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A Common Life: The Wedding Story (Mitford Series #6) [NOOK Book]

Overview

The sixth novel in the beloved Mitford series, by the bestselling author of At Home in Mitford and Somebody Safe with Somebody Good

Laughter and wedding bells ring as Jan Karon takes her millions of fans back in time to the most cherished event in Mitford! Mitford's Lord's Chapel seats barely two hundred souls, yet millions of Jan Karon's fans will be there for the most joyful event in years: the wedding of Father Tim Kavanagh and Cynthia ...
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A Common Life: The Wedding Story (Mitford Series #6)

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Overview

The sixth novel in the beloved Mitford series, by the bestselling author of At Home in Mitford and Somebody Safe with Somebody Good

Laughter and wedding bells ring as Jan Karon takes her millions of fans back in time to the most cherished event in Mitford! Mitford's Lord's Chapel seats barely two hundred souls, yet millions of Jan Karon's fans will be there for the most joyful event in years: the wedding of Father Tim Kavanagh and Cynthia Coppersmith. Here at last is A Common Life, and the long-awaited answers to these deeply probing questions: Will Father Tim fall apart when he takes his vows? Will Cynthia make it to the church on time? Who'll arrange the flowers and bake the wedding cake? And will Uncle Billy's prayers for a great joke be answered in time for the reception?

All the beloved Mitford characters will be there: Dooley Barlowe, Miss Sadie and Louella, Emma Newland, the mayor; in short, everybody who's anybody in the little town with the big heart.

A Common Life is the perfect gift for Mother's Day, Father's Day, anniversaries, and for a bride or groom to give to his or her beloved. In truth, it's perfect for anyone who believes in laughter, relies on hope, and celebrates love.







