30/12/2002

A Common Life (by Jan Karon)

I've really enjoyed the 'Mitford' books by Jan Karon, so was delighted when I heard that another had been published. I put it on my wishlist, and received it for Christmas.

'A Common Life' is out of sequence, however; despite being the sixth published Mitford book, it's only the third chronologically. Since I had read some of the later books, I did find it a bit confusing.

It's the story of Father Tim's proposal, engagement and marriage to his neighbour Cynthia, set in the town of Mitford in the USA. The second book - 'A Light in the Window' - ends with a hint of the proposal, and then the next one, 'Those High Green Hills' introduces them after they have been married a few weeks. So it was nice to have the gaps filled in.

It's not a very long book, but I found it extremely moving in places, and beautifully written. Father Tim's genial bachelor image crumbles as he falls deeper and deeper in love.

There are some mildly humorous anecdotes, and also cameos of the parishioners who come into the other books, to move the story onwards to the happy - and inevitable - conclusion.

This book could stand alone, but is much better read in sequence with the other Mitford books. Definitely recommended if you're a fan of this series.

(I read this again three years later - here's a link to my slightly longer review of 'A Common Life' as a result)

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