Shepherds Abiding

Our rating: *****

Christmas is coming, and Father Tim is hard at work. Percy and Velma, owners of The Grill, have decided to permanently close on Christmas Eve, Mitford’s suffering from a flu bug, and Father Tim has found a new project. He discovered an old, dilapidated nativity set and decided to re-plaster and paint it for Cynthia’s Christmas present. Meanwhile, Hope is debating whether or not to keep the Happy Endings book store open, or move to Florida, Lew Boyd is missing his wife, and Uncle Billy is trying to figure out what to give Rose for Christmas. Things are wrapping up nicely, but when Father Tim accidentally drops one of the angels, shattering it, he feels that he has let everyone down. Little does he know how God will turn the situation into a blessing.

As always, the Mitford books are hard to write reviews for. You just can’t describe them without using up pages of paper! I enjoyed this one a lot. Uncle Billy is so funny and sweet!

In This Mountain

Our rating: *****

Things are always happening in Mitford, that busy little town in North Carolina. Fanny Skinner and Joe Ivey start a haircut price war, Cynthia wins another award for her books and gets to tour the country with a reading program, Percy risks a new menu item at the Grill, and Father Tim tries to keep busy by writing essays, battling the inevitable moles, half-heartedly following his diabetes requirements, and, of course, the hunt for Dooley’s missing siblings.

There seems to be something about the Mitford books that makes it almost impossible (or difficult, at best) to set them down and do something else. You think, “Oh, just one more little section.” Then another, and, um, another, and another. And before you know it, it’s a half-hour later. Ah well. A small sacrifice for an enjoyable book.

Light from Heaven

Our rating: *****

Father Tim and Cynthia are farm sitting for the Owens, when his bishop gives him a new challenge: Fix up and open an old church in the mountains. However, he also has to do a few other things, such as raise Sammy Barlowe. Father Tim is pleasantly surprised to meet a lot of new friends in the mountains, but some of them are not very happy to see the church re-open.

The concluding novel in the Mitford Years series is definitely a good one. There’s a lot of things that Jan Karon leaves hanging. (I guess that’s so you’ll want to read the Father Tim novels) You’ll enjoy Light from Heaven as much as the preceding books.

Out to Canaan

Our rating: *****

Father Tim is facing retirement, but that certainly doesn’t slow him down. As usual, lots is happening in Mitford. Esther Cunningham, who has been the undisputed mayor of Mitford for many years, faces an opponent in the upcoming election, Miss Sadie’s house is beginning to fall into disrepair and Father Tim has to find a buyer for it, and they’re still trying to locate Dooley’s siblings. And to top it all off, the Sweet Stuff Bakery may be closing!

What can I say? It’s another great Mitford. All the characters, old and new, are just as real as before. Hooray for Mitford!

A Common Life

Our rating: ****

Finally, Father Tim and Cynthia are getting married! But there’s so much to do before the wedding. Will Esther Bolick or Winnie Ivy bake the cake? Can Uncle Billy think of a new joke before the wedding? Will Father Tim and Cynthia even get there in time?

When reading A Common Life, you must remember that it really comes right after A Light in the Window ends. This can be confusing, because some characters show up that have left the series, and you’ll be wondering where certain others are for this whole thing. It’s not your typical Mitford book, as it follows everybody during their preparations, instead of just Father Tim. It’s also much shorter, and only took me a few hours to finish. However, A Common Life is a delightful book with many fun and interesting points.