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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
With A Common Life: The Wedding Story, Jan Karon fills in some of the blanks in her much-loved series about the fictional village of Mitford, set in the hill country of North Carolina. Now fans can learn the behind-the-scenes skinny on the marriage of Father Tim Kavanaugh to his next-door neighbor, Cynthia, an event that occurred unseen between books earlier in the series. With her typical folksy style and country ear, Karon treats her readers to the many personalities -- oddball, normal, and everything in between -- who become involved in the planning and implementation of the nuptials. In addition to Karon's delightful characterizations, one of the great strengths behind this popular series is the extraordinary appeal of the ordinary minutiae in these villagers' lives. And there are plenty of entertaining details to be had here, from anxieties over who will bake the cake to the substance of the premarital counseling. (Beth Amos)
Bookpage
Taking her readers back in time, Karon describes of one of the most anticipated weddings in literary history.
Roanoke Times
Readers will eat this up with a spoon and ask for more.
Wall Street Journal
...although [Ms. Karon's] books are full of wry humor, she is serious about providing...[an] alternative to the "murder and mayhem" that dominate mass culture.
Dallas Morning News
This new book is an occasionally hilarious, frequently moving story about well-defined people...with whom we can be completely comfortable.
Wisconsin State Journal
Karon's reputation is for writing nice stories about nice people.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fans of Mitford, Karon's delightful fictional village in western North Carolina, will be thrilled with this newest installment, which relates an episode she skipped over in her earlier books: Father Tim and Cynthia's wedding. (He proposed at the end of the second Mitford book, and at the beginning of the third, they were already happily married.) Finally, readers get to see the stunned expressions of most Mitford residents when they hear Father Tim has actually popped the question. Readers learn about Cynthia's anxieties over the pending nuptials, share Esther Bolick's delight when Cynthia asks her to bake her famous orange marmalade cake and hum along as the Lord's Chapel parish belts out "Praise my soul the King of Heaven" at the ceremony. And as usual, Karon works in a few snippets of convincing mountain dialect. While Mitford die-hards will welcome this installment, however, the unconverted won't find much to bring them around; one has to already know Karon's eccentric characters, with all their foibles, to fully appreciate the book. Even Mitford devotees may be a touch disappointed that the trademark lessons about Christian faith that Karon weaves so seamlessly into most of her tales are more or less absent from this slim volume. (When they do appear, they stick out, as when Bishop Cullen pointedly discusses the role of sex in Christian marriage.) Still, don't be surprised if Mitford fans begin serving orange marmalade cake at their weddings, and sing hymn 410 at every opportunity. (Apr. 9) Forecast: Fresh from her 2000 Christy and ECPA Gold Medallion Awards for A New Song (book five), Karon keeps rolling along with the Mitford series. This book will no doubt please the thousands of fans who have written to Karon, asking, "Why weren't we invited to the wedding?" Six weeks before its release, the novel was hovering around the #100 position on Amazon. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Karon's sixth book about the small town of Mitford, NC, tells the story of the long-awaited wedding of Father Tim Kavanagh and his neighbor Cynthia Coppersmith. Tim, at 62, has never been married, whereas Cynthia's first marriage was not a success. However, their need to be together overcomes their fears of the unknown. With remarkable innocence, they plan the myriad details and navigate the dangerous waters of political correctness in their selections of providers of cake, music, and honeymoon cottages. In relating this tale, read with style and grace by Dana Ivey, Karon captures the reactions of all the principal residents of Mitford. She also captures the feelings of excitement, nostalgia, love, loss, and new beginnings thatcause people to cry at weddings, to feel the emotional upheaval of this radical change in lifestyle, and to participate in the euphoric cloud that surrounds the bride and groom before the nuptials and as wedded life begins. Recommended. Joanna M. Burkhardt, Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Providence Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Father Timothy Kavanagh is about to marry his winsome neighbor Cynthia Coppersmith, and all of Mitford (A New Song, 1999, etc.) is abuzz. Such goings-on! So many exclamation points! Emma Newland, Father Timothy's long-suffering secretary at the Chapel of our Lord and Savior, still isn't quite sure she approves of his late-in-life romance, but she'll do anything for the man. As will Puny Guthrie, his housekeeper, an energetic country woman who's equally devoted to him. So much to do! Hessie Mayhew, the busiest of the bees, swipes flowers to decorate the church and altar-with the tacit permission of the understanding townsfolk. Why, they weren't going to use those masses of hydrangeas anyway! Should Miss Sadie's bosom friend Louella wear lavender or blue? Should Esther Bolick add buttercream roses to the top of her famous orange marmalade tiered cake? Will Dooley Barlowe, the father's troubled ward, sing clear and true, or will his adolescent voice crack? Author Karon stirs up a tempest in a very tiny teapot for this joyous occasion as the lion and the lamb, the Presbyterian and Episcopalian, join hands, paws, whatever, to ensure that the great day goes off without a hitch. But when the pews fill and all await the blushing bride-she doesn't show. What can the matter be? Father Tim dashes home to find Cynthia accidentally locked in the bedroom. In a jiffy, he pops the fallen doorknob back in, frees her, and off they go, scurrying madly to get to the church on time, strewing hair curlers like rose petals along their path. And the ceremony begins . . . . A slight story indeed, filled with pious twittering about the joys and responsibilities of Christian marriage. And that's notall. Pages andpages are devoted to effusive prayers, hymns, even a word-for-word replay of the wedding ceremony. Not exactly a mainstream book, but fans of the Mitford series won't mind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101548486
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/26/2002
  • Series: Mitford Series , #6
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 27,290
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Jan Karon

Jan Karon, born Janice Meredith Wilson in the foothills of North Carolina, was named after the title of a popular novel, Janice Meredith.



Jan wrote her first novel at the age of ten. "The manuscript was written on Blue Horse notebook paper, and was, for good reason, kept hidden from my sister. When she found it, she discovered the one curse word I had, with pounding heart, included in someone's speech. For Pete's sake, hadn't Rhett Butler used that very same word and gotten away with it? After my grandmother's exceedingly focused reproof, I've written books without cussin' ever since."



Several years ago, Karon left a successful career in advertising to move to the mountain village of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and write books. "I stepped out on faith to follow my lifelong dream of being an author," she says. "I made real sacrifices and took big risks. But living, it seems to me, is largely about risk."



