Customer Reviews for

At Home in Mitford (Mitford Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Marred by Divorce & Remarriage

After my wife and 15-year-old daughter enjoyed the Mitford Chronicles so much, I promised to read the first volume in order to be able to substantively discuss Mitford life with my womenfolk. I have finally finished 'At Home in Mitford' and thought others might be ma...

After my wife and 15-year-old daughter enjoyed the Mitford Chronicles so much, I promised to read the first volume in order to be able to substantively discuss Mitford life with my womenfolk. I have finally finished 'At Home in Mitford' and thought others might be marginally interested in a masculine perspective on the book.

First, I have to say that it was somewhat less than absorbing. My wife and daughter finish one of these 350-page books in 2 or 3 days, whereas it took me several months. And the difference is due to something other than reading speed. In fact, for a while I thought that my 13-year-old son's comment after reading the book jacket, 'That's all I need to know about Mitford,' was pretty close to the mark.

After working on the book for several weeks and not seeing anything happen, I asked my wife for an outline of the plot. Her answer: 'There is no plot. It's just the meanderings of small town daily life.' This was difficult to absorb! I wondered (to myself), 'Why would anyone want to write about such a thing? And if one did, who would want to read it? And if one read it, how could one in good conscience inflict it on someone else?' Nevertheless, I persevered.

That said, however, I must admit, upon finally finishing, that it was a good book; I even enjoyed it. After coming to terms with Father Tim not being an Indiana Jones type, I was able to appreciate his life and 'adventures,' such as they are. And he does have some adventures. Shootings, drug dealers, and international jewel heists somehow make their way into the book. The book is also packed with dry humor; I found Father Tim and his countrymen a hilarious bunch of characters. I hope they were not insulted by my laughter. Possibly my familiarity with small town Southern life contributed to my enjoyment of their daily tribulations.

The book is set in quaint little Mitford, North Carolina, the parish of Father Tim Kavanaugh, an Episcopal priest who was raised as a Baptist. Father Tim is a solitary, but contentedly cheerful, sexagenarian bachelor recently diagnosed with diabetes. We see Mitford through his eyes and thoughts. Father Tim has a strong commitment to the people of his parish, and he, in turn, is beloved by them. The supporting characters appear as genuine people whom the reader gradually comes to know through natural, unforced dialogues and the author's original descriptions of daily activities.

I especially appreciated author Jan Karon's portrayal of authentic Christian faith and the application of such faith to everyday life. She does it in a frank, non-preachy way which I found uncommonly attractive and strikingly effective. Her presentation of Biblical theology is for the most part sound and accurate. The book is more effective than most standard evangelistic tracts in winsomely presenting authentic biblical faith in the Creator. She uses believably realistic accounts of normal people's joys and sorrows to depict the reality of life with God in a broken world.

My one serious criticism is that Cynthia Coppersmith, Father Tim's neighbor and emerging love interest, is divorced. It was disconcerting to have to change my view of the Tim-Cynthia romance upon learning of her marital status. After all, how can one 'root for' a developing relationship which the Son of God identifies as adultery? ('Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.' Luke 16:18) Their illegitimate romance leaves a bitter taste in the reader's mouth.

I strongly object to the books' implicit approval of remarriage after divorce. The Mitford Chronicles are for the most part so wholesome that the commendatory presentation of the Tim-Cynthia relationship desensitizes people to the seriousness of divorce and serves as a persuasive voice to legitimize remarriage after divorce. Due to the nature of the books, most people will find Karon's im

posted by Anonymous on March 17, 2000

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

dog lover

I am sorry I cant like any book that starts out with someone beating a dog, and thinking nothing of it.

posted by Anonymous on September 21, 2003

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Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 134 Customer Reviews
Page 2 of 7
  • Posted April 5, 2012

    Loved the series

    I enjoyed the series very much. I purchased this book as a birthday gift for a good friend - I thought she would enjoy the series too.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    Good reading. Sometimes you just want easy flowing

    I love the Father Tim stories and all the characters in the little town. I had the set in book now I'm putting it on my nook.

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  • Posted October 9, 2011

    Recommended for all readers

    I read it when it was first published. Had no way, that I knew of, to write a review. Belatedly:Cozy,funny, good characterizations. I have enjoyed reading all of Karon's novels and the cookbooks.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    B Batyski

    Loved it! Someone gave me this book and I thought it's probably going to be boring. I was wrong! I t is a great read! Can' wait to get the next one in the series!

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  • Posted May 7, 2011

    AWESOME

    I love these books and I read them over and over again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2011

    I'm hooked on Mitford!

