The Mitford Series of books by Jan Karon has been out for a while, but I know that some people still haven’t read any of them, so I thought I’d put in a good word. This set of books centers around a fictional town called “Mitford,” Father Tim (the local Episcopalian priest) , and the town’s various characters.
This is a good little Christian fiction series that draws you into the life of the town. Karon does an excellent job creating a fictional place that you actually “look forward” to visiting. She sets up the storylines in such a way that you care about the characters; their lives, their struggles, their pets, what they are having for supper…
The first of the series, At Home in Mitford, sets the stage and the original players, with characters added throughout the stories. I find that her style of writing is rather pleasant to read; it doesn’t bash the reader over the head with The Bible; no heavy preaching, no pressure, just good storytelling. This is not to say that there is no theology present, or that the gospel isn’t present, because it is. It is done in such a way that it is “organic” to the story, and it fits with the characters, it is not forced either on them, or on the reader.
I’m trying to recall if there is any theology presented that I disagree with, and I can’t really think of any…there is good interplay between the various Christian denominations in the town which is heartwarming, and amusing at the same time.
Here is a list of the books in this particular series in order: 1) At Home in Mitford, 2) A Light in the Window, 3) These High, Green Hills, 4) Out to Canaan, 5) A New Song, 6) A Common Life, 7) In This Mountain, 8 ) Sheperds Abiding, and 9) A Light from Heaven. I would consider A Common Life and Shepherds Abiding as kind of “mini-novels;” they go along with the series but are not as long as her regular novels. Shepherds Abiding, which I have not read yet, is also a collection of some shorter stories that still take place in Mitford with the same characters.
Karon also has companion books out that are connected to Mitford; like a quote book, a cook book, etc… Other reasons why I like this series; they are relaxing reading, non-stressful, they are what I consider to be “quick” reads…and you can usually find most of the series at used book stores if you ask for them, or most libraries carry them, or can get them.
Karon has started another series; The Father Tim Series, to continue on with some of the characters that you’ll get to know in the Mitford series. I do indeed recommend these books…I have also heard that even guys who read them like them, but they are, to me, geared toward the female reader. I would also welcome any comments by any of my readers who have checked them out and would like to add their reviews here.
Edit to update: The Father Tim Series order so far: 1) Home to Holly Springs 2) In the Company of Others
Second Edit to update: Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good is Jan’s next book in the series and is taking us back to Mitford! It’s set to be published on Sept. 2, 2014.