The Mitford Series is by far the most uplifting, make you laugh, make you cry set of books that I have read in a long while. I hate to put down each and every book and always read the entire series in sequence again when a new book comes out.
The Mitford Series by Jan Karon is set in a very small town, where everyone knows everyone else. The protagonist is Father Tim Kavanaugh, a parson in his sixties who begins the series as a bachelor. The supporting characters are a hoot, very lovable and extremely human. The story lines revolve around Father Tim's relationships and actions with the other characters. These well-written characters mirror ourselves, many times not at our best, but with the light of hope glimmering somewhere deep in our heart. Sometimes the light doesn't fully come on, but that is life. These books teach a wonderful message of anticipation: Persevere with God, and it doesn't matter what happens. You will come out on the other side as a stronger, better person .
I found the romance between Cynthia and Father Tim in the second book, "A Light in the Window", to be very endearing and also very true to life. Ms. Karon hit the nail on the head describing how stupid people are when they are trying to make a relationship work. I know many people, including myself, who act as though their age was pre-teen at most.
Father Tim's battle with diabetes and his all-too-human actions bring the message of Christianity to readers in a heart-warming, non-threatening way. (I could probably stick a few more hyphens in that sentence if I tried really hard.)
The growing father-son relationship that Father Tim has with Dooley, a modern-day, at-risk child, makes me tear up every time. The first time that Dooley calls the father, "Dad", really choked me up.
I can't wait to see what Dooley will become after he finishes school.
All the characters in the books are extremely believable and Karon manages to make you care about what happens to the unlovable ones as well as the lovable ones, even if you just want another character to smack them.
Don't get me wrong. There is nothing sugar-coated in these books. What the author manages to do is present day-to-day life in a manner that we too often forget: There is happiness to be found in any situation. We are NOT to worry. We mess up, but if we get back up, we deserve to be forgiven and helped to stay up!
It is a rare person who will not be touched by these books and caused to look at themselves in a new light.