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Julia's Chocolates

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  7,174 ratings  ·  882 reviews
"I left my wedding dress hanging in a tree somewhere in North Dakota. I don't know why that particular tree appealed to me. Perhaps it was because it looked as if it had given up and died years ago and was still standing because it didn't know what else to do..."

In her deliciously funny, heartfelt, and moving debut, Cathy Lamb introduces some of the most wonderfully eccentric wdo..."

Paperback, 390 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Kensington Publishing Corporation (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,174 ratings  ·  882 reviews

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Jan 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon A.
Nov 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what to say about this book. I thought some of the characters and situations were contrived, the confrontations and conversations overblown and silly, and the wrap-ups too pat. However, I consumed this book during a weekend trip with my husband. I read for the entire trip there, every spare moment in the hotel, and the entire trip home.

So what does that say? That while I rolled my eyes throughout much of it, I am a sucker for a happy ending.

I do have one question. Why is it, in ne
Book Concierge
ZERO stars

One of the worst books I’ve ever read; I finished only because I needed it for a couple of challenges.

I had heard it compared to The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood or The Secret Life of Bees. And the book actually starts with a pretty good first sentence: I left my wedding dress hanging in a tree somewhere in North Dakota. Unfortunately it quickly goes downhill.

Julia Bennett has left her incredibly wealthy, violent, abusive fiancé on her wedding day, driving cross-country to her Aunt Lydia’s home in
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I made a new rule in my house about my non battery operated reading material.. If I put a Pink Ribbon around a Book it is not to be moved... touched... donated (hey I have donated literally HUNDREDS of books so I'm entitled to keep a few ) lent or ANYTHING it means THAT much to me... I put my first pink ribbon around Cathy Lamb's Julia's Chocolates.. I was sent this book right after our devastation of Sandy. For awhile when I would pick it up to read it ..I would cry... I now know why... it remi ...more
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
Julia Bennett is the central character in this book. She has lived with abuse all of her life with her alcoholic mother and her many boyfriends, and she is reliving it all over again with her fiancé Robert. Finally, one day after being abused she sees the light and decides to leave before her wedding and go to look for refuge with her Aunt Lydia, a woman who has tried to help her in the past.

In living with Lydia, Julia also gets to know a group of women who will help her find herself and heal h
C.H. Armstrong
Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I think I've found a new favorite author. This is the second book by Cathy Lamb I've read, and I can't decide which one I like better. She's such a fantastic author and her books really grab ahold of me.

What is so appealing about this book? Pretty much everything. You have Julia, a young woman who escapes an abusive relationship on her wedding day and moves in with her eccentric Aunt Lydia, who unapologetically hosts women's sexuality "meetings" at her home and grows pot in the basem
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
The opening line of this book was the best thing about the whole thing. "I left my wedding dress hanging in a tree somewhere in North Dakota..."

Julia Bennett runs away on her wedding day from an abusive relationship, into her aunt Lydia's kooky world of giant pigs, farm life, and weekly psychic nights with Lydia's friends. Riddled with many issues, abuse, child neglect, communication, cancer, trust, alcoholism, and mostly figuring out that love completes even the most broken individu
Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In the first line, Julia tells us she leaves her wedding dress hanging from a tree in North Dakota, as she leaves Boston and drives away from her abusive and dangerous fiance on their wedding day. Her black eye a reminder of how narrowly she escaped a marriage of abuse and humiliation.

She goes to her Aunt Lydia, a feisty, strong, eccentric woman who lives on a farm in Golden Oregon. In this small town, Julia with her big boobs, wild hair, and damaged psyche, finds friendship, safety,
Aug 04, 2012 marked it as did-not-finish
DNFing this on page 63. I just, I can't.

