really high average on GR so, clearly, I am in a definite minority. But I just found Julia to be an intensely irritating and immature person, and almost every time she was on-page I found myself rolling my eyes. Consider: you are a 40-something woman with two college-age kids. You had a wonderful marriage to a kind, supportive, loving man, who passed away many years ago. You have successfully supported your family, raised two well-behaved, responsible, upstanding sons, participated actively in church, performed years of community outreach, and shown unflagging grace to your cantankerous mother. This is Julia.

And yet, confronted with an ex from 20 years previous, Julia reverts to her inner six year old. Petty behavior (sneaking away from him, telling him he can't attend her church, you name it), sulking, and outright meanness. She BEGS for God's help in forgiving him and understanding what to do, and when it comes to her via church sermons, realizations, moments of inspiration, and Samuel's own testimony, she ignores everything because she's holding such a grudge. Never mind the fact that she's equally as guilty of bad past behavior. Julia then begs for a sign and when she receives one in the form of first her best friend, then her mom, THEN HER TWO CHILDREN telling her to go for it, she still waffles and whines and hedges. Come on Julia. I just could not get on board with her behavior. She allowed Sam to do everything for her and was continuously nasty and snappy to him.

Sam was questionable too. Why did he persist when Julia pushed him away so hard and so often? Because of a 20-year old connection? He didn't even know her big secret. I can't believe most men (or anyone at all, for that matter, gender notwithstanding) would have persisted in their attachment to a person who treated them like Julia did. The fact that he continued to be so pushy and so tenacious made him look like either a doormat or an oblivious jerk.

I enjoyed both of the cantankerous parents, Julia's mom and Sam's dad. Julia's kids sounded like nice boys. I wanted to like Chewy the attack poodle but once he bit Sam I just got annoyed. Typical small dog shenanigans, getting away with biting and other aggressive bad behavior because he's little and fluffy and cute. Wonder if Sam (and Julia) would have thought it was so funny if Chewy was a German Shepherd or Lab?

Eh. I see the appeal of the book and I liked the Louisiana setting and the Christian elements, but I just COULD NOT get past Julia.

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A great clean romance that stands out as a fantastic debut. I appreciated a middle-aged MC going through a period of starting over with grown kids away at college. There were so many fantastic supporting characters and a great furbaby. It's a feel good story that just makes you smile.

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Julia's ready for life in her 40s. It's been a decade since she lost her husband in an accident, and now her sons are out of state going to college. She's not looking for a new chapter, just improvements on the comfortable one she's made for herself. But then Samuel Reed shows up and throws her whole world into chaos.

Samuel broke her heart when she was 18, and seeing him brings up all the memories of both the good and the bad of their relationship. How could she ever trust him, even if he seems intent on pursuing her once more?

I related to Julia on so many levels, and she really grabbed me as a character in the first few chapters. I liked her friendship with Kate and the colorful New Orleans setting. You'll be craving beignets as you read this story!

This book is pretty much a straight romance, in the sense that there's not much going on that doesn't relate to the main characters' relationship. I didn't feel like any of the male characters in this book were especially realistic, foremost the hero, but it wasn't to such a degree that it detracted from the heart of the story. I loved that there was a strong faith message and a healthy church atmosphere, with conversations about faith and many things it entails. This story does have its serious moments, as it deals with some deep topics and long-held wounds.

Overall, I feel like I am the target audience for this book, and it hit its mark. I'd recommend it to my friends of a similar age. However, younger women or teenagers would probably have a hard time understanding Julia's feelings and choices. But I hope that if you're around your 40s, are a recent empty nester, or are facing a new season of life, you'll take a chance on Julia Monroe Begins Again. There's lots to enjoy here!

I received my copy of the book from the author. All thoughts in this review are my own.

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It's a win for Rebekah Millet and her debut novel. Julia Monroe and her first person voice is honest, relatable, and funny. Her mama's heart is so tender and I was right there with her as she learned to adjust to being an empty nester. Though Julia is a bit younger than I am, her woes and delights were on point. There is great banter between Julia and Samuel and I really enjoyed their second chance and the themes of true forgiveness, living boldly, and leaving fear behind. The quirky supporting cast of Julia's and Samuel's family and friends made the story quite lively. It wasn't exactly a rom-com, though Julia's inner voice was funny in a self-deprecating way. It was more of a women's fiction with a good measure of romance and faith. I loved learning about New Orleans and the culture surrounding that great city. One day I will make it there to visit.