Enthusiastic booksellers across the country have introduced readers of all ages to Karon's heartwarming books. At Home in Mitford, Karon's first book in the Mitford series, was nominated for an ABBY by the American Booksellers Association in 1996 and again in 1997. Bookstore owner, Shirley Sprinkle, says, "The Mitford Books have been our all-time fiction bestsellers since we went in business twenty-five years ago. We've sold 10,000 of Jan's books and don't see any end to the Mitford phenomenon."

Biography

Jan Karon, born Janice Meredith Wilson in the foothills of North Carolina, was named after the title of a popular novel, Janice Meredith.

Jan wrote her first novel at the age of ten. "The manuscript was written on Blue Horse notebook paper, and was, for good reason, kept hidden from my sister. When she found it, she discovered the one curse word I had, with pounding heart, included in someone's speech. For Pete's sake, hadn't Rhett Butler used that very same word and gotten away with it? After my grandmother's exceedingly focused reproof, I've written books without cussin' ever since."

Several years ago, Karon left a successful career in advertising to move to the mountain village of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and write books. "I stepped out on faith to follow my lifelong dream of being an author," she says. "I made real sacrifices and took big risks. But living, it seems to me, is largely about risk."

Enthusiastic booksellers across the country have introduced readers of all ages to Karon's heartwarming books. At Home in Mitford, Karon's first book in the Mitford series, was nominated for an ABBY by the American Booksellers Association in 1996 and again in 1997. Bookstore owner, Shirley Sprinkle, says, "The Mitford Books have been our all-time fiction bestsellers since we went in business twenty-five years ago. We've sold 10,000 of Jan's books and don't see any end to the Mitford phenomenon."

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Janice Meredith Wilson
    2. Hometown:
      Blowing Rock, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lenoir, North Carolina

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Proposal

Father Timothy Kavanagh stood at the stone wall on the ridge above Mitford, watching the deepening blush of a late June sunset.

He conceded that it wasn't the worst way to celebrate a birthday, though he'd secretly hoped to celebrate it with Cynthia. For years, he'd tried to fool himself that his birthday meant very little or nothing, and so, if no cards appeared, or cake or presents, that would be fine.

Indeed, there had been no card from Cynthia, though he'd received a stack from his parishioners, and certainly she'd given no promise of cake or candles that definitively pronounced, This is it, Timothy, the day you appeared on earth, and though I know you don't really care about such things, we're going to celebrate, anyway, because you're important to me. He was deeply ashamed to admit that he'd waited for this from her; in truth, had expected it, hoped for it.

He'd known suffering in his thirty-eight years in the priesthood, though nearly always because of someone else's grief or affliction. Now he suffered for himself, for his maddening inability to let his walls down with her, to cast off his armor and simply and utterly love her. He had pled with God to consume his longing and his love, to cast it out as ashes and let nothing interfere with the fulfillment of the vows he'd made years ago as an ordinand. Why should such a flame as this beat up in him now? He was sixty-two years old, he was beyond loving in the flesh! And yet, as desperately as he'd prayed for his longing to be removed, he craved for it to be satisfied.

He remembered the times she had shut herself away from him, guarding her heart. The loss of her ravishing openness had left him cold as a stone, as if a great cloud had gone over the sun.

What if she were to shut herself away from him once and for all? He paced beside the low stone wall, forgetting the sunset over the valley.

He'd never understood much about his feelings toward Cynthia, but he knew and understood this: He didn't want to keep teetering on the edge, afraid to step forward, terrified to turn back.

The weight on his chest was palpable; he'd felt it often since she moved next door and into his life. Yet it wasn't there because he loved her, it was there because he was afraid to love her completely.

Perhaps he would always have such a weight; perhaps there was no true liberation in love. And certainly he could not ask her to accept him as he was-flawed and frightened, not knowing.

He sank to his knees by the stone wall, and looked up and opened his mouth to speak, but instead caught his breath sharply.

A great flow of crimson and gold was spilling across the sky like lava, running molten from west to east. He watched, awestruck, as the pyre consumed the blue haze of the firmament and bathed the heavens with a glory that shook and moved him to his very depths.

"Please!" he whispered.

