Customer Reviews for

At Home in Mitford (Mitford Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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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 13 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2000

    Marred by Divorce & Remarriage

    <P>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. <p>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. <P>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. <P>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. <P>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. <P>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. <P>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. <P>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

    8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2012

    An interesting look at small town life

    This a quaint walk through the life of an Episcopalian priest and the people of his parish. I am actually surprised at how much I am enjoying this book as it does not fit my normal choice of reading material, but I am very glad that I took the recommendation and picked it up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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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 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2005

    Truth in fiction

    If only life were as wonderfully involved as life in Mitford. To have people calling at your door, knowing what your car sounds like driving down the road, know the names of your children AND their ages.....Utopia. Mitford is about community and communing. Even 'Homeless' was not without a sense of this most important element. I look forward to reading the entire series and have already told all of my famiy and friends to seek this book out in stores and libraries. In the elecrtonic age our children are being raised in, this book gives insight as to what a community really is.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2003

    What I thought about At Home in Mitford

    I really enjoyed reading At Home in Mitford. After reading this book you feel like you know the people living in the Mitford. Mitford is just like a real, small town; everyone is in everyone else's business. Even though Mitford is small and quaint, there is quite a bit going on there. An old lady named Sadie Baxter is funding the building of a nursing home called Hope House, and Father Tim finds himself taking care of the sickly Russell Jack's grandson, Dooley Barlowe. Father Tim's house help Puny is dating a police officer named Joe Joe, and Father Tim finds himself attracted to his neighbor Cynthia Coppersmith. Whether its a missing dog or a case of Diabetes there is always something going on in Mitford and Father Tim's life. This is a great book and I strongly recommend it!

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