Thursday, November 9, 2017

Good Reads

photo by Candace Freeland
It's been awhile since I've posted about a good read, but after completing the latest work by author Jan Karon, I wanted to share why her Mitford novels have been so enjoyable to me. Maybe, you might be interested in reading some of her books too. 

Admittedly, I've read several "series' books, including Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, followed by her Cormoran Strike novels written under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. I've also read books by authors James Patterson and Donna Leon. Galbraith (aka Rowling) and Patterson's books generally include a few gruesome murders and focus on detection and crime solving. While considered mystery novels, Leon's novels focus on a crime-solving police inspector in Venice, Italy. So, at least, the setting is lovely.

Karon's Mitford series is different as are no killings to solve and little violence. The novels are Christian-themed centering on an Episcopal rector, Father Tim Kavanagh, and set in the fictional town of Mitford, NC. A lot of things happen to bachelor Fr. Tim late in life including his his adoption of an abused mountain boy, Dooley, and his marriage to Cynthia, a children's book author and artist.

Karon's novel writing career happened later in life following a successful advertising career that included numerous awards and being named an assistant VP.

Now 80 years old, she began at age 50 to fulfill a lifelong dream. After leaving her career, she relocated to her home state of NC, settling in Blowing Rock. In 1989, just as Charles Dickens had done in England years before, she started writing weekly installments in the local newspaper, The Blowing Rocket. Readers enjoyed learning about Fr. Tim so much that the paper's circulation doubled.

In 1994, those installments were published as the first Mitford novel, At Home in Mitford, and which has since been reprinted over 80 times. The latest novel released in September 2017 is To Be Where You Are.

The novels in the Mitford series span 23 years, which makes it time-consuming to give a complete synopsis of all the characters and events. But, if you're looking for something "new" to read, you might want to check if your local library has these books.

Having read all the previous books in this series, it was a happy surprise to read about this latest one. I don't check a favorite author's websites to find out about upcoming works. But as a long-standing Mitford fan, I happily placed the latest book on reserve in my local library.

Not being the first to read an author's works has its advantages. For example, Grenville and myself read the complete Harry Potter series several years after the last book was published. There was no wait for the next one to be released or to place it on reserve at the library.

Colder weather is coming and always a great time to settle down with a good read. Be forewarned that once you start reading about Mitford. Its cast of characters may soon become like friends or even family members (even if fictional ones).

And, if you're considering giving them a try, here's the Mitford series listed in order of publication. The two books marked with an asterisk (*) while included in the Mitford series are considered part of the Father Tim series which are not centered in Mitford. 

At Home in Mitford (1994)
A Light in the Window (1995)
These High, Green Hills (1995)
Out to Canaan (1997)
A New Song (1999)
A Common Life (2001)
In This Mountain (2002)
Shepherds Abiding (2003)
Light From Heaven (2005)
Home to Holly Springs * (2007) 
In the Company of Others * (2010)
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (2014)
Come Rain or Come Shine (2015)
To Be Where You Are (2017)

YOUR turn — What types of books or series of books do you enjoy reading? 
(Please share as I would really like to know.) 


Anvilcloud said...

I seem to have a vague recollection of reading one or more Mitford books. Maybe I am mistaking it with another series.

Sandra said...

I really love to find a series that catches me up in it, I have found several by getting the free first book of a series on my kindle. 3 times I have found a series that grabbed me enough that I purchased the rest of the series. I love a good read.

Michelle said...

I enjoy reading a good book series and the Mitford books are one of the best ever, for me.

Emma Springfield said...

Fascinating. As soon as I can fit it into my reading schedule I will read them.

L. D. said...

I think you have giving me inspiration to read the series. My life seems to be a lot less confusing and a good book would be nice.

Connie said...

Your blog post is the second time this week that I've read about the Mitford series. I don't believe I've ever read this series. It sounds like one I'd really enjoy!

William Kendall said...

I think this must be the first time I've heard of her, actually.

Karen Lakis said...

For series books - I enjoyed the Cormoran Strike series - (is a new one coming out soon?), the Elly Griffiths books, Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache, and the Tracy Crosswhite series. I also enjoy most current fiction and belong to the Book of the Month club where every month I take a leap of faith and read a newly published novel. I haven’t tried the Mitford series, yet, but you make a good case for them!

Doris said...

I love the Mitford series....I'm currently reading them again! I'll certainly buy the newest book but not till I've read all the rest of them (again) =)

Valerie said...

Must give the series a go. I usually get books from the charity shops (they need the money) so I will search their shelves next time I go in. There's always Amazon, of course.

My name is Erika. said...

I think it's great how Jan K started out writing. What a wonderful life story. :) I red a few of these books years ago, but haven't ever picked them back up. Maybe it's time I did. Thanks for sharing and inspiring me. :)

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