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At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
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At Home in Mitford (1994)

by Jan Karon

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,283871,688 (3.93)180
  1. 20
    A Light in the Window by Jan Karon (rxtheresa)
    rxtheresa: First book in this series
  2. 10
    Stealing Lumby by Gail Fraser (cyderry)
  3. 10
    The Lumby Lines by Gail Fraser (cyderry, bell7)
    bell7: Another gentle read set in a small town full of quirky characters.
  4. 00
    Village School by Miss Read (katie4098)
    katie4098: Jan Karon was inspired by the Village School and Thrush Green series' by Miss Read (Dora Saint). Same theme of country village life.
  5. 00
    Cruel Sanctuary by Brad Reynolds (rxtheresa)
  6. 00
    The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg (PaperbackPirate)
    PaperbackPirate: sense of community
  7. 00
    Far from Home by Anne DeGrace (PaperbackPirate)
    PaperbackPirate: sense of community
  8. 00
    The Widow of Larkspur Inn by Lawana Blackwell (foggidawn)
  9. 00
    Ritual Death (Father Mark Townsend Mystery) by Brad Reynolds (rxtheresa)
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» See also 180 mentions

English (85)  German (1)  All languages (86)
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
OMG, I think I'm going to suffer from a terminal case of heartwarming-ness. I may just melt into a puddle, beginning from the inside. This book is not literature. It doesn't really deal with real people. It's a peaches and cream fantasy world. But it's fun enough for comfort reading, providing one has some semblance of grounding in traditional Christianity. I doubt people ignorant of traditional Christianity would find much of interest in this book.

My spouse rescued several books in this series from her mother's house and deposited them on the staircase. They seemed interesting enough to investigate, and besides, it gives my spouse great pleasure if I break down and read a dead-tree book now and again.

This particular book, the first in the series, deals with a bachelor Episcopalian priest, Father Tim, who lives in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina. He encounters many "problems", but of course overcomes them all, thanks to the grace of God, and lives happily ever after. Well, we don't know that from this book, because the book ends with oodles of loose ends, loose ends which will only be tied up, if at all, in reading subsequent books in this quaint series (there are at least 10 of the damn things).

So, at the beginning of the book, a rather undisciplined and large dog imposes himself on Father Tim, then, after Father Tim becomes fond of the dog, said dog is snatched away by drug traffickers. He also is forced to take on a rather uncouth 11-year old, who is, naturally, a red head (the grandson of his indisposed sexton). Then the elderly rich lady in the parish needs to tell the story of her lost love. Oh yes, the vestry inflicts a housekeeper on him who has no idea how to go about finding a husband and a widow woman moves in next door who has very nice legs. Father Tim is enchanted by the widow woman despite having spent the previous 60 years being perfectly happy as a bachelor. Then, Father Tim gets diabetes. Oops, I forgot, things disappear in the church from time to time, like Father Tim's sandwich and the communion wine from the refrigerator. It turns out there's a jewell thief in the belfry, which is empty because the bells need repairing. Naturally the repair people aren't exactly on the ball, giving Father Tim yet another problem.

So, anyway, we have to resolve all these issues. But of course, we don't really because we need to have more books to work further through the resolution. My previous paragraph might have sounded a bit snarky, but I did like the book. But then I have spent too much of my life in Sunday School and in the choir loft, and also reading through the Bible, believe it or not. I was not convinced by the theology in this book. Not because I disagreed with it, per se, although it struck me as simple minded. But my real problem with the theology is that it felt more like Southern White Evangelical theology than like traditional Episcopalian theology. We have several miraculous "conversions" that come about by mere recitation of the sinner's prayer. We are overly supplied by obscure, out of context, Bible verses which solve one or another immediate problem. Even silly prayers get answered, almost immediately, because God has nothing better to do than to take care of minor details of our lives, and so on. Then too, several people just pick up a random Bible, begin reading it and get saved. Somehow, they were divinely lead to miss all the icky and tedious parts: like the story of Judah and Tamar; the problem of the Levite's concubine in Judges; the story of Lot, who is allegedly the only "righteous" person in Sodom, but who acts in most unrighteous ways as far as I can tell; how 'bout Elisha calling out a she bear to maul a bunch of adolescent boys; or page after boring page describing all the cubits and acacia wood and whatnot required for constructing proper altars, tabernacles, ... stuff; or the whole history of Sampson wherein you realize that he was really rather an asshole; or ... ?

