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In This Mountain    by Jan Karon order for
In This Mountain
by Jan Karon
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I just finished the seventh novel in the wonderful Mitford series. No wonder it was a #1 New York Times Bestseller. Jan Karon writes of the mythical town of Mitford and of a part of the world to which I am partial - the northwestern corner of North Carolina.

I can visualize the town of Blowing Rock, which I believe is the village on which Mitford is based. I can feel the mountain breezes and see the sun set over the ridge. I can travel that twisting mountain road to get there. I can revel in the closeness of a small town where almost everyone knows each other. I met a friend of the author's several years ago and was told she is just like her books. That is nice to know.

In this seventh episode, Father Tim and Cynthia continue to luxuriate in their late-in-life marriage. Dooley Barlowe still looks for his two missing siblings. The other happily familiar residents of Mitford continue to live good and fairly productive lives. In a way, Mitford seems almost too good to be true. But search under the outer crust and you'll find mishaps similar to those that plague the rest of us.

What makes Mitford stand out is that its populace works together to right the wrongs of their corner of the world. When they can't right them, they stand together to make them better. 'The Man in the Attic' returns to town, reformed and penitent. Uncle Billy Watson is afraid he is going to lose his title as 'Joke King of Mitford.' Father Tim doesn't follow his doctor's advice and almost leaves Mitford permanently. He also looks for the courage to forgive himself for what he considers his transgressions. In so doing, he helps others to do the same.

In This Mountain is a delight - a book about everyday people written in a simple and straightforward manner. Jan Karon brought light into a very gloomy, overcast day for me.

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