Welcome back to Mitford. The many fans of Jan Karon’s popular series will enjoy this tenth book about Father Tim and the colorful inhabitants of Mitford, North Carolina. Karon is back with an update of the now-retired Father Tim Kavanagh, his wife Cynthia, Dooley, Lace and all the other inhabitants we’ve come to know and love.
It’s a fictional town full of fictional people, but somehow we feel we know them; anyone who’s ever lived in a small town knows them. With characters such as Coot, Mule, J.C., Fancy, Hessie, Buck, Puny, Pooh, Joe Joe — well, you get the picture. Every small town in the South is full of characters with similar names. You’ll find yourself laughing with the book’s characters and sometimes at them. I especially like the town’s weekly newspaper, the Mitford Muse, with its hilarious typos.
Mitford, set in the lovely mountains of North Carolina, may be somewhat secluded but it’s not immune from the outside world and modern technology. There are cell phones, the internet, disputes and even a rascal or two to encroach on the peace of this mountain village. A reviewer for the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Jan Karon reflects contemporary culture more fully than almost any other living novelist.”
In Karon’s latest novel, Father Tim wrestles with an offer to once again become the pastor of Lord’s Chapel when the current pastor is caught up in scandal; his adopted son Dooley Barlow has doubts about his future as a country veterinarian and his relationship with the beautiful and gifted lace; Dooley’s brother Sammy is still enraged by their mother’s abandonment; and others face illnesses, loss and the ups and downs of life in the sympathetic, big-hearted and engaging way we’ve come to expect in Mitford. It was a pleasure to spend time in their company for all 511 pages. Father Tim is — as always — amused and amusing, and most of all long suffering as he deals with his fellow residents with wit, humor and love.
Karon has written other books involving Father Tim, including Home to Holly Springs. Yes, that’s Holly Springs, Mississippi, where the hero of all the Mitford books was born and reared.