It's not the subject matter that's the problem. I'm all for books about women fleeing abusive relationships by fleeing to the safety of their quirky aunt, and her apparent seance group (I am sure this book is about more than that, but as I said I only got to page 63). I just can't deal with the writing style. I can't deal with one more mention of breasts (or any of the euphemisms for them), or about how men are pricks (63 pages in and I'm sure this has be
Jul 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
I read this because it was recommended by a friend who could not stop raving about it. I was horrified to read it and to find that I not only didn't like it, but that I hated it. To me, it was like the writer composed what she thought was a recipe for a great book, and followed it step by step to get the desired result. Not only was the chocolate metaphor overdone, but the characters were totally unrealistic, as was much of the dialogue. Most of it was a cliche, from the horrible, abusive boyfri ...more
Julia Bennett is a single 34 yr. old woman who's having a life crisis. She had a troubled childhood growing up with an abusive mother who was a drug addict and slept around. Her mother would neglect her and also bring home boyfriends who abused Julia either physically or tried to sexually molest her. Julia used to hang out at the library or the park alot sometimes sleeping there when things got too bad and her teachers and others would pitch in and bring her meals or buy her new clothes, since h ...more
Sherry Gorman
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“I left my wedding dress hanging on a tree somewhere in North Dakota.”

These are the captivating words Cathy Lamb selected to begin her wonderfully crafted novel, Julia’s Chocolates. The mental image of a pristine wedding dress hanging limply from a lonely tree in the middle of nowhere is nothing short of genius. From that sentence on, I had to know what one has to do with the other.

Julia Bennett is no stranger to abuse. Growing up neglected by her mother and abused at the hands of h
Marilyn Brant
Jul 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
In the character of Julia, Cathy Lamb has created a woman who is warm, funny, unique...and quite literally on the road to self-discovery. After leaving her abusive fiance at the altar in Boston (and her wedding veil on a gnarled tree in North Dakota), Julia keeps driving West until she gets to her aunt's house in Oregon. When she gets there, she meets a community full of quirky, offbeat characters, who show her what it means to support each other, value themselves and honor their passions.

For J
This is my first Cathy Lamb book but I see more to come in my future.
What I thought would be a "modern day chick book" actually had a bit more substance than I expected. It dealt with image issues, abusive relationships and so much more. But beneath it all it was a story about women...their value and their friendships.

Often very humorous, with some over the top characters this book took me on a delightful journey with Julia as she runs away from her life to find out who she r
I just couldn't get into it so this was a DNF for me
Apr 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
This title is completely misleading. If you'd like lovely descriptions of chocolate and how chocolate pulls Julia into a new life-- nope, not here folks. Instead all the description and vivid imagary is in abuse of all kinds, including rape. Taking away the title _Julia's Chocolates_, and maybe calling it Men Are Pricks or Psychic Women Night would be more fair to the storyline. The book does depict stories of survival and hard themes such as abuse, love, acceptance and being authentic.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
LOVE LOVE LOVE Cathy Lamb. I love the way she writes and empowers women in all of her books.
Apr 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Well, I finished Julia's Chocolates and I enjoyed it. Whenever I finish a book,if I liked the characters and will miss them a bit then I've enjoyed the story. There sure were plenty of problems in this book and it touches on a ton of social issues. However, it also focuses on the fact that community and support networks are wonderful and very important things. Women can help other women if their hearts are open, fearless and judgment free. I laughed, I cried and I reflected. Above all, I felt a ...more
Stephany G
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it
I really love Chick Lit, but this one would just be between "OK" and "Liked it" for me. I am a harsh judge it seems but this book was over the top. Too much going on, the main story would have been more enjoyable if the whole book was a little simplified. Julia decides to leave her abusive fiance before the wedding at the beginning of the book and runs to her Aunt in a small town knowing he will follow eventually and get even with her. Her way of coping, and her gift in life, is chocolate making ...more
Gina Hott
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what I did more while reading this book - laugh or cry. It's enlightening, humiliating, and completely enthralling!

