I was slow in getting on the band wagon for the original Mitford novels about Father Tim Kavanagh, his late in life marriage, his adopted son, and his love for the unique people of his congregation. When I did start reading them, it was a joy to follow from one novel to another. All the subsequent novels I've read about pastors and their congregants or other quiet small town novels have been compared to Karon's works. When Father Tim retired (last book in the original series) I again got behind and did not read HOME TO HOLLY SPRINGS until most other fans had already read it. And I am quite sure that I never got around to reading the next book set in Ireland, but I will have to. When I saw that Karon will have a new book coming out soon, one in which young Dooley has finished vet school and is ready for marriage, I knew I better read SOMEWHERE SAFE WITH SOMEBODY GOOD, the book that precedes it. Father Tim and wife have returned from Ireland. Five years have passed since he retired and now he must adjust to life in Mitford as "civilians." What does a former pastor do with his time? How does he interact with those who were friends but also congregants? And when you're older, how do you accept change? Dooley is now the one giving Timothy advice, his old restaurant hang out is gone and now the guys are meeting at a coffee shop, and more. When the young bookstore owner is sent home on bedrest until her baby is born, Father Timothy steps in to run the shop one day a week. And when Dooley's brother Sammy seems to be upsetting his landlady and the community with his quick temper and foolish behavior, the former pastor has to reach deep for a way to connect with the young man.
Like all the Jan Karon novels, I love the quiet, yet substantial plots. Faith is shown through action, not speeches or lectures. And Christ's love rises up on every page in everyday acts of caring for one's fellowman. If you want a lesson in how to love your neighbor, read a Jan Karon book. Plus the people are so unique -- meet Coot Hendrick who after years of caring for his aged mother finally is able to learn to read or Esther, who has made a deal to let the bakery start making her famous Orange Marmalade Cake, but just can't let go of her precious recipe. If you have never been to Mitford on your reading travels, why not start? You will have quite a lengthy journey, and will find there are troubles, and troubled people, but that's all right. You will find joy and good deeds there also. And if you are like me, and you've met Father Tim, Cynthia, Dooley and the animals, but have not visited in a while, get caught up, why don't you? I am ready now for COME RAIN OR COME SHINE which releases next week. I already have my name on the holds list for our library system. If you're looking for a particular Karon book to read, why don't you check your library system? Most libraries have her books and I read SOMEWHERE SAFE WITH SOMEBODY GOOD as an ebook download from WPLC, the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium. They also have the book in audio format.