Thursday, February 10, 2011

In the Company of Others


Based on the reviews at Amazon, I was prepared to toss back In the Company of Strangers minute I made it up the waiting list. I am SO GLAD I did not. While it does stretch the limits of credulity to think that our dear old Mitford friend Father Tim and his wife Cynthia could land in Ireland and achieve instant "family" status with all the intimacy that such status implies, with the owner of the Inn they have choose for their "home away from home" on their long-awaited Irish vacation. Skipping that, I had a marvelous time with this book--although not so much with the main story which was a fairly straightforward mystery with Father Tim and Cynthia dispensing listening and compassion right and left. Rather, my enjoyment was in the "inner" story--the "book within the book"--the journal of the 1860s doctor who built the place. Exactly the kind of vacation I'd love--beautiful Ireland, great food, and a tremendous first-hand account of the place as it was built. I loved the journal and had to force myself not to fast-foward the cd [audio book version] to the next entry in the journal, caring more for it than the present day story.

Jan Karon seems to have found it hard to transition Father Tim from Mitford and his long-time parishioners. The first book in this new series, Home to Holly Springs, was painful to read. It just didn't do it for me at all. I liked this story so much more--Timothy and Cynthia with a nice new cast and mentions of beloved Mitford characters, too. And, Henry from the first book in the new series. In this book at least, I felt my dear friends were back at last.

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