This doesn't smack of the Episcopalianism I know. But, perhaps southern Episcopalians aren't so much different from Southern Evangelicals. The Nothern Episcopalians I know (e.g. my in laws) seem more like the Presbyterians and Congregationalists with whom I have hung out over my journey through life.

Anyway, it's a decent enough book if you're in for a spot of comfort reading and don't mind that nothing in the book reflects real people or the real world. My friend, Michael, would of course, dismiss this book as being "girly", which it surely is. No monsters or dragons or people wielding swords and so forth. But it was an adequate diversion for a few days. I'm not sure if I'll read another in the series or not. I expect they'll lie in state on the staircase while I decide. I have until next fall when the books all get donated to the church-fair book table.

update:
I guess I won't be reading another. My spouse banished the other books in this series to the attic, where I certainly won't be going anytime soon. ( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
At Home In Mitford by Jan Karon is the story of Father Tim Cavanaugh, a sixty year old single Episcopalian minister to his flock in a fictional small town in North Carolina. Each chapter of the book is like a small story in itself and introduces the colorful and sometimes eccentric characters that live in Mitford. Father Tim is so busy attending to his duties that he hasn’t taken the best care of himself in recent years and strain is beginning to show.

His life takes a few unexpected turns over the course of the year that the book details. First he acquires a large, boisterous dog, then a neglected boy comes into his care and he finds himself totally delighted by his new neighbour, an attractive, single woman.

The story unfolds with great warmth and humor. The characters are lovingly drawn with interesting quirks and features. These are homey, cozy stories that tell of how we would like our small towns to be, not as they really are. An important element to the stories is obviously the author’s faith, but this was presented in a straight forward natural way and helped to define Father Tim and enhance the stories so I was more than okay with it. Overall I enjoyed my time in Mitford and will definitely be visiting this small town again. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 17, 2019 |
This is the story of Father Tim who lives in the small town of Mitford. He is the beloved pastor of a local church who cares about everyone in town. He often is left feeling that he wants something more. Soon a homeless dog becomes his closest companion, and a young 11 year old boy comes to live with him while his grandfather recovers from being sick. He meets an attractive new neighbor that he quickly becomes smitten with. All of this while trying to manage a thief who had been living in the bell tower of his church, and helping to build a nursing home for the town. Father Tim soon lets his own health go and almost dies in the process.



This was a really cute book. It was an easy read and a sweet story. Every town needs a Father Tim - someone who they can count on to help them when they are in need and to tell their problems to. Most of the characters were likable and the author did a good job fitting them all together. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Father Tim, a bachelor rector, has a comfortable life in the small town of Mitford, but he's feeling drained. As he deals with his own health, he encounters changes in his town and finds maybe he can take some time for himself.

Though Mitford is presented as too good to be true, I did enjoy the quirky cast of characters presented. Father Tim's struggles were relatable, and it was easy to feel sympathy for him. His interactions with everyone else in the town (and his friends from other areas) were heartwarming.

That being said, I did find myself bored with the pace. It was so slow and all too easy to put the book down and pick up something else. There were many scenes I felt could have been cut and the overall story wouldn't have been affected.

I will be reading the rest of the series since they are on my shelf. I'm hoping I will enjoy them more since I know the cast now. ( )
  TheQuietReader | Jan 9, 2019 |
I was lent this by a friend and I am completely at a loss as to how to rate it. There were bits I loved - Dooley, the way Father's Tim's faith felt real, his frustrations with his secretary and vestry. On the other hand, everything was just a bit twee, all the characters were unlike any person I have ever met in real life, and everything worked out well. There was a cast of thousands and I just got bored after a while and had to skim the last quarter to get it finished.
  pgchuis | Oct 12, 2018 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Candace Freeland, my daughter and friend
Candace Freeland (daughter and friend)
First words
He left the coffee-scented warmth of the Main Street Grill and stood for a moment under the green awning.
Quotations
Philippians 4:13, for Pete's sake.
Consider it done!
No rest for the wicked and the righteous don't need none.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 014025448X, Paperback)

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--who are as quirky and popular as those of Mayberry, R.F.D. --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:41 -0400)

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An introduction to the lifestyle and residents of a fictitious small North Carolina town.

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