Any fans of The Mitford Books out there? If you haven’t heard or read any of Jan Karon’s books, you may be pleasantly surprised!
This series of books by Jan Karon follows the life of Father Tim, an Episcopal priest living in a small town in North Carolina. In the first book, At Home in Mitford, we meet many of the citizens of this small town, especially the congregants of Lord’s Chapel. Miss Sadie, an octogenarian is an especial delight. She has found an old painting in her attic of Mary and baby Jesus that she wants to donate to the church to be hung on the wall. Then one of the church board members thinks the painting was done by the famous Veneer, and things get a little crazy. On top of that their church bells that have been on order from England continue to be delayed, a Buick of a dog has attached himself to the priest, and Father Tim finds himself in charge of a young boy. Dooley Barlowe is the grandson of the church sexton who is incapacitated. In the midst of all this a charming and very pretty children’s author moves in next door to the rectory.
Visit Mitford again in A Light in the Window. Dooley continues to live with Father Tim. He and Cynthia begin to find their way toward each other. An Irish cousin Tim doesn’t recall meeting, though he met so many who could keep track, arrives to take up residence in his guest room.
The next book in the series to read is up to you. When I originally read the books These High Green Hills was next, and is in publishing order but after she had written the first four books Jan Karon went back and filled in Tim and Cynthia’s wedding story with A Common Life so when I reread the series now, as I do almost yearly, I read this book third. The final book of the original four is Out to Canaan in which Father Tim announces his retirement to the consternation of it seems the entire village even those people who are not members of Lord’s Chapel.
Tim and Cynthia are off on the adventure of retirement as he is sent to fill the post of parish priest on a little island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Whitecap in A New Song. I admit to being worried about no longer keeping up with all the wonderful characters back in Mitford, but my fears were laid to rest as the rector and his wife get letters and phone calls from home while also meeting and tending to the needs of a new flock.
Home for three years from Whitecap in the book In This Mountain, Father Tim has become dissatisfied with his life in retirement and his diabetes seems to be one of the biggest thorns in his side. Cynthia however is blossoming as her career as a children’s author and illustrator seems to just keep growing. Tragedy strikes though and leaves Tim even further in the pit of despair. What will it take to find his way out?
Christmas is coming to Mitford and Father Tim is seeking the perfect gift for Cynthia in Shepherds Abiding.
The final book of the Mitford years, Light From Heaven, finds Tim and Cynthia spending a year on Meadowbrook farm, house sitting while their friends Hal and Marge Owen are off to Europe. It also brings the Father a challenge and with it a unique helper.
While this may be the last of the Mitford books it is not the last the Kavanaughs they return in the Father Tim books. Jan Karon has also written other books based in or around this series including a cookbook, Patches of Godlight: Father Tim’s Favorite Quotes, written as if it is Father Tim’s own journal, The Mitford Snowmen a short Christmas story bound in a great little gift sized book, A Continual Feast another of Father Tim’s journals, The Mitford Bedside Companion, and Ester’s Gift, another gift sized short Christmas story.