A Common Life: The Sixth Book in the Mitford Years Series Paperback – Mar 26 2002
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A Common Life is a trip back in time for fans of "the little town with the big heart." Somewhere between the second and third volumes of Jan Karon's Mitford Years series, dyed-in-the-wool bachelor Father Timothy Kavanagh and his next-door neighbor Cynthia Coppersmith tied the knot. The author left it to readers' imaginations to fill in the blanks. In this delightful story, Karon paints a complete picture of the events surrounding the wedding of Mitford's best-loved couple, and chronicles the poignant and often hilarious reactions to the nuptial news by the tightly knit North Carolina community.
All the details cherished by those who are enchanted by weddings are offered here, from the color of the bridal outfit (aquamarine) to the choice of flowers (virgin's bower and hydrangeas). When the wedding bells finally ring, the pews are packed with the people who make Mitford special: ornery Uncle Billy, delightful Miss Sadie, indispensable Louella, and the cantankerous Emma Newland. And there's not a dry eye in the house when Father Tim's problematic foster child Dooley Barlowe sings for the two people who love him the most.
A Common Life is not just a wedding story. It's also an intimate portrait of the unfolding love between Cynthia and the shy Father Tim, complete with fears and hesitations, professions of commitment, and Barnabas the dog delivering love letters. But there's nothing heavy-handed here. The tensions don't run any higher than wondering if Cynthia will make it to the wedding on time after getting locked inside her own bathroom, or guessing if Esther will make her famous three-layer orange marmalade cake for the reception. Told in the warm, down-home style that Karon has built her reputation on, A Common Life is sweet without being saccharine, charming without being cloying. It's an invitation to a literary reunion of the best kind, and like all weddings, it will probably coax a few tears and plenty of smiles. --Cindy Crosby --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
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, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
One thing I enjoyed about this book is that several different characters narrate it. In the other Mitford books (thus far) everything is narrated from Father Tim's perspective. But here we are privy to the thoughts and observations of other well-known characters, such as: Esther Bolick, Uncle Billy Watson, and Mayor Cunningham. I think this change of structure works well for this particular installment. It gives us a fuller view of that most dramatic of events: the marriage of a beloved old bachelor. Let's face it; if it were up to Father Tim to remember the events surrounding his wedding to Cynthia, we wouldn't have much to work with because he had too much going on around him.
This book is slimmer than the others, perhaps offering less story than fans are used to. One compensatory value might be that it has a nice two-color interior design.
I recommend _A Common Life_ to fans of the series mainly on the virtue of its unique structure, giving voice to other familiar characters
Father Timothy Kavanaugh, the lifelong bachelor, has finally decided to commit his life to his vivacious neighbor, Cynthia. He thinks that his feelings of worry about his relationship will be over upon making this decision - but Father Tim is so very wrong. There is, after all, a wedding to be planned!
The good folk of Mitford proceed with all of their usual flair. Cynthia is subject to showers and teas, while Father Tim gets a good dose of advice at his favorite diner. There are the usual decisions about flowers, songs, and attendants. Yes, all of this is commonplace - but that is the beauty of Karon's writing. She infuses these decisions, gone through by all engaged couples, with a grace and candor that is rare.
I read several chapters of this book with tears in my eyes, impressed by the gentleness and true love of the characters. Fans of Mitford are sure to find a blessing in A Common Life.
Most recent customer reviews
Yet another fantastic book in the Mitford series. Every bit as good as the first five.Published 3 months ago by christine Ottens
love this series although I did find A common Life a little slow but easily enjoyable. I recommend this series to anyone looking for easy, relaxed and 'feel good' reading.Published on Dec 10 2013 by Kaye Tompsett
Another great read! A little shorter than regular Mitford books. Interesting how she would hold off on the wedding chapters for a later book. I just can't get enough of Mitford!Published on Dec 5 2003 by Tonya Speelman
This book appears to have been written simply to hold the readers until the next book in the series (hopefully with some substance) is released. Read morePublished on Nov. 19 2002 by Elizabeth C. Hicks
Huge disappointment. Don't buy, borrow from the library if you must.Published on Oct. 27 2002 by plum9195
Compared to all the other Mitford books, this one is like a bad movie of the week, or an old rerun of Love Boat. Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2002 by Anna M. Haney
I read this sixth Mitford installment after completing the second one, which is where it really belongs, and I have to say that Jan Karon continues to please me. Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2002 by Dianna Setterfield
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