I’ve read all the books in the Mitford series by bestselling author Jan Karon. Call me a sentimental softie, if you will, but I love pouring through the pages of the nine novels in the series set in this fictional North Carolina town. The daily lives of the main character Father Tim Kavanagh, his wife Cynthia, adopted son Dooley, and the assortment of colorful inhabitants of Mitford provide a wonderful small town portrait of Americana. Reading these books is like putting on your favorite flannel pjs, cozying up in a chair by a warm fire, and having coffee with old friends. There is a connection and comfort that you get from Karon’s characters and writing.
Home to Holly Springs is the first of the “Father Tim” novels. The focus is shifted away from the familiar Mitford and the usual cast of characters to a small southern town. Father Tim, an Episcopalian priest, receives a handwritten note of unknown origin from someone in his home town of Holly Springs, Mississippi. The note only says “Come home.” It’s been thirty-eight years since Father Tim has been to his childhood home. Painful memories and secrets without answers cloud his mind about this place of family and friends of long ago. But with his faithful, black beast of a dog named Barnabus to accompany him and the top down on his red Mustang convertible, Father Tim makes the road trip to Holly Springs for answers not only to the author of the mysterious note, but to find out what happened to more than a few people from his past.
I wasn’t sure if I’d like the journey away from Mitford and all its familiarity, but the road trip to Holly Springs proved to be an excellent trip on which to tag along. New friends and faces were a pleasure to meet. And of course, we learn more about Father Tim and his life before Mitford.
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