At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

The charming town of Mitford may be small, but make no mistake—it’s neither sleepy nor idle. Father Tim, a bachelor, is amply occupied, keeping up with the townsfolk and the lives and needs of his parishioners. Considering the surprises that accompany his sixtieth year, Father Tim will have to accept new ways to take care of his own needs in At Home in Mitford, a novel by author Jan Karon.

This first book in the beloved Mitford Years series is the second Mitford book I’ve read. For various reasons, I broke some rules a few years ago and jumped into the series with Book Ten (or Book Twelve, depending on how you count the bonus Father Tim series that intertwines with this one.) After reading (and loving!) Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, I knew I’d just have to go back and start the series from the beginning.

I found this novel amusing in some places, hilarious in others, and altogether delightful, even as it has its share of heartrending moments. The story moves at a nice clip overall, oftentimes saying just enough, trusting the reader to get it. There’s also a mystery and dashes of romance woven in.

Father Tim and the people of Mitford struck me as a bit more cartoony in this novel than the one I started with, but that’s very likely due to the darling (did I just say “darling”?) illustrations at the opening of every chapter in the Penguin edition I read. All’s not perfect in this town, as the characters face some true-to-life challenges, and not everything in their backstories (including cases of crime and racism) is pretty. I’ll admit I had trouble keeping all of the characters straight at times, but hearing from so many of them got me that much better acquainted with Mitford.

I’m sure this is the kind of series that grows on you the further along you get into it, and I’m looking forward to reading the next novel.

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Here’s my review of Book Two in the Mitford Years series, A Light in the Window.