A Contemporary Look: At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon


           Father Tim, a cherished small-town rector, is the steadfast soldier in this beloved slice of life story set in an American village where the grass is still green, the pickets are still white, and the air still smells sweet. The rector's forthright secretary, Emma Garret, worries about her employer, as she sees past his Christian cheerfulness into his aching loneliness. Slowly but surely, the empty places in Father Tim's heart do get filled. First with a gangly stray dog, later with a seemingly stray boy, and finally with the realization that he is stumbling into love with his independent and Christian-wise next-door neighbor. Much more than a gentle love story, this is a homespun tale about a town of endearing characters -including a mysterious jewel thief.

         I am sure that most of you are familiar with this book, but I could not help posting about it. And I think that when you see this review, it will be like being reminded of a very good, old friend.
         All the books in this series, with this one first and the wedding story second are truly funny, warm, deep and filled with christian values. However, none of the next books in the series matches the magic of this first book, for me. Becasue it is in this book that you first enter the most charming town in the world, where people are good-natured, church-going, curious about their neighbours, and every one has a past, a present and a future.
         While I was reading, I completely forgot that it was all in a book and believed everything and everyone to be really there. I still do, actually. I think these are real people that I met and got to know once, and will visit them again when I pick the book up for the third time (I have already read it twice). They are quirky and humorous and sometimes irritating, but thoroughly endearing.
          What is quite original about this story is that the hero is Father Tim, a middle-aged Reverend with no family. He is not a typical romantic hero, and yet as a reader I found I could totally relate to him and the issues he has to deal with. At the beginning of the book he appears to be a bit discouraged and tired spiritually, and who hasn't been in this place? So, even if he isn't your typical young Prince Charming, the readers find themselves rooting for him very early in the book, and especially when he is about to win the "girl". That was refreshing.
         This was a very peaceful book, though not slow. Peaceful and pacifying. It's the place in the world I would love to live in and the kind of people I would love to meet.

    Rating: 5/5
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