It was amazing to me after suffering from the 'Dread Disease' myself that I could laugh when Julia contracts it and hides it from everyone - as did I. (Don't worry it's just panic attacks!) I reread and reread the description of Lydia's sprawling farm with the toilet planters and concrete pigs - mostly because the tears in my eyes kept messing with the words
Feb 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Julia left her wedding dress hanging in a tree and her abusive relationship in Boston on her way to Golden, Oregon, home of her mother's half sister, the quirkiest of them all, to find herself. Eccentric, Aunt Lydia "grounds" Julia while surrounding her with love, friends, farm animals and the chores they create. Those friends include a psychic with secrets, a minister's very unhappy wife and an abused mother of four. This oddball group gather strength from each other and are able to bare their ...more
Mrs. Schatz
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
At the beginning I doubted why I had picked this book to read. Then Julia began to make friends and let herself heal. It was a story of 5 women who needed to overcome obstacles, humougous & to some people insurmountable, but they did. They did with love, friendship, laughter, and inner strength. Aunt Lydia knows how to channel a woman's inner strength with her Pyschic Nights and women's bodies. It made me laugh, cry, and cherish my women friends and love my husband even more. Great read!!! ...more
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Full of quirky characters and deliciously out spoken taboo subjects, I loved this book. There was also the frightening stalking element and details of abuse that were painful to read. Cathy Lamb has such a way of dealing with and doling out punishments for characters who are complete scum. It is such a satisfying experience to have them so completely crushed. Such a thing hardly happens in real life. *Spoiler Alert* I appreciate how Julia made her stand but couldn't quite believe she would be so ...more
Carmen Blankenship
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book introduced me to one of my favorite authors. I devoured everything else she wrote within a month. I will not give away the plot. It is a story of going home, domestic violence, self loathing, and self love, and HILARIOUS relatives. It takes a special type of writer to be able to touch on the nerve of domestic violence. You feel the terror and the sadness but you also feel the healing of Julia. In all of Cathy's books I laugh, I cry, and rejoice... did I mention laugh? Cathy Lamb is one ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
So this book was a bit predictible and happily ever after doesn't always happen. I still liked it. Colorful, strong women characters. Aunt Lydia's character was my very favorite. I want to be just like her when I grow up. Heck I'm wanting to put out some cement pigs with certain peoples names on them right now! :)
Bridget Mazzocca
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a girl just needs a good old fashioned "women who overcome obstacles and come out on top" type of book. This is exactly that!! I thoroughly enjoyed this one! It was just such a perfect girlie book! Also my first from Lamb but not my last.....Introduction to a new favorite author...SUCCESS!
Csilla Cabot
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I honestly loved this book. "It is quirky, fun, fast paced and the first chapter alone will have you laughing. "If you have seen the movie Peace,Love and Misunderstanding... you'll love this book. I have vowed to hold onto this one to reread it anytime I need a good chuckle or pick me up.
*The Angry Reader*
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
I liked the female characters, the fast moving story, the sweet romance. I hated the talk of vagina vagina vagina. I'm a somewhat reserved person. And there's no way I'm going to be flaunting my vagina at a dinner party. Ever.

Julia escapes a bad relationship by driving cross-country to the home of her Aunt Lydia. Lydia has a farm, a booming voice and a large personality. The scenes with her were so contrived and so uncomfortable they ruined the book for me. Some of the scenes without
Its easy to see why this book has such varied reviews, most of the content makes you cringe, either with embarrassment at the blunt descriptions of the female anatomy, and horrific sexual assault, or disbelief as to the amount of violent abuse that occurs to the woman children and animals in the story.
When you get past the violence you get a quaint story of a group of woman joining together to overcome their fears finding new reasons to enjoy life and tapping the skills that they always possess
Kathy  Nyman
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was my first Cathy Lamb book and I loved it. I loved quirky Aunt Lydia and her pigs and Psychic nights, I loved Julia’s strength and compassion for the children and her friends. I laughed,I cried and I recommend it to friends.
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Play Book Tag: Julia's Chocolates by Cathy Lamb 4 14 Jun 24, 2018 07:37AM  
Bookworm Bitches : February 2014: Julia's Chocolates 23 192 Dec 11, 2016 06:07PM  
Around the Year i...: Julia's Chocolates, by Cathy Lamb 4 30 Dec 10, 2015 06:12PM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 22, 2015 10:40AM  
predictable? 4 25 Feb 28, 2014 04:01AM  
Goodreads Librari...: correction of detail in a review. 2 28 Nov 28, 2013 07:14AM  

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Cathy Lamb was born in Newport Beach, California. As a child, she mastered the art of skateboarding, catching butterflies in bottles, and riding her bike with no hands. When she was 10, her parents moved her, two sisters, a brother, and two poorly behaved dogs to Oregon before she could fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a surfer bum.

She then embarked on her notable academic career
“When moonlight touches you, it’s time for a woman to sit back and think, really think, about her life.” 1 likes
“The only disease the alcoholics have is the disease of weakness and selfishness.” 0 likes
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