book reviews

Book Review: Home To Holly Springs

home-to-holly-springs.jpgPerhaps you remember Father Tim from the Mitford series by Jan Karon. Well, he is back in a new series appropriately entitled The Father Tim Novels. I just finished the first of the trilogy entitled Home to Holly Springs (the other two are not out yet), and thought I’d give my two cents via review.

Father Tim is now 70 years old and after receiving an enigmatic letter simply saying, “come home” he embarks on a visit to his birthplace, Holly Springs, Mississippi. As he encounters various people, streets, stores, and houses, memories come flooding back. Some are pleasant, some are painful. All the while, there is a huge surprise awaiting Father Tim that will be bitter sweet and potentially life-threatening.

I enjoyed this book for the most part. It was a very easy, relaxing read.  That said, I didn’t like this novel as much as the Mitford books. It was heavier at times because Father Tim must deal with unresolved and painful issues regarding his father. It was also predictable. I figured out the big surprise pretty early on (don’t read the last page first if you want to be surprised). Then towards the end, so many “coincidences” occurred re-connecting Father Tim with various individuals, it got to be too much to believe.

Still, I love these books for their charm and simplicity. Jan Karon seems to capture the beauty of small town minutia. I will read the other two novels in the series because by now Father Tim is a friend…and I have to see what happens with Dooley and Lace!!


9 thoughts on “Book Review: Home To Holly Springs

  1. Danielle, I checked it out of the Abingdon library. they had several copies in their “new” fiction area. You’ll like revisiting Father Tim 🙂 .

  2. Thanks for posting the review! I have read the “Mitford Series” and I loved them. I just ordered “Home to Holly Springs” from the library and I’m looking forward to reading it!

  3. Having read only 1.5 Mitford books, I’ve probably missed quite a bit of his life. I read the first 2 books 5.5 years ago –AND LOVED THEM!–while on bedrest after Joel’s birth. My surgery is tomorrow and I’m looking for a pleasant way to spend my recovery (light reading, light TV, perhaps). Could I jump into bed with FAther Tim without knowing him better? I mean–postoperatively and not knowing him better? :)-

  4. Zoanna, Jan Karon is really good about covering essentials in each book so that one isn’t dependent on the other. You would be fine reading Home to Holly Springs, but if it were me, I’d read the next Mitford book. It’s better, in my opinion. Also, the books on tape are fabulous (and available at the library). The man reading them is the best reader I have ever heard – and we keep some type of book on tape going most of the year in the car, so I’ve heard many.

    When is your surgery? email me some details so I know how and when to pray.

  5. Abbey, I hope you enjoy the Father Tim Series. Isn’t it strange how a 70 year old episcopal priest could be so compelling? 🙂 Who’d have thought I’d be reading books about a balding priest…and loving it.

  6. I read a review of this book in Christianity Today. The writer was saying he (she? I forget) was disappointed in Karon’s treatment of the race issues that run throughout. Are there still undertones of prejudice? I don’t remember much about this theme from the only Mitford books I read, but I know I need to be more diligent to notice it.

  7. There is a strong element of racial/class differences in this book. Way more than in the Mitford series. I just read it as “this was the way Mississippi was, unfortunately”, so she had to include it to be accurate in portraying the setting. I didn’t think she was “treating” the issue. There doesn’t seem to be any message or agenda in it. Perhaps because it wasn’t always treated with distinctly negative connotations, it could be offensive. Remember, stupid white-chick reading/reviewing here 🙂 .

  8. Thanks for the review. I’m not much of a fiction reader, but for some reason I’ve really enjoyed The Mitford Series. Karon does tie everything up very nicely, but I don’t dislike it. It’s nice to escape to another place where life is sweet in the end.

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