Customer Reviews for

At Home in Mitford (Mitford Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 19 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

6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

What?

This book is so unorganized! It jumps from thought to thought, to the point that I feel like I have skipped a page. The story might have been cute if it didn't feel totally out of place in it's setting (think Irish Country Village set in small town America) I think I'l...
This book is so unorganized! It jumps from thought to thought, to the point that I feel like I have skipped a page. The story might have been cute if it didn't feel totally out of place in it's setting (think Irish Country Village set in small town America) I think I'll skip the rest of this series.

posted by DesignChick01 on October 3, 2012

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  • Posted July 11, 2014

    Recommend

    Simple lives, simple people living in simple town. A quirky entertaining read. Don't know if I,ll read the other books in this series.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Good reading but a little slow

    I only read three quarters the first book in this series. It was good reading, but just a little slow to the point that I did not finish it. I doubt that I will be reading the compete series.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2014

    A non offensive series but author does not quite know

    If this is a priest or a school teacher or about the anglo catholic church. the series becomes so fragmated that mitford is fabtasy and characters puppets. i keeo exopecting this to be an american Candleford and kept with it off and on only the dogsremains doggy buska

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2014

    Nice slightly fantasy series start

    but the writing disjointed and often very uneven. More like journal jottings than consistent like a thought for the day . it is difficult to bring any depth ofcharacter as all is superficial

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    Wonderful

    Completely charming and thoroughly entertaining.

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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2002

    A good one

    An endearing look at small town life. While the story is a bit slow in developing, I couldn't help but stick with it.

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