Next, a little about Julie. She is a wife and mother who lives in Tennessee, an LDS author writing for the national marketplace, has a BA in Political Science and a minor in English Literature from San Diego State University, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama. A bout with cancer put some of Julie's dreams on hold, but it also helped her realize that her top priorities, in addition to her husband and family, included writing fiction and getting it published. Now she has several books appearing in the next year.
Since my push toward publication came because of a health crisis, I relate to Julie, even though I took a different path. Her determination speaks to dreams fulfilled in spite of long odds, and I tip my hat to her (and yes, I own several Western hats).
The Woman He Married is billed as a romance, but it has a healthy dose of woman's fiction in it. With a degree in law and a complex relationship background, Josie McClain has let her life get out of control and her dreams slip away from her. She had dealt with her dissatisfaction and dilemmas and three typical children with the help of alcohol...until she gave it up six months ago under pressure from her candidate-for-circuit-court-judge husband, John Bearden. Seeking an alternative to booze, she stays too busy, from compulsive volunteerism at her childrens' schools, to working a couple of days a week at the law firm of her college lover, Brian, who evidently still has a thing for her. Eleven years into a marriage on the brink of break-up, Josie's crossroads comes when the diamond tennis bracelet she's been hinting about for ever so long shows up on the wrist of her husband's press secretary.
In days of yore, a woman's magazine had a regular feature called "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" That's the question of the day for the balance of the novel, as Josie "embarks on a journey of self-rediscovery, finding that fulfillment was unwittingly within her reach the whole time."
No first novel is perfect (sheesh, is any novel perfect?), and neither is this one. There are slight point-of-view flaws, a few bumpy transitions, and too much home decor and clothing description for my taste (but that's MY taste). However, it moves along at a rapid pace, is well balanced with a sticky situation for an inciting action, interesting characters and adorable children, lots of soul-searching, and baleful humor from Josie's best friend, Gina. Julie N. Ford shows great promise in her debut, and I look forward to reading the sequel to The Woman He Married.
Second Chance Contest: If you read The Woman He Married between now and May 28, you can go to Julie’s blog and vote for who you feel Josie should have chosen in the end. You’ll be entered into a 2nd contest to win a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card.