Julia Stewart from my contemporary romance ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE is one of my favorite characters. She’s got faults – lots of them. She’s stubborn, and doesn’t easily forget when someone has wronged her. Her worst fault is that she’s let her ex-husband’s cheating and desertion make her afraid to love again. She’s afraid she’s going to be left behind once more. Taking another chance on love is too scary so she simply avoids it:
But she had no intention of throwing herself into the dating pool any time soon. Her marriage had left her with plenty of wounds that hadn’t entirely healed yet.
Perhaps they never would.
But Julia has many qualities that make her one of my favorites. That stubbornness that often gets her into trouble can come in handy sometimes. Her tenaciousness means she gets things done. I love that she doesn’t back down. She stands up for her principles and fights for what she believes is right, especially when it comes to the welfare of her students. In this excerpt, she has a confrontation with one of her teachers:
He narrowed his eyes at her. “There’s opposition on the school board and in the community, you know. Some say we need a new direction at the head of the school.”
She pressed her lips together to keep from telling Ralph what a sanctimonious asshole he was. A long time high school math teacher at Lobster Cove High School, he’d been a thorn in her side ever since she’d been hired as principal three years ago. He’d felt the job should have gone to him, and he had his supporters in the community. For the last three years, he’d done everything in his power to undermine her authority.
She measured her words carefully. “I’m aware of that, Ralph. I’ll do everything I can to make parents more comfortable with having a daycare for the children of students at the school. But as I said, it will be in place in the fall.”
For a few seconds, their gazes locked in a silent battle of wills. Julia wouldn’t give the bastard the satisfaction of seeing her blink first. Finally Ralph looked away.
“I’m considering organizing a petition against the daycare. If we get enough votes, we can take our views to the school board.”
Julia narrowed her eyes. Bring it on. She kept her voice calm.
“That’s your prerogative, of course.”
He gave her a small smirk. “I thought I should warn you.”
She dipped her head. “I appreciate it. But perhaps I should remind you that the push to create a daycare in the school to encourage students with young children to continue their education didn’t come from me initially. It came from parents and members of the community. And I’m sure they won’t let it go without a fight.”
The smirk disappeared. “I guess we’ll find out.”
“I guess we will.”
She’s a good daughter. She defends her mother when she thinks she’s been wronged:
Julia stared at him in mute shock, her brain struggling to process his words, as if trying to translate some unintelligible language. The words child abuse rang in her ears. Finally she found her voice.
“You think someone deliberately hurt her?”
“Her injuries are consistent with abuse.”
“I don’t give a damn what they’re consistent with. Ava has not been mistreated. My mother said she fell down the stairs, and if that’s what she said, then that’s what happened.”
When it becomes clear her parents need help, she steps in to do what needs to be done. She’s also a loyal friend. When her lifelong friend becomes ill, Julia raises money to help cover medical expenses. She organizes friends and neighbors to help with everyday needs like babysitting and cooking:
“We love you too, sweetheart. And like I said, there will be someone around tomorrow to look after you and the kids, and we’re going to keep on looking after you until you don’t need us anymore. You and Aaron aren’t alone.”
Julia bent to kiss Edie’s forehead once more. She couldn’t do anything about the cancer, but she was going make damn sure her friends got everything they needed to get safely through this ordeal.
Maybe I like Julia because she’s strong where I’m not. She speaks up whereas I tend to stay in the background. I’m not as assertive as she is. And I tend to be more of follower than the leader Julia is. I like to think of her as my alter ego.
Who are you favorite heroines, from books and movies old and new? Why? Are there heroines you wish you were more like?
Dr. Alex Campbell has an agenda—finish his contract to provide medical services in Maine, pay off his medical school debt, and head back to his real life in San Diego. But when he meets Julia, all his carefully laid plans are put in jeopardy.
Julia Stewart, Lobster Cove’s high school principal, swears she’ll never let another man drag her away from the home she loves. Her aging parents need her, and the Cove is where she wants to raise her daughter. When her mother’s illness brings her and the big city doctor closer together, panic sets in. Her marriage taught her men don’t stay.
Can she put aside the heartaches of the past and trust Alex enough to accept the love he’s offering? Or will her fear of abandonment mean she’ll send him away forever?