It was then that he felt a sensation of warmth welling in him, a kind of liquid infilling he'd never experienced before. Something in his soul lifted up, as startling as a covey of quail breaking from the underbrush, and his heart acknowledged, suddenly and finally, that his love for her could not, would not be extinguished. He knew at last that no amount of effort, no amount of pleading with God would enable him to sustain any longer the desperate, wounding battle he had launched against loving her.

In a way he couldn't explain, and in the space of the merest instant, he knew he'd come fully awake for the first time in his life.

He also knew that he wanted nothing more than to be with her, at her side, and that after all the wasted months, he couldn't afford to waste another moment. But what if he'd waited too long, come to his senses too late?

He sprang to his feet, as relieved as if he'd shaken off an approaching illness; then, animated by a power not his own, he found himself running.

"There comes a time," his cousin Walter had said, "when there's no turning back." He felt the motion of his legs and the breeze on his skin and the hammering in his temples, as if he might somehow implode, all of it combusting into a sharp inner flame, a durable fire, a thousand hosannas.

Streaming with sweat, he raced down Old Church Lane and into the cool green enclosure of Baxter Park, his body as weightless as a glider borne on wings of ether, though his heart was heavy with dread. She could have gone away as she'd done before . . . and this time, she might never come back.

The dark silhouette of the hedge separating the park from Cynthia's house and the rectory appeared far away, another country, a landmark he might never reach.

As he drew closer, he saw that her house was dark, but his own was aglow with light in every window, as if some wonderful thing might be happening.

He bounded through the hedge; she was standing on his stoop. She held the door open, and the light from the kitchen gleamed behind her.

She stood there as if she'd known the very moment he turned into the park and, sensing the urgency of his heart, felt her own compelled to greet it.

He ran up the steps, his chest heaving, as she stepped back and smiled at him. "Happy birthday!" she said.

"I love you, Cynthia!" His lungs seemed to force the declaration onto the night air as if by their own will. He stood with his mouth open, marveling, while she raised her hand to her cheek in a way that made her appear dubious, somehow, or amused.

Did she think him mad? He felt mad, riotous, he wanted to climb on the roof, baying and whooping-a sixtysomething bachelor priest, mad with love for his next-door neighbor.

He didn't consider the consequences of this wild skidding out of control; it was now or never.

As she backed into the kitchen, he followed. He saw the cake on the breakfast table and the card propped against a vase of flowers, and he fell to one knee beside the table and gathered her hands in his.

"Will you?" he croaked, looking up at her.

"Will I what, dearest?"

"You know."

"No, I don't know."

He knew that she knew; why wouldn't she help him with this thing?

He was perfectly willing to bring the other knee down if only she would help him. And why was he crouching here on the linoleum, sweating like a prizefighter, when he might have been dressed in his best suit and doing this in the study, or in the Lord's Chapel garden by the French roses?

He tried to scramble to his feet and run upstairs, where he would take a shower and brush his teeth and get dressed and do this the right way, but his strength failed and he found he couldn't move; he might have been glued to the linoleum, one knee up and one knee down, frozen as a herring.

"Hurry, Timothy!" she said, whispering.

"Will you marry me?"

"Yes! A thousand times yes!"

She was helping him to his feet, and then he was kissing her and she was kissing him back. She drew away and looked at him with a kind of awe; he found her radiance dumbfounding. "I thought you'd never ask," she said.

It was done. He had jumped over the barbed wire.

He buried his face in her hair and held her close and bawled like a baby.

***

He was a muddle of happiness and confusion, as if his brain had been stirred like so much porridge. He was unable to think straight or put one thought logically after another; he felt the magnitude of the thing he'd done, and knew he should do something to carry through, though he wasn't sure what.

They had sat on his sofa, talking until three in the morning, but not once had they mentioned what they would do today; they had talked only about how they felt and how mindlessly happy and grateful they were that this astonishing benediction should come to them, as a wild bird might come to their outstretched palms.

"To have and to hold," she had murmured.

"'Til death do us part," he had said, nuzzling her hair.

"And no organizing of church suppers or ironing of fair linens, and positively nothing to do with the annual Bane and Blessing."

"Right," he said.

"Ever!" she said.

He hadn't a single rule or regulation to foist upon her; he was chopped liver, he was cooked macaroni; he was dragged into the undertow of the great tsunami of love he'd so long held back.

