No she's not literally naked, although the thought has crossed Julia's mind, but she will have to drop all her preconceived notions and embrace the small town of Eufaula, Alabama. Julia sees the assignment as punishment. Her new boss, David, who also happens to be her estranged father, sees the assignment as a form of redemption. Julia thinks her you know what doesn't stink!!! She's been late with assignments and missed deadlines. Her head has been in the clouds. She's the star of the magazine, they can't get rid of her. But she's not indispensable. She has to take this assignment or join the unemployment line.
Eufaula sounds like every small town I've ever read about. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone knows each other's business. Julia is very much a fish out of water. In just a few days she gets mixed up in all kinds of adventures. My favorite involves sweet tea. I think some of you know where I'm going with this. I'm not from the South, but I have a lot of family in the Bible Belt and I know not to gulp down sweet tea. If you know what's good for you, get unsweetened tea and then add sugar. As a true Yankee, Julia doesn't know that and almost chokes. I had to laugh because everyone around her is ready to call a doctor.
Shug Jordan is Julia's guide during her trip. Of course he is easy on the eyes, but he has a girlfriend, Mary Katherine, who struck me as Mary Kay on acid. Julia is there just to work, but Mary Katherine makes sure to mark her territory. Julia doesn't want to get too personal anyway. She wants to get the lowdown on the town and get out as quickly as possible. A few times she imagines what it might be like to have her claws in Shug instead of Mary Katherine. Shug even introduces Julia to his family. His family, like most people in town, look at Julia like she is an alien. But like most New Yorkers she wants everything done fast. There is no time to stop and relax with Julia. No time to take stock of things, which is how she's led her life up until this point.
After her mother died, she didn't give her father a chance to explain his reasons for leaving the marriage. She just wanted to be done with David. Her boyfriend Andrew always wants to discuss their relationship, but Julia always has an assignment to deal with. Shug wants to take his time and let Julia truly experience Eufaula, but all she can think of is her flight out. Is there something wrong with the people around her? Or does Julia really need to slow down and take a breath?
"Spending time, here in Eufaula, has helped me realize that barreling through life at a breakneck pace -- while exciting, sometimes glamorous, and always loads of fun -- has been, at best, a distraction. A useful tool in avoiding personal introspection or thoughts of the future."
Being in Eufaula opens Julia's eyes, but is she ready to make changes? Does she finally realize that it's ok to enjoy the little things in life?
Overall, I enjoyed the story. There were some parts toward the end that seemed a little out of place in a Southern romance. I won't give everything away, but it involves exploding houses!!
Note: I received an e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review.