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Shepherds Abiding    by Jan Karon order for
Shepherds Abiding
by Jan Karon
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I have been a Mitford fan ever since Jan Karon's first book in the series, Home in Mitford. Unfortunately this ninth entry, Shepherds Abiding, somewhat reduced my enthusiasm.

Karon, who is from the small town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, has used that locale for the series background. Delightfully so. I know the area and can easily visualize the main street of her town with the lovely mountains surrounding it. The author has created wonderful characters and uses them with great skill. It always seemed to me that her driving force was to bring the word of God out of the church and onto her pages. This seemed at times a little too much, but I enjoyed the stories because of the interaction of her characters.

The eighth in the series, The Wedding, didn't quite cut it for me, but I still enjoyed it, thinking that you can't have a winner every time. But Shepherds Abiding leans too much, for my taste in reading, on the church and the faith of its characters. Understand, this is just my opinion. Many will disagree. I did read the whole book and loved touching base again with Father Tim, Cynthia, Dooley and the rest of the cast. I understand that the topic was the Christmas season and so perhaps called for the heavy religious leaning. But it seemed overall a bit frothy, with not enough meat to bolster it up.

It is mentioned in this episode that Father Tim, Cynthia and Dooley will spend next summer farm sitting. I look forward to that book. Despite my misgivings, I really can't give up on someone who can give us Father Tim.

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