Saturday, December 15, 2007
Overview: When he receives a letter postmarked Holly Springs, Miss., that contains a cryptic two-word message written in a precise, old-fashioned hand, Father Tim decides to answer its call and return to his birthplace for the first time in 38 years. On the long drive, he faces unanswered questions and half-forgotten memories: What happened to his boyhood chum and blood brother, Tommy? What caused his father's melancholy that bordered on cruelty? What happened to Peggy, the adored black caregiver who disappeared when he was 11? Who is trying to contact him, and why? As Father Tim awaits the letter writer, he is showered by blessings: He finds that his hometown has been beautifully restored, and he makes peace with an old flame. When the summons comes, it brings both joy and betrayal. He is reunited with his beloved Peggy, only to learn a terrible secret: She was carrying his father's child when she disappeared. When Peggy reveals that Henry, her son and Tim's half-brother, has leukemia and can only survive with a transfusion from a compatible sibling, Tim has to struggle to reach the decision he knows is right. In this setting away from home, we see Father Tim in a new light as he wrestles with his past and explores the origins of his religious convictions. My review: I was, and am, a big fan of Jan Karon's Mitford series but not so of the 1st book in the new Father Tim series. I didn't finish only reading 158 of 356 pages. None of the characters had the warmth, humor, or charm of those living in Mitford. The characters were so unmemorable that I had difficultly remembering their relationship to the story. Because Father Tim is returning to his home town after being away for almost 40 years he spent a considerable amount of time reminiscing and remembering his years spent in Holly Springs. That wouldn't be a problem if one could actually differentiate between what's current day and what's memory. At times the transition is confusing and I found myself re-reading paragraphs trying to determine where I was in the story. This story drags through the 156 pages I managed to struggle through. I knew more about where this story was supposed go by reading the synopsis on Amazon then I did by reading the actual book. I won't be visiting with Father Tim in this new series.