They had prayed together, at last, and fallen asleep on the sofa, her head on his shoulder, his head against hers, bookends, then waked at five and scrambled to the back door, where Cynthia kissed him and darted through the hedge, devoutly hoping not to be seen.

He'd bounded up the stairs to his room with a vigor that amazed him, murmuring aloud a quote from Wordsworth:

"'Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!'"

Bliss, yes, as if he'd suddenly become lighter than air, as if the stone were at last rolled away from the tomb. He thought he might spring upward like a jack-in-the-box. Was any of this familiar to him, had he ever felt it before? Never! Nothing in his supposed love for Peggy Cramer, all those years ago, had prepared him for this.

In a misting summer rain, he headed for the church office at nine o'clock with Barnabas on the red leash.

He should tell Emma, he supposed, who had served him faithfully for nearly thirteen years. And Puny, the best house help a man could ever have, Puny would want to know.

He could see them both, Emma wincing and frowning, then socking him on the arm with approval, and Puny-she would jump up and down and hoot and shout, and great tears would stream down her freckled cheeks. Then she'd go at once and bake a cake of cornbread from which he, due to his blasted diabetes, might have one unbuttered, albeit large, slice.

Aha! And there was Miss Sadie, of course! Wouldn't her eyes sparkle and gleam, and wouldn't she hug his neck for a fare-thee-well?

And wouldn't Louella break out a coconut cake or a chess pie and wouldn't they have a party right there in the kitchen at Fernbank?

On the other hand, wasn't Cynthia supposed to be along when he broke the news to everybody?

He sighed. He was in the very business of life's milestones, including the occasional overseeing of engagements, yet he seemed to have forgotten everything he ever knew -- if, indeed, he ever knew anything.

Besides, he wasn't sure he was up for hooting and hollering and being punched in the arm or any of the other stuff that usually came with such tidings.

Then there was J.C. And Mule. And Percy.

Good Lord, he dreaded that encounter like a toothache. All that backslapping and winking and cackling, and the word spreading through the Grill like so much wildfire, and spilling out the door and up Main Street and around the monument to Lew Boyd's Exxon....

He felt his stomach do a kind of dive, as it always did when he took off or landed in a plane.

If Barnabas hadn't suddenly jerked the leash, he would have walked straight into a telephone pole outside the Oxford Antique Shop.

Bottom line, he decided, Dooley Barlowe should be the first to know. And it was clearly right that they tell Dooley together. He was frankly relieved that Dooley had spent the night at Tommy's and hadn't been there to see him skid through the back door and drop to his knee. Not a pretty sight, he was sure of it.

He could just see the face of his thirteen-year-old charge when he heard the news. The boy would flush with embarrassment or relief, or both, then laugh like a hyena. He would very likely exclaim, Cool! then race upstairs with a joy that he dare not freely display.

Still, telling anyone at all seemed hotheaded and premature. This was between Cynthia and himself; it was their secret. It was somehow marvelous that it was yet unknown to anyone else in the world.

At the corner, he stopped at a hemlock to let Barnabas lift his leg, and suddenly knew he couldn't contain the secret any longer, he was full to bursting with it.

"Make it snappy," he said to his dog. "I have something to tell you."

Barnabas did as he was told, and when they crossed the street, the rector of the Chapel of our Lord and Savior paused in front of the church office and said under his breath, "I've just decided...that is, Cynthia and I are going to get..."

His throat tickled. He coughed. A car passed, and he tried again to tell his dog the good news.

But he couldn't say it.

He couldn't say the m word, no matter how hard he tried.

***

As he opened the office door, he realized with complete clarity where he should begin.

His bishop. Of course. How could he have forgotten he had a bishop, and that such a thing as this thing he was going to do would be of utmost importance to Stuart Cullen?

But, of course, he couldn't call Stuart this morning, because Emma Newland would be sitting at her desk cheek-by-jowl with his own.

He greeted his longtime, part-time secretary as Barnabas collapsed with a sigh onto his rug in the corner.

Desperate to avoid eye contact, he sat down at once and began to scribble something, he knew not what, into his sermon notebook.

