07/02/2006

In This Mountain

This is the seventh novel in Jan Karon's 'Mitford' series about the Episcopal priest, Father Tim. Set in a small village in a mountain in the south of the USA, it's a delightful series with cleverly drawn characters, light humour, and some moving moments too.

This book takes place more than a year after the previous one. Tim is now well-established as a retired priest, and his wife Cynthia continues to write successful children's books although she keeps intending to stop. They have been trying to find a productive use of their time, and have agreed to join a small mission organisation in the outback. They are both trying to be enthusiastic about it and believing it's probably right, but messages from the organiser are not encouraging.

Then a disaster happens, because Father Tim is not paying attention to his health. The rest of the book covers his reactions to this, including some quite bad depression which he tries to fight. It's perhaps more serious than some of the earlier books; certainly the Christian message is put more clearly than ever, along with some useful reminders of eternal truths.

Very enjoyable as part of the series, but it wouldn't make much sense as a stand-alone novel. I thought I might have got bored of the series by now, re-reading them one after another, but am finding them all the more interesting as the characters stay fresh in my mind. Knowing the main outlines of the plot doesn't detract from them, it simply means I'm not in quite such a hurry to rush through them as I was the first time around.

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