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Jan Karon, born Janice Meredith Wilson in the foothills of North Carolina, was named after the title of a popular novel, Janice Meredith.Jan wrote her first novel at the age of ten. "The manuscript was written on Blue Horse notebook paper, and was, for good reason, kept hidden from my sister. When she found it, she discovered the one curse word I had, with pounding heart, included in someone's speech. For Pete's sake, hadn't Rhett Butler used that very same word and gotten away with it? After my grandmother's exceedingly focused reproof, I've written books without cussin' ever since." Several years ago, Karon left a successful career in advertising to move to the mountain village of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and write books. "I stepped out on faith to follow my lifelong dream of being an author," she says. "I made real sacrifices and took big risks. But living, it seems to me, is largely about risk." Enthusiastic booksellers across the country have introduced readers of all ages to Karon's heartwarming books. At Home in Mitford, Karon's first book in the Mitford series, was nominated for an ABBY by the American Booksellers Association in 1996 and again in 1997. Bookstore owner, Shirley Sprinkle, says, "The Mitford Books have been our all-time fiction bestsellers since we went in business twenty-five years ago. We've sold 10,000 of Jan's books and don't see any end to the Mitford phenomenon."
Fans of Mitford, Karon's delightful fictional village in western North Carolina, will be thrilled with this newest installment, which relates an episode she skipped over in her earlier books: Father Tim and Cynthia's wedding. (He proposed at the end of the second Mitford book, and at the beginning of the third, they were already happily married.) Finally, readers get to see the stunned expressions of most Mitford residents when they hear Father Tim has actually popped the question. Readers learn about Cynthia's anxieties over the pending nuptials, share Esther Bolick's delight when Cynthia asks her to bake her famous orange marmalade cake and hum along as the Lord's Chapel parish belts out "Praise my soul the King of Heaven" at the ceremony. And as usual, Karon works in a few snippets of convincing mountain dialect. While Mitford die-hards will welcome this installment, however, the unconverted won't find much to bring them around; one has to already know Karon's eccentric characters, with all their foibles, to fully appreciate the book. Even Mitford devotees may be a touch disappointed that the trademark lessons about Christian faith that Karon weaves so seamlessly into most of her tales are more or less absent from this slim volume. (When they do appear, they stick out, as when Bishop Cullen pointedly discusses the role of sex in Christian marriage.) Still, don't be surprised if Mitford fans begin serving orange marmalade cake at their weddings, and sing hymn 410 at every opportunity. (Apr. 9) Forecast: Fresh from her 2000 Christy and ECPA Gold Medallion Awards for A New Song (book five), Karon keeps rolling along with the Mitford series. This book will no doubt please the thousands of fans who have written to Karon, asking, "Why weren't we invited to the wedding?" Six weeks before its release, the novel was hovering around the #100 position on Amazon. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Karon's sixth book about the small town of Mitford, NC, tells the story of the long-awaited wedding of Father Tim Kavanagh and his neighbor Cynthia Coppersmith. Tim, at 62, has never been married, whereas Cynthia's first marriage was not a success. However, their need to be together overcomes their fears of the unknown. With remarkable innocence, they plan the myriad details and navigate the dangerous waters of political correctness in their selections of providers of cake, music, and honeymoon cottages. In relating this tale, read with style and grace by Dana Ivey, Karon captures the reactions of all the principal residents of Mitford. She also captures the feelings of excitement, nostalgia, love, loss, and new beginnings thatcause people to cry at weddings, to feel the emotional upheaval of this radical change in lifestyle, and to participate in the euphoric cloud that surrounds the bride and groom before the nuptials and as wedded life begins. Recommended. Joanna M. Burkhardt, Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Providence Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Welcome home Mitford fans . . . to Karon's gift for illuminating the struggles that creep into everyday lives--along with a vividly imagined world."