I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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Julia Monroe Begins Again is the faith-centered story of a forty-year-old woman and mom of two grown boys who finds herself having to "begin again" after the death of her husband left her reeling for years. But she's reeling again after she sees Samuel Reed, the college sweetheart who crushed her heart, in church.

I found this to be an easy, satisfying read. I didn't think Julia always acted like the forty year old she's supposed to be, but I liked her story. It's heavy on the church going, which not all titles from this publisher are, so not everyone will find this to be their cup of tea, but for those of us that follow that kind of lifestyle, it's nice, and I'd recommend it.

Thanks so much to Bethany House for providing a copy of this book to review through NetGalley and LibraryThing.

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I'm awarding 5 clean and shiny stars to this debut from Rebekah Millet featuring a 40-year-old widow with a cleaning business. Here are 5 reasons why:
🌟 Julia and her struggles with her faith, parenting, priorities, and forgiveness to be so relatable
🌟 Samuel is a lovable hero. He has mistakes in his past and is determined to grow in his faith.
🌟 Chewy, the poodle mix, is a faithful protector for Julia.
🌟 So many great supporting characters like BFF Kate, Julia's mama, and Samuel's crusty daddy.
🌟 This is an inspiring, clean romance with humor and heart.

Thank you to Bethany House and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Julia Monroe Begins Again is book 1 in the Beignets for Two series by Rebekah Millet.
Yay! A new series I can get into.
This story was nicely written and very entertaining. It's very relatable and the characters are likeable and witty.
The story has good pacing. It will leave you rooting for the main character and hoping that she prevails at the end.
Absolutely loved Julia's style of writing and was sad to finish this book.
I would definitely like to read more by this author. And I will be looking forward to read book two when it becomes available.
Overall, this was an enjoyable and entertaining book and I am glad to have had the opportunity to read it.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Bethany House for the opportunity to read this ahead of its publication date in return for my honest review.

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Julia Monroe Begins Again is a good, easy read. It was nice to see an older protagonist as the readers could get a unique perspective of Julia in their 40s. She had to balance life, her two children, and dating life. Although the unique perspective was fresh to see, I felt like Julia was relatively immature for someone who is not too older than I am. I would not trust her discretions, and she seemed too overprotective over her two adult sons. I applaud her for going back into dating especially with someone she had a past with and handling new difficulties with openly but with caution .This book would be a great book to curl up with for an afternoon.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for giving me a copy of the book.

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What a fun, funny, sweet story of big losses and new beginnings. It has a great mix of wit and charm, faith, healing and second-chances. I’m not a big romance reader but had seen a lot of buzz about Rebekah Millet’s debut book. It is a nice change of pace from some of the heavier things I’ve been reading; I’m glad I gave it a chance. I look forward to #2 in the Beignets for Two series.
Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House for the opportunity to read for my honest review.

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Oh my goodness, I just finished this captivating debut novel by Rebekah Millet and it's a hoot! I highly recommend this witty and sassy story of starting over at 40. I have a friend who is very funny and risk adverse as well, so I could understand Julia's desire to manage her life and responsibilities without ANY risk. But what about all the blessings God has in store for her? Julia Monroe Begins Again is a hilarious and poignant journey from widowhood to second chances.

"If there was one thing life had taught me, it was that if you loved someone-one way or another-they could be taken from you, and I didn't have the strength to to through that kind of pain again."

Samuel is the former Green Beret hero in this story who was her first love. He joins her church and she is NOT happy to see him. Things had not ended well twenty years ago and he needs her forgiveness. He is not the same man he was. Her inner dialogue had me laughing out loud. "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." Her best friend Kate, owner of Books & Beignets, keeps trying to throw her together with Samuel and is able to ask her the hard questions with honesty and love as only best friends can do.

The rest of the cast of characters add humor and love to the story as well. Julia's grumpy mother, Samuel's grumpy father, his brother Wyatt, Julia's sons Connor and Mason, and Brooke.

Don't miss this witty debut novel, you will love it!

Thank you to the author, Net Galley and Bethany House for allowing me to read an early copy. All opinions are my own. I also pre-ordered a copy from Baker Book House for my keeper shelf!

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I found Julia Monroe Begins Again refreshing as it is the best of rom coms and Christian fiction rolled into one! Sweet and funny, but also deep and engaging. I love that the main characters are in their 40s. Written in Julia's first-person POV, she is relatable, honest, and funny. Samuel is a handsome, witty, determined, godly alpha male. Kate is a wonderful best friend and her dog, mom, and Teddy are wonderful grouchy side characters.

