A great read!! This is the thirteenth, and supposedly final, episode in the Mitford Series. And, if so, what a great way to end this series…Dooley and Lace get married. We have followed Dooley from his rough boyhood into the adopting arms of Father Tim and Cynthia. Dooley brought youth and vigor, a troubled family history, as well as his troubled family into the story centered around Mitford. He grew and matured, went to college to become a veterinarian (and did just that), has been around Lace for years as we watched their relationship develop, tumble, and then grow.
Father Tim is now a retired Episcopal priest in this small town in North Carolina. We have seen him as he cared for his flock in Mitford, then followed him to other areas where a church was in need of a pastor for a period, and then on vacation to Ireland (well, not all vacation as he was led to some “sheep” needing prayer and love, some needing to be called to life with the Lord).
Cynthia is a children’s book author and illustrator whom Father Tim married many books ago. He shares this town with her as they both minister to the flock. Many other characters intertwine their ways into the lives of this family and become one very large delightful family that the reader (me) has delighted in and followed for thirteen novels. I have loved them all and felt like I was part of this Mitford bunch.
The setting for this particular novel is the wedding of Dooley and Lace. Preparation for a wedding, the relationships that revolve around it, and the actual wedding involve people that we know from Jan’s previous novels who step in and out and back in again. There are even new people who grab heart strings as they come in and relate to those we have “known.” Oh, there are some fun and crazy pieces that fill in a few empty spots in the Kavanagh puzzle.
God’s Truth is woven into the chapters through prayer, through sharing the Gospel, through lessons taught…some hard, all strong. The Word of God in Jan’s books is a central point, standing tall and clear. She has been consistent on this message throughout the series. Every reader can glean a lot or a little of all that God wants to teach us. This author has NOT been ashamed of the Gospel, that is for sure. Amen to Jan for staying with God’s path.
Closure in some ways and new beginnings in others is what this thirteenth book is all about. The way Jan Karon writes, allowing the reader to feel a part of this community also allows one to feel good about letting the world of these characters go on in the recesses of our minds without having to know an exact outcome for any exact situation!
My husband and I have read this whole series aloud to one another either as we drove along an open road or as we sat in the quiet of our living room. It has been a fun way to enjoy all of these books, plus share this delightful community together.
The title comes from a song “Come Rain or Come Shine” (Harold Arlen composed the music and Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics). The song was written for the musical St. Louis Woman, published in 1946. It has been song by stars such as Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, B. B. King/Eric Clapton, Billie Holiday, and many, many more. The first stanza is:
I’m gonna love you like nobody’s loved you
Come rain or come shine
High as a mountain and deep as a river
Come rain or come shine
I think my Mama used to sing or hum this song!
In 1937, Janice Meredith Wilson was born, and was raised on a farm near Lenoir, North Carolina. Jan knew at a very early age that she wanted to be a writer. She wrote her first novel when she was 10 years old, winning a short-story contest that same year.
At 18, Jan began working for an advertising agency in Charlotte, N.C. as a receptionist. Jan went on to have a highly successful career in the field, winning awards for ad agencies from Charlotte to San Francisco.
At 50, she left her career in advertising and moved to Blowing Rock, North Carolina, to pursue her dream of writing. “After struggling—and failing—to get a novel underway, Jan awoke one night with a mental image of an Episcopal priest walking down a village street. She grew curious and started writing about a character she named Father Tim Kavanagh. Soon, Jan was publishing weekly installments about Father Tim in her local newspaper, The Blowing Rocket, which saw its circulation double as a result. ‘The installment plan certainly worked for Mr. Dickens’, says Jan. The installments became Jan’s first Mitford novel, At Home in Mitford.” * Many awards have been given to her many books.
Besides the Mitford Novels site, you can also find Jan @ https://www.facebook.com/JanKaronand https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/40552.Jan_Karon
* from http://www.mitfordbooks.com/
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