Welcome to Mitford, North Carolina where the hills are green, the air is clean and the people are downright neighborly. This is the home of Father Tim, a late-middle-aged bachelor Episcopal priest who is somewhat unsatisfied with himself and his calling. In his search for a more meaningful life, Father Tim is about to get more than he ever bargained for – a new dog, a new neighbor and lots of new challenges – all of which will make Father Tim’s life better and richer than he could possibly have imagined.
Bubby: I have loved the Mitford books since they first came out, back in 1996. They are ALWAYS clean, uplifting and entertaining – rare qualities in books these days. I love the characters – they are well drawn and really feel like friends right from the beginning.
Sissy: I too have enjoyed Jan Karon’s Father Tim series, although I could only read two in a row and then I would have to give myself a break and then come back and read more. Mitford sounds like an idyllic town but having lived in small towns myself, I know that there are downsides as well. Father Tim has to deal with everybody knowing everybody’s business and everybody wanting to know his – especially all the middle-aged single women. I do love Father Tim.
Bubby: You know, it’s been quite a while since I’ve read this book but the characters have stuck with me the whole time. First there is Emma Garrett, Father Tim’s nosy but loving secretary. I’d love to meet this woman. She sounds like an Episcopalian version of my dearly departed Aunt Hermoine. Loud, sassy, brassy and fabulous! Then there is the new neighbor, Cynthia. Oh how Father Tim wants to dislike this woman! And we can’t forget little Dooley, the boy who needs lots of love and care and has nowhere to turn but to Father Tim. And Esther – the lady who bakes the fantastic orange marmalade cakes.
Sissy: Father Tim, in case you wondered, is an Episcopalian priest, ( in case you didn’t catch that in the synopsis) and therefore allowed to have romance and marriage. His quirky relationship with new neighbor Cynthia is fun to watch unfold. I was surprised when I saw reviews from people who don’t like this series– they accused it of being too “nice,” or “unexciting,” or too “non-cerebral.” While I agree that this is not the stuff of Oprah’s book club or of the Hunger Games excitement league, sometimes its nice to read about good, wholesome people doing good things. And these characters do have unique quirks and endearing traits a-plenty.
Bubby: I also saw comments saying that Jan Karon’s writing isn’t realistic or true-to-life and has too much “religious content”. Hallelujah! I find that real life is either not very interesting or way too painful or dramatic! I don’t want real life in my reading – I want something that makes me happy, that has a good ending and that spiffs up my day. Jan Karon’s Mitford series does that in spades. And who reads a book about a priest without expecting to run into a scripture or two? It’s good for you. Trust me. The series isn’t static, either. Even though our main character is an older gentleman, he still goes through the whole gamut of emotions and experiences, from love to fatherhood, sorrow and joy. It’s all there.
Sissy: Yes! And who says that just because you’re in your 50’s that means life is over and you’re all washed up and crinkled?
Bubby: Actually . . .
Sissy: I am not done. Who says that just because your jowls are sagging you don’t still need love? Love, romance, excitement, adventure? Who says you don’t still have the same feelings you had in your 20’s? You’re just a little bit wiser.
Bubby: And . . .
Sissy: Not done yet. And when you are in your 50’s, you know who you are and you have half your life left to get it right. That’s why I like Father Tim and Cynthia. I get tired of these perky little 20 and 30 year olds running around acting like they are the only ones who are important.
Bubby: *Raising hand* Can I speak now, Sissy? Or are you STILL not done?
Sissy: No one has to worry about you not getting your say in, Bubby. I’ve never worried about that our whole life!
Bubby: I’ll take that as a yes. I was trying to agree with you, dear one (not that you actually have ANY first-hand knowledge about being in your 50’s.) We review a lot of Young Adult fiction here and it’s refreshing to have an older protagonist for a change. Give At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon a read – or a re-read in my case. You’ll feel all warm and happy inside when you’re done! 4 bubbles.
Sissy: Father Tim and company get 4 bubbles from me as well. Take that, you young whippersnappers! You kids get off my lawn!
Click HERE to buy At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon from Amazon.com
Click HERE to buy At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon from BookDepository.com
©Bubble Bath Books 2013
We LOVE LOVE LOVE comments – let us know what you think! Just hit reply below.
When Lance Michelli’s grandmother sends him on a quest to uncover forgotten family secrets, he ends up at a villa in Sonoma, CA. He needs answers, but the villa is now owned by Rese Barret, a young woman who wants nothing to do with Lance or his mission. At first adversaries, a fierce attraction brings them closer together as they begin to uncover a mystery that has been hidden for decades.
Bubby: This is a great love story. An added bonus for me was that great Italian cooking is featured prominently all the way through. No recipes, though. Too bad. The characters here are very dynamic – Lance and Rese go through lots of growth, both personally and in their relationships with others.
Sissy: Growth, schmowth! I wanted to slap Rese upside the head because it took her so long to behave like I wanted her to behave. Plus, I was confused at first as to whether they were in Italy or California. And when books talk about food all the time, all I want to do is eat.
Bubby: Schmowth? Is that even a word? Sissy forgets all the issues that Rese had to overcome. I did want her to move it along a bit faster, but it all turned out great. Or maybe not. Read it and find out! And just to clear up any confusion, the book begins in New York, goes to Italy for a bit and ends up in California.
Sissy: I enjoyed the book enough to purchase the second and third installments in the series. Bubby also forgot to mention the delicious historical mystery that lurks within the pages. I still want to slap Rese in the head.
Bubby: What kind of person goes around wanting to slap people in the head all the time? Now I can’t remember what else I was going to say about the book.
Sissy: Come on, Bubby, I’m the one in the menopausal haze! What about the skeletons? Secret passageways? Hidden treasure?
Bubby: Not to mention The Mob, a few wacky friends, and a loud dysfunctional family. Wait, are we talking about the book or our last family reunion? All joking aside, this is a great read. I really got drawn into the story and couldn’t wait to see how it all turned out.
Sissy: Definitely read this book. I give it 3.5 bubbles.
Bubby: Yep. 3.5 bubbles from me too.
Click HERE to buy Secrets (The Michelli Family Series #1) by Kristen Heitzmann at Amazon.com
Click HERE to buy Secrets (The Michelli Family Series #1) by Kristen Heitzmann at BookDepository.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2012