Full of relatable second chances, forgiveness, parenting worries, and the emotions of losing a spouse, along with the grace and strength of our faith-filled life. This book isn’t even released yet, and I’m already impatiently waiting for Rebekah Millet’s next book! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions in this review are my own. After reading this ebook, I went and ordered a paperback copy!

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A sweet Christian second chance romance by a new author.

It wasn't quite as well written as I thought it would be, but it was still a good read - I like the "older" lead female character, but the story was lacking. Julia is a widow with two sons in college, trying to hold the family together and keep her finances out of the red when an old boyfriend shows up at her church. I liked the cleaning ministry helping the elderly church members.

Rebekah is a newer author and I'm exciting to see her writing develop. I watch a lot of her Facebook videos and her bubbly, fun personality certainly comes across in her writing.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a temporary, digital ARC in return for my review.

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Julia Monroe Begins Again by Rebekah Millet - DNF at 51% - Ch 21

Let me start by saying this book has tropes I am not usually a fan of - (hate to love mostly) so take my review with a grain of salt. This may be something for you - and it's just not for me. I do think Rebekah has great writing and I would love to check out future books by her if the tropes are up my alley - I probably should have really waited to see if the tropes would have been for me or not but I digress.

Julia Monroe is a 40 year old widow and mother of 2 boys, 18 and 19 years old, who are off to college now, leaving Julia at home alone to figure out this next stage of her life. She had a beautiful, happy marriage to her husband Mark - but he passed away 10 years ago and she is not eager to jump into a new relationship, for fear of getting hurt again. In comes Samuel Reed, the "ex-boyfriend before her life with her husband". Their relationship ended on bad terms but 20 years later, he's back in town and arrives at her church and old memories resurface.

Ya'll I reallllllly wanted to love this book. I feel bad honestly, but it just wasn't for me. I am not going to "rate it" since I didn't finish it, but from what I read 50% in, I was beyond frustrated with Julia.

She sees Samuel at her church and references how he "needs to find another place of worship" and that rubbed me the wrong way. She continues to be so mean and hating him for a good portion of the book, but she's still thinking about how handsome he is and stuff - yet she's so mean. Some of what she said just rubbed me the wrong way. I understand she has not forgiven Samuel for what he did and there's some trauma she is holding onto - but 20 years later Samuel has truly changed, is a Christian and showing true remorse after all he has done, yet she is holding such a grudge against him and cannot move past their past. This is something I struggle with reading in books - the "I can't let this go" trope. It's frustrating - I know it's hard to forgive people but as a 40 year old she just exhibited such immaturity in her thoughts and behavior. She was downright mean to him and that just frustrated me. And then he just kept coming back after she was so rude - it was truly like a hate to love situation that frustrated me. I have enjoyed enemies to lovers in the past but....this was just truly hate to love and I didn't like that.

After hearing from a close friend more frustrating things that occur in the 80% mark, I decided I was just not the right person for this book and decided to DNF. I honestly think several will enjoy this - for those who love the second chance hate to love books, but I am starting to realize what I enjoy in romance books and this was just not for me. I have seen there are some good faith moments in this book but unfortunately I was not able to make it there with everything I wasn't loving.

Again, while I am disappointed that I didn't end up loving this or finishing it, I will be on the look out for more of Rebekah's books in the future - just need to make sure the tropes are for me! :)

Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy of this book to honestly read and review.

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I always appreciate a romance about someone older that 25. I didn't really click with this story, but I appreciated that aspect.

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What can I say about Julia Monroe Begins Again?

Well. I’ve searched far and wide for a read Christian romantic comedy. Every other book me I’d read was severely lacking in the Christian department. But Rebekah Millet did it. And did she do an incredible job.

This book follows Julia, who has run in after run in with an ex who broke her teenage heart. It’s a story of love and forgiveness. And the author reminds us that we have to lean into God and ask for help—without ceasing—for guidance.

I loved almost everything about this book. It’s funny, entertaining, and I may or may not have cried happy tears. Samuel, the love interest, is a great character written to teach us about how God has the ability to change us.