    I am rather late to the series, my mother had the books in her collection, but for some reason I never got around to reading them. I first was introduced to Father Tim through the audio book - read/ performed by Family Focus on the theatre productions. In this format it was read like an old radio drama - just delightful! I have also enjoyed the remainder read by John McDonough. Not a literay classic, but definitely a delightful read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read

    Fantastic for all ages! Greaat idea for gifts even if you have not read it. I will read them all.

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Heartwarming book!

    What a great, heart-warming read! I think I fell in love with Father Tim. As in I wished he was preaching in a church here so I could go and listen and get to know him.

    It was a quick read. The middle dragged a bit so I put it down and took a small break from it. However, that break coincided with a lot of chaos in the house so that might have been more about us than the book!

    That said, I think I will try to get my hands on the second book so I can keep reading about life in Mitford!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    Wonderful

    Completely charming and thoroughly entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    personal favorite!

    This is one of those relaxing books that is a classic! It should in everyone's library!

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    At Home In Mitford

    I am new to Jan Karon books but love this. I first bought the Mitford bedside book and got hooked. I will buy them all and re-read them over time.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Read!

    Mitford is a place you can't wait to get back to. While reading this touching narrative you absolutely fall in love with dear Father Tim. His naturality and realism is enough to make you believe you will bump into him when you head to your nearest Farmer's Market. Mitford is a joy, a journey, a lovely place to visit again and again.

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  • Posted August 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    One of My All Time Favorites!

    At home in Mitford is one of my all time favorites!!! Once I started it I could not put it down and went on to read everything in the series. If you are feeling out of sorts with the world give it a try and I promise you it will change your life!

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    Love, Love, Love this series

    I am almost done with the nine book series. I started reading the books 6 weeks ago and they are sooooo good. I love all the characters in the book and the peace of reading the books. Makes me want to live there if Fr. Tim was there with his family. I will be sad to see the series end, I just hope she has Dooley, Cynthia, Sammy, & Lace in the new series. They are like family.

    I recommend the whole series.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    An Excellent Read

    The Mitford series was an unexpected find for me. I was unaware of it until a friend shared the recorded version for a trip. I was hooked. The characters are much like people you know. Mitford could be everyone's fantasy for a home town. The stories are involved and interesting and are sprinkled with life lessons throughout. I had to read the entire series without stopping because I was so involved with the characters' lives

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Perfect Home Town

    Father Tim Kavanaugh is the Episcopalian Priest in the small mountain town of Mitford, North Carolina. This story, and those that follow, chronicle Father Tim as he reaches beyond his comfort zone of isolated bachelor Priest, to becoming a man connected to a community and a developing family. Father Tim confronts his own aging issues and the large and small concerns that the members of his congregation and the residents of the Mitford community experience with honest concern and respect. People of all faiths will appreciate how Father Tim actively lives his faith, and will also laugh and cringe as he struggles to be the glue that ties together a small town of delightful personalities.

    This is a book that will be treasured, and become dog-eared with rereading. It is also a book that can be given as a gift to anyone who is in need of a delightful story, no stress, and a little bit of hope that places like Mitford and people like Father Tim really exist in this day and age.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Forget St. Louis, Meet Me in Mitford!

    I must admit that it took me until I was nearly halfway finished with this book before submitting to its charms! At first it was seemingly too "cozy" and "gentle," but just like Father Tim often muses about Mitford - there is much more depth and drama beneath the surface. I urge everyone to stick it through the halfway point because if you do, you will find yourself transported to a world that will warm your heart. Fr. Tim's goodness and compassion is inspiring - his quirky foibles and mishaps are amusing - and his unexpected romantic yearnings for his lovely next-door neighbor are very endearing. Cynthia (the object of Tim's affection) is another likeable character whom I also wanted as a friend! This book is filled with all kinds of adventures, misadventures, interesting characters, and tender moments.

    If you took CHRISTY, OUR TOWN, "Columbo," ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL, and "Boys Town" and put them all in a blender, you would end up with AT HOME IN MITFORD! It's a refreshing and good-natured treat in the midst of a too-often disappointing world. I'm looking forward to reading the next three books in the series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Wish it Were My Home

    Bought the first volume again to give via snailmail book club. I am glad I have the whole set. Will always re-read these. Heartwarming, wistful, instructive. I WANT AN ORANGE MARMALADE CAKE. :)

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Loved it!

    This beginning of Mitford series made me want to read more

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Great all-around read!

    This is the first time I have read Jan Karon's books, and what a treasure I have found. I had read all of James Herriott's books, and loved them each time I opened one. Jan's characters are very believable, and, having been raised in a small town in the hills of New Jersey, I can see a few similarities of people I knew as a child. Her series is a great summer read as well as a rainy day read by a cozy fire. I have found myself lost in Mitford now for a month, and can't wait to move onward to the next book. I recommend her books to people from all ages, as I think you will find them stimulating and heartwarming to say the least.

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