Emma stared at him over her half-glasses.

He put his left elbow on the desk and held his head in his hand, as if deeply thoughtful, feeling her hot stare covering him like a cloak.

Blast, he couldn't bear that look. She might have been examining his tonsils or readying him for colon surgery.

"For heaven's sake," he said, swiveling around in his squeaking chair to face the bookcases.

"I'd leave heaven out of this if I were you," she said, sniffing.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I mean, I can't imagine heaven wantin' anything to do with you this morning."

Church secretaries had been fired for less, much less, he thought, grinding his teeth. The office was suddenly doing that bizarre thing it sometimes did-it was growing rapidly and infinitely smaller; it was, in fact, becoming the size of a shoe box.

He bolted to his feet and half stood behind his desk, trying to get a deep breath. "Your collar's too tight," she said.

"How do you know?"

"Your face is red as a beet."

"It's possible that I'm having a heart attack," he snapped.

"I'm telling you it's your collar. Are you wearin' one of those Velcro deals?"

"Yes."

"Let it out a little."

Dadgummit, she was right. He realized he was nearly choking to death. He adjusted the Velcro, disgusted with himself and everybody else.

What had happened to the soft, circumcised heart God had given him only last night? Where had the lighter-than-air spirit of this morning fled? Why was he grumping and grouching when he ought to be leaping and shouting?

Barnabas yawned and rolled on his side.

"I'm getting married!" he blurted uncontrollably. Then he sat down, hard, in his chair.

***

He would never be able to explain the mysteries surrounding love, only one of which surfaced when he confessed his news to Emma.

By the involuntary utterance of those three amazing words, his frozen Arctic tundra had been transformed into a warm tropical lake. Something in him had actually melted.

In the space of a few moments, he had become jelly. Or possibly custard. Then a foolish smile spread across his face, which seemed destined to remain there for the rest of his life.

***

When Emma left for the post office, vowing not to say a word to anyone, he prayed at his desk, went to the toilet and did a glucometer check, then positively swaggered to the phone to call his bishop.

Stuart's secretary said he was either in the loo or in a meeting, she wasn't sure which, but she would find out and have him call back.

He slumped in the chair, disappointed.

But wait. Walter! Of course, he must call Walter and Katherine at once.

The names of those with special interest in his good fortune were being revealed to him, one by one, in the way some are given inspiration for their Christmas card list.

Since Cynthia had never met Walter, his first cousin and only known living relative, he supposed he was on his own for spilling the beans to New Jersey.

"Walter!"

"Cousin! We haven't heard from you in the proverbial coon's age."

"Which phone are you on?" asked the rector.

"The kitchen. Why?"

"Is Katherine there?"

"Just blew in from the nursing home, she's teaching them to finger paint. What's up, old fellow?"

"Tell her to get on the phone in the study."

"Katherine!" bellowed Walter. "Pick up in the study! It's clergy!"

"'Lo, Teds, darling, is that really you?" He could see the tall, thin-as-a-stick Katherine draped over the plaid chaise, with the cordlessin one hand and her eternal glass of ginger ale in the other.

"Katherine, Walter," he said. "Are you sitting down?"

"Good heavens, what is it?" asked Walter, clearly alarmed.

"Teds...those tests you were going to have weeks ago...is it...?"

"Dooley, is it Dooley?" asked Walter. "Or Barnabas? We know how you feel about --"

"I'm getting married," he said.

There! Twice in a row, and already it was getting easier.

The other end of the line erupted into a deafening whoop that could have filled Yankee Stadium. He held the receiver away from his ear, laughing for the first time this morning, as Barnabas leapt from the rug and stood barking furiously at the clamor pouring forth from New Jersey.

***

When Stuart hadn't called back in twenty minutes, he phoned again and was put through to the bishop's office.

"Stuart? Tim Kavanagh here. Are you sitting down?" He was truly concerned that no one go crashing to the floor in a faint.

"For the first time today, actually! What's up?"

"Remember the woman I once brought to visit you and Martha?" That wasn't what he wanted to say. "When we, ah, gave you the bushel of corn? Cynthia! You remember...."

