Book and Author
At Home in Mitford: A lonely Episcopal rector named Father Tim, a stray dog, a lonely boy, and a pretty neighbor combine with a quaint and old-fashioned small town to create a story that is sure to warm the heart. Published in 1996, 413 pages.
Jan Karon: Karon first published her Father Tim stories as serial installments in The Blowing Rocket–the local paper of Blowing Rock, North Carolina–the small town of less than 2,000 people in which she lives. Here is what she has to say about small town versus city living:
“Until I was twelve I lived in the country, then I spent many years in cities. I think that I was born with a kind of deep affinity for the rural, the rustic. In addition, I’m very drawn to the pastoral novels of the English genre — the village novel where a small group is used to paint a picture of a larger society. I still have in me a great love for the agrarian — for what this country was, for what we still are. People say, “Oh well, I guess there’s no such thing as Mitford.” Well, the good news is there are Mitfords all over the country, and there are still great stretches of open land and pastures and meadows and fields. It’s not all bad news. There’s so much left of this country that is reasonable and moral and strong. And that’s the part I relate to.”
For more from this interview with Jan Karon, go to: http://www.bookbrowse.com/author_interviews/full/index.cfm/author_number/370/jan-karon
Quote from the book:
“The firefly only shines when on the wing, So it is with us–when we stop, we darken.”
Topics this book will bring up for discussion include:
- The way Father Tim handles the people that seem to be intruding upon his life.
- The burdens Father Tim feels as a preist and how he handles having few people that he can confide in.
- The depiction of Mitford as a small town that “takes care of it’s own”. How does it compare to other small towns that you have known?
More discussion questions are available from Penguin
The library has a couple of books that will help your group plan a Mitford themed gathering–Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader and The Mitford Bedside Companion. You’ll find not only recipes but also trivia, quizzes, a crossword puzzle, and more in these books.
Pictured to the right is a marmalade cake like the one that Esther bakes in the book. I’m sure your book group would enjoy this yummy treat or one of the others featured in these books.
Have you or your group read At Home in Mitford? Would you recommend it to other book groups? Share your thoughts by posting a comment on this post.