Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Mitford Stories

Well………this is a FIRST for me.

Promoting a series of books/stories on my blog. Oh, I did mention Thomas Faulkner’s books a couple of times, but not to the extent that I have planned for MITFORD.

As always, if something I write “turns you off”, or seems unsuitable or indecent, feel free to hit the “X” in the upper right corner of your screen.

Before you turn ME off, though, let me mention a couple of things about this series of cozy stories.

Confession: I never thought of myself as a “romantic” or “idealist”, but since another author called me that one time after I commented on a book, I guess I have to admit it. Not “mushy” now. (Funny - “mushy” is not in my dictionary) And nothing sexual, but I guess some love stories do brighten my day.

Not that this series is ALL romance. Not at all. It’s practical, inspirational, funny and enjoyable to read. I’ve laughed out loud any number of times reading these, (One time, I could hardly stop) and I have also shed some tears. The stories just “grab” you.

Charlotte Daggett, the mother of our daughter-in-law Joyce (Jim’s wife) first told me about these books. In fact, she has all nine that have been currently printed - and has lent them to me.

The small fictional town of Mitford, located in North Carolina, is the setting for most of these books - though some depart to other parts of the world.

The main character of the books has turned out to be an Episcopal Priest named Father Tim Kavanagh. Since so much is told about the town - and the “townspeople”, I didn’t right away see him as the main character. If one is a Christian, he could relate to the spiritual references Father Tim makes. Though, not being a Christian is no reason NOT to read the books. There are MANY “human life” stories in each of them.

Father Tim, when we first meet him, is a middle-aged, single, Church man. Neither a wife nor romance ever seems to reach him, UNTIL, suddenly, a middle-aged single woman moves in next door to the Rectory. That’s all I’m telling about that!

Buzzing through my mind now are dozens of “true-to-life” stories from the books.

Some of the characters are comical - including an unashamed old “joke teller”.

(At first, I related one of his funnier stories here, but when I re-read it, I thought, “Why not just let the readers find out for themselves!” So, I deleted it.)

There’s a lady Mayor; a restaurant owner; grocery store family; a gas station; a barber shop and beauty parlor in the town, etc. Some of the characters are profane - not in the dirty language sense - but secular and uninitiated.

On a prominent location at the edge of the city limits, is an elderly lady, in a “mansion”, up on a hill overlooking Mitford, who eventually shares her largesse with the rest of the town.

Even though Father Tim is single, uninterested and unencumbered, he takes an interest in a derelict teen-age boy - at present devoid of parents - and undertakes to “civilize” him and nurture him as a “surrogate” father.

While trying to understand his interest and dis-interest in his new next door neighbor, he takes a month-long trip to Ireland, to search out his roots.

All in all, it’s a wonderful series of wholesome stories that make the books “hard to put down”.

The author’s name in Jan Karon, and she presently lives in North Carolina. She has written other books as well. These, though, appear to be the ones for which she is most noted. They are published by Viking Press.

Though you might not be able to find the books in the order in which they are written, this is the order I would suggest:

At Home in Mitford
A Light in the Window
A Common Life*
These High Green Hills
Out to Canaan
A New Song
In This Mountain
Shepherds Abiding
Light From Heaven

* Though this is the sixth book written about Mitford, it should be read here as the third, chronologically in the story, in my opinion.

I very seldom recommend non-spiritual books to anyone, but these are so exceptional, that I do not hesitate. You will be enriched by reading them. Not to the exclusion of the bible, though.

My thanks to Charlotte Daggett for lending me the books!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've read most of the Mitford series. she has a new book "Home to Holly Springs" that I just finished. Father Tim returns to Holly Springs, MS, where he grew up. A great book.

Dave Harrell