"I remember very well, indeed!"

"Well, you see, it's like this...." He swallowed.

He heard his bishop chuckling. "Like what, Timothy?"

"Like..."

He was momentarily frozen again, then the custard triumphed.

"...we're getting married!"

"Alleluia!" shouted his bishop. "Alleluia!"

Tears sprang suddenly to his eyes. He had been friends with his bishop since seminary, had confided his heart to him for years. And now came this greatest confidence, this best and most extraordinary of tidings.

"Martha will be thrilled!" said Stuart, sounding as youthful as a curate. "We'll have you for dinner, we'll have you for tea...we'll do it up right! This is the best news I've heard in an eon. Good heavens, man, I thought you'd never screw up your courage. How on earth did it happen?"

"It just came to me that...well..."

"What came to you?"

"That I didn't want to go on without her, that I couldn't."

"Bingo!" said his bishop.

"I, ah, went down on one knee, couldn't help myself."

"You should have done the full kneel, Timothy, she's a prize, a gem, a pearl above price! You dog, you don't deserve such a one!"

"Amen!" He said it the old Baptist way, with a long a, the way he was raised to say it.

"Well, now, thanks be to God, what about a date?" asked Stuart.

"We're thinking September, I know that's a busy month for you, but..."

"Let's see, I have my calendar right here." Deep sigh, pondering. "Alas, alack." Stuart's fingers drumming on his desktop. "Good heavens, I'd forgotten about that. Hmmm. Ahh." Tuneless, unconscious humming. "No, certainly not then."

If Stuart couldn't do it, they'd get it done somehow, they were definitely not waiting 'til October....

"Oh, yes, look here! I've got September seventh, how's that? Otherwise, I can squeeze you in on --"

"I'm not much on being squeezed in," said the rector.

"Of course not! Will the seventh work for you, then?"

"We're willing to take whatever you have open."

"Then it's done!"

"Perfect!" said the rector.

"Now," said Stuart, "hang up so I can call Martha."

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2008

    Thoroughly Enjoyed It

    I loved this book--it had all those fun details that were glossed over earlier in the series. It was hilarious and interesting. However, going back in time after the characters in the series had developed so much was really confusing. This book would have been even better if Karon had written it in between books two and three. Still, a throughly enjoyable read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2004

    Back in Time

    At first I was confused about what I was reading and had to look at the cover of the book to check which number in the series that I was reading!!! I felt like I contributed to Ms. Karon's retirement fund, and I could use the money more than she! I'll continue with the 7th book in the series and hope that this doesn't happen again.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2001

    THIS IS WHAT I WAITED FOR?!

    I can't believe this is what I waited for for nearly two years and then finished it in two days. Definitely not up to par with the other Mitford books which I loved. This should have been the third book so it would have been in sequential order and at least made sense. Better yet, Jan Karon could just have skipped writing it all together and saved us all some money. What was the point anyway? I don't need to read a whole book about the wedding! I want to know what happens next in the story line. Come on Jan, please get back on track and I don't mean with those next two books about Father Tim's thoughts and hymns etc. and those goofy Mitford snowmen either ( where they come in I don't know- never heard of them before!) Please- continue the story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2013

    Should have been included in the major flow of the story

    This is mostly about Timothy and Cynthia getting married but goes into a lot more detail than when it was just mentioned in the other book. I love Jan Karon's writing, but think she should have put this in sequence and woven it into the other book and pushed out the material overflow to another book instead of writing this one. It almost looks like an afterthought on her part.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    ADVICE: Should be read between book #2 & #3

    My mother introduced me to Mitford right after the last book was written. Handing me her stack of books (in order), she pulled this book out and inserted it between #2 & #3. She insisted that the wedding story should be read between the proposal at the end of Light in the Window (#2) and an already married couple at the beginning of These High, Green Hills (#3). She said that it would keep me from getting confused the way she was.
    I guess fans were so sad to not be given any of the crazy details about the wedding that they flooded Jan Karon with the request, so she obliged.
    Even though it is her sixth novel, it should be considered novel 2.5.
    Hope this helps.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2009

    Very Romantic!

