Saturday, January 15, 2011
Publisher/Format: Viking Adult (2010), Hardcover, 368 pages
Characters: Father Tim Kavanaugh, Cynthia Kavanaugh
Subject: family secrets; redemption
Series: Fr. Tim
Source: my own shelves
I am a fan of Jan Karon's Mitford series, out of which this book and its prequel Home to Holly Hills sprang. The gentle, fun, caring people of the town of Mitford captivated me. And Fr Tim Kavanaugh with his goofy dog, his shy and tentative walk through life were always comfortable, interesting, and well-developed stories.
Home to Holly Hills, the first in this new "Fr Tim" series was a stretch, taking the main character out of the comfortable setting of Mitford and taking him through a gut-wrenching return to his home town to discover his long-forgotten, or kept secret past. It was barely believable, but all of us who loved Fr. Tim put up with it. Now comes this latest one, and it is enough to make a reader cry. It's a poorly disguised excuse for a religious tract to offer conversion to Jesus as salvation. Those of us who loved the Mitford series knew all about Fr. Tim's religious beliefs and didn't need the proselytizing that really pops up in this one.
It is not as well written as the previous ones, with a story inside a story that spreads confusion about what is going on, and why it's being introduced. In addition, her attempts to make a mystery story out of this family drama are annoying. There are characters that are stereotypical Irish drunks, the obligatory loopy dog, the dying old lady itching to be saved, and people with enough secrets stored up to sink the proverbial ship. I just couldn't warm up to this group, and can't decide whether I want her to continue this series or not. A true disappointment.