Friday, July 20, 2007

77. A Common Life: The Wedding Story by Jan Karon

ISBN 0670894370 - Penguin, 2001
This sixth book in the Mitford Series is chronologically out of sync. It relates the events of Father Tim and Cynthia's wedding from his proposal to their honeymoon, although not much is said about their wedding reception.
I have always found people's "how we met" stories touching and here many of Miftord's colourful characters reminisce about past and present love. Many also express their true feelings towards Father Tim, Cynthia and the institution of marriage.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

76. A New Song by Jan Karon

ISBN 0140270590 - Penguin, 1999
Father Tim is "supplying" at St John's in the Grove on the island of Whitecap. When he hears about the trouble facing his former parishioners back in Mitford, it's difficult for him not to rush to the rescue. But time and time again, circumstances prevent them from returning home.
We are introduced to two intriguing new characters: Helene Pringle, a piano teacher, who has rented the Kavanagh's Mitford home and Morris Love the brilliant organist who has become a hermit due to his physical disabilities.
Tim wonders whether Cynthia has become too attached to the 3 year old boy they're caring for while his mother recovers from the debilitation depression she suffers after her husband leaves her for another woman.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

75. Out to Canaan by Jan Karon

Reading Jan Karon's Mitford Series is like good Christian Fellowship. Whether folks in the fictional North Carolina town encounter tragedy or joy they face it with prayer and scripture. Father Tim often reflects on words from favourite hymns or wisdom from Christian theologans like Oswald Chambers Patrick Henry Reardon.
One criticism of the series is that it does not show diversity. There are a few "ethnic" characters: African-American Louella Baxter Marshall; Italians Anna & Tony Nocelli, and Angelo, Leonardo, and Roberto Francesca; Hélène Pringle who has a French background and Ben Isaac Berman who is Jewish. Economic diversity is shown - from Homeless Hobbes to the very wealthy Edith Mallory. How diverse are small towns in North Carolina? In a week or so I'll find out for myself.

Friday, July 13, 2007

74. These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon

ISBN 0140257934 - Penguin, 1996
The storyline of Father Tim and Cynthia jumps from his proposal to her, on his birthday, at the end of "A Light in the Window", to them being married at the beginning of "These High, Green Hills". It's hard to get a sense of how much time has lapsed between the two novels and there is very little description of the wedding, which is disappointing.
We are introduced to several engaging new characters: young Lacey Turner needs rescuing from abusive father, Scott Murphy hired as chaplain for Hope House and Dooley Barlowe's "lost" mother Pauline and brother "Poobaw".
Father Tim has a "life changing" experience when he and Cynthia get lost in a cave on a camping trip. He recalls a line from a Theodore Roethke poem: In a dark time, the eye begins to see.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

73. A Light in the Window by Jan Karon

ISBN 0-14-025454-4 - Penguin, 1995
Miss Sadie Baxter and Edith Mallory are two of Mitford's wealthiest women. The similarity ends there. Miss Sadie, an elderly, frail spinster, lets her kindness and generosity shine again and again in this second book in the Mitford series. Recently widowed, chain smoking Edith Mallory attempts to use her money to manipulate folks ito getting her own way. A rough ride is in store for Father Tim as she sets her sites on him.
Father Tim is in for further turbulence when his neighbour and sweetheart Cynthia Coppersmith goes to New York for an extended stay and his cousin Meg Patrick arrives from Ireland.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

72. At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

ISBN 014 02.5448 X - Penguin, 1994

Originally published in Jan Karon's local newspaper, The Blowing Rocket, as a series of stories about Episcopal (Anglican) priest Father Tim Kavanaugh, this first volume introduces the reader to many lovable characters in the fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina.
By the end of the book the 60 year old bachelor has a dog the size of a Buick, a beguiling new neighbour and scrappy, freckle-faced nine year old "mountain boy" in his life.