I didn’t like Julia’s best friend, Kate, though. Her advice fell flat to me—like claiming Julia kept a secret from Samuel when they dated in the past, but she had tried calling him 16 times. She also didn’t understand boundaries and meddled like a busy body. Her niece was a fun addition though! I hope book two follows Kate so I understand where she was coming from in this book.

I’ll be looking into this author’s other books. This is amazing and exactly what I, as a Christian, am looking for in a romantic comedy.

I received this book from Netgalley and Bethany House for my honest review.

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Julie Monroe Begins Again by Rebekah Millet blended together funny parts, shaved legs, and forgiveness quite well. The story touches on the consequences of our mistakes and drifting away from God, but carries a clear message of how our relationship with Him can grow to new heights once we return. What’s not to love with a pet named Chewy and Julie’s not-so-affectionate mama?

Now, a few things that could have been considered further:

Why didn’t Samuel sue his ex for paternity, instead of giving her money necessary to raise the child? Men have rights too. And for his ex to sign an agreement—sorry, hoping not to share too much—how is she still a “physical concern” to Julie or even a nuisance to the daughter. The whole agreement thing is horrible when stepping into the child’s shoes. I would be gutted if I was in the daughter’s position.

That aside, I love Kate’s wisdom and Julie’s gifts with regard to the ministry God had placed on her heart.

Her humble prayer on page 223 was an important takeaway of the story.

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Rebekah Millet is a brand new author and she hit it out of the ballpark with Julia Monroe Begins Again! I laughed and cried along with Julia as she navigated a second chance at love with her ex-boyfriend Samuel from high school. He broke her heart 20 years ago and is now on her mom's enemy list. I love having characters who I can relate to so finding more books about those in their 40's and older is such a blast for me! I could understand and commiserate with Julia as she went through life missing her boys who are now in college. That empty nest can be a hard thing to deal with!

All in all, a wonderful romance for those of us a bit older! Can't wait for the next in the series!

Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review. All opinions are my own.

Publication date: 24 October 2023

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So much potential which was let down by poor execution and immature characters that just made me want to fling my kindle across the room.

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Julia Monroe is content in her life as a widow and single mom of two college boys with her own cleaning business in New Orleans. But her life gets interrupted when her ex, Samuel Reed, shows up at her church—and makes it clear that he wants to start dating again. Julia finds herself wrestling with her past hurts and God’s plan for her future as she steps into the beginning of something new.⚜️

Julia Monroe Begins Again is a delightful and hilarious romance book by debut author, Rebekah Millet. Even though the characters were nearly twice my age, I loved seeing their growth in this story and thoroughly enjoyed their witty humor. I also appreciated that the characters’ faith was an integral part of this story. I feel like this isn’t necessarily something you see in a lot of Christian fiction these days, but God’s faithfulness and redemption was evident on every page. And this book was so steeped in New Orleans culture that I felt like I was really there. I congratulate Rebekah Millet on the upcoming release of her debut novel, and I look forward to reading any future books she writes!🩷

Release Date: October 24, 2023
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A big thank you to Rebekah Millet and Bethany House Publishers for sending me a copy of this book! All thoughts and opinions above are my own.📗

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Oh what a delightful read this was! Julia Monroe very quickly drew me into her story and had me rooting for her to get the second chance at a happily ever after. When we meet Julia, she has been widowed for 10 years and her sons are away at college, leaving her on her own with her dog... until a man from her past walks into her church and wants a second chance with her.

I know not everyone is a fan of the second chance romance trope, but I personally love it... and I really loved how this one was handled. During their previous relationship, they were both young and not living a Christian life... as such, their reunion twenty years later has us seeing that they both have changed a lot since then. But they have a lot of previous hurts to work through! I loved this idea that God brought them back together at the right time for them... while also still not diminishing the love that Julia had with her deceased husband... that can be a really tricky line to walk, but I thought the author did it very well.

I love stories in which faith plays a large part in characters' lives, but oftentimes I find that books like that---particular in romance--- the characters can almost come across as a little too perfect and as such not quite believable. I thought the author did a wonderful job of balancing that faith content with flawed humans. These characters were imperfect--- they had pasts that were not squeaky clean and while they wanted to hand things over to God, they sometimes struggled to do so completely. They were physically attracted to one another and struggled with temptation--- just as many Christians do in life. I thought this made the story seem much more genuine and I really enjoyed it.

While the story ends in a happily ever after as a good romance should, there is some content that may be triggering to some readers to include miscarriage and loss of a spouse.

**I received a complimentary copy for consideration. All opinions are my own.

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