These High Green Hills (by Jan Karon)

'These High Green Hills' was the third of Jan Karon's Mitford books to be written, but the fourth chronologically. It begins shortly after Father Timothy and Cynthia have been married, and focuses on their first year of marriage. As with the other books there's plenty of interaction with friends and parishioners, but there's also an increased development of Father Tim's character and more glimpses of his past.

There are also forays into the 'Creek' community of forgotten, impoverished families, and a surprise for Dooley, the boy Tim has been looking after. A little light humour as the parish office struggles to learn to use a new computer, and sadness too as much-loved characters grow older.

I like all the books in the series, but this is one of my favourites: it focuses on forgiveness, acceptance of the past, and hope. Father Tim faces some of his fears and insecurities in a surprising way when temporarily lost in a cave, and finds himself able to look forward to the future.

This could probably be read as a stand-alone, but it's much easier having read the earlier books. There's quite a cast of characters, and knowing a little of their history makes it less overwhelming. Reading it directly after the previous books makes it more enjoyable even than having read them a year or so apart, as I did the first time.

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