    This book beautifully describes various characters' experiences or thoughts concerning love, courtship and marriage all against the backdrop of Father Tim's marriage to Cynthia. You are likely to find at least one character that shares your perception of love and marriage in a touching way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2008

    disappointing

    I also looked to see what number this book was. Why didn't she just skip writing this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2008

    CONFUSED

    I too was very confused with this book & I too checked the number of the book thought for sure I had the wrong book. Was not at all happy with it, found it boring and was glad after I skimmed through it. Nothing like the others in the series. It was as if she needed #6 and had nothing to write & just through that old stuff together....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2003

    Loved it!

    I read the other reviews, and I have to disagree in a way. I loved getting to go back in time and pick up on some of the events that were alluded to but not disclosed to the reader in other books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2002

    The Fleet Is In!

    I have read all 32 reviews and comments. Everyone seemed pretty subdued in their criticism, so it makes me look like 'The Mad Hatter' in the group, but I say 'off with her head!' If we are going back in time - let's go back in price. I paid $13.00 (American!) for half the number of pages and one tenth of the quality. Don't get me wrong. I love this precious series. These characters are fascinating and I feel compelled to follow them. I have read and enjoyed every book, but 'A Common Life' was a classic rip off of the highest magnitude (well, of course, there was the whole Enron thing,and the whole crematorium thing, but let's move one!). Plus, with Sadie and Mr. Greer showing up again, it felt like 'Night of The Living Dead'! After an operation, my Dad once commented that his doctor must have needed to make a payment on his boat. Well, I think I see the fleet coming in - led by The USS Karon!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2001

    We want the story to continue

    I was a little nervous going back in time. Actually, I was a little surprised to find that I didn't mind it as much as I thought I would. But, I want Jan Karon to move on. I need another bit of Mitford. I read these books as slow as possible so they won't end. I love the characters and the town of Mitford. Give us another one Jan, soon please.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2001

    Not quite what I expected but good

    Like all of Jan's fans, I was hoping for a continuation of her Mitford stories rather than back-tracking but I still enjoyed this review of the wedding. Another series that is really good is Hickam's Coalwood series. Sky of Stone is the best yet. Mitford fans will love Coalwood. Lots of similarities and Hickam's writing is deeper and more colorful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2001

    Not up to Mitford par

    I have waited with great anticipation for the next Miford book - was surprised to learn we were going to go backward instead of forward - but hey I was game. Was so disappointed with Karon's latest book about Mitford. Yes, it had all the appropriate things, Dooley, Miss Sadie and all the hoopla but where was the story. Ms. Karon is a talented writer and the preceeding Mitford books were a joy in my life. Hopefully, she will get that edge back and go forward with some REAL stories of our beloved Mitford characters. Father Tim is not so far over the hill that lots of stories are yet to be told.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2001

    A Disappointment

    Having enjoyed the others so much, I was pleased to get the long awaited 'next' book. Then I was totally confused as I read about the wedding that had already taken place. It is a well written book, but the story line is a real disappointment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2001

    HUGE Disappointment

    I, like other Jan Karon fans, anxiously awaited the arrival of this book. I now actually resent having spent money on it, and the hour it took to read. The book lacked substance and any character development. Unlike her other books which bring many emotions out as I read them, this one left me feeling let down and actually angry. She's let her loyal readers down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2001

    Incredible Rip Off

    I thought that I was purchasing another new and exciting saga. What I purchased was a repeat version. I was throughly disappointed and felt like I had been ripped out to the financial benefit of the author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2001

    Disappointed Avid Fan

    As an 'avid' Mitford fan, I was disappointed with this book. I was expecting a 'new' episode in the lives of Father Tim, Cynthia and Dooley.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Enjoyed the book very much

    Felt like it was out of place in the series.

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  • Posted June 7, 2012

    I Highly recommend this book, I purchased the whole series and I enjoyed them.

    Jan Karon to my suprise wrote this series with feeling for the simple life, which sadly is gone forever. I highly recommend that you purchase the all the books in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2010

    This was a gift to another person.

    I had read this Jan Karon and many of her other Mitford Series;
    I enjoyed the characters and the settings.
    Had to share it with my daughter.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews

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