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Most Helpful Favorable Review
3 out of 5 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, 2000Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.
posted by Anonymous on September 21, 2003Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 7, 2011
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!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2010
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 10, 2010
Posted February 20, 2010
Posted February 14, 2010
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Posted December 27, 2009
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2009
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!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I recommend the whole series.
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' livesWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 11, 2009
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.
Posted July 10, 2009
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.
Posted June 29, 2009
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. :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 30, 2009
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 21, 2009
One of my favorite books ever!
I listened to this on CD (narrated by John McDonough) and I was totally hooked from the very first line. I am now listening to the third book and can't wait to hear all the rest and am very sad to realize that there is an actual end to this series. I laughed out loud (at work!) over Uncle Billy and Miss Rose, Miss Sadie and Luella, Dooley and Puny and Fancy and Homeless Hobbs...I love the way Jan Karon writes and the way these characters talk! I was born in North Carolina and grew up in Tennessee and Georgia and have always lived in the South and her characters are just like old friends. For years I had a little lady friend who was like an adopted grandmother (she died at almost 100 and she also had a "Luella") and hearing about Miss Sadie brings back happy memories of a very special friend. I am also glad that Tim and Cynthia have Barnabas and Violet as pets as I love animals and have lots of pets myself. This book is also quite inspirational and I like the Bible verses and thoughts that are in the book. John McDonough does a great job with all the voices and that is not easy with as many interesting people as are in the books. Thank to Jan Karon for this amazing series! I wish I could write like she does!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 23, 2009
Posted March 12, 2009
This book is like visiting people you know. It is just an awesome book if you're looking for something that you would not be afraid for your children (that can read) to pick up and read. It has good moral values and will just lift your spirits.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2008
A Miracle Indeed
This first in the Mitford Series was perhaps the best out of all the ones I enjoyed reading. How does Jan do it I often wonder as I ponder all the marvelous morsels about life in her fabulous stories? Eloquently written by a grand wordsmith and storyteller for sure! The reader is taken through a labyrinth of 24 chapters filled to the brim with surprises and page-turning excitement. I will definitely stay tuned in this genre for entertainment and thought-provoking reading. You can expect the unexpected......Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.