I almost never read books of this genre - they're usually way too sappy for me. I'm more of a historical novel kind of person - I like a lot of real characters and angst and war and to learn a little something while I'm reading. But for some reason, this series really started to grab me, especially after the second book. True, the characters don't seem to have any real problems and they all care for each other equally and live in an impossibly idyllic little village. But then again, maybe that's WHY I like this series so much. It's a vacation from my typical reading list - if I want to take a breather and read something that makes me happy and calm and transported to a fantasy-land that almost crosses over to reality, I take a trip to Mitford.
As a Catholic, the whole "we're all happy Protestants in this town" can get to be a little wearing after a while, but it's also a nice reminder that there are still people of faith and moral uprightness out there. That might be another reason this series appeals to me - I live a basically religion-free existence, thanks to popular American culture, and that's okay for the most part. But at the end of the day, I often find myself longing to reassociate with religion in a non-invasive way, and these books do that for me with their gentle spirituality.
If people are expecting to read books with depth and underlying tensions and hidden hatreds, you're not going to find that here. I consider these books "vacation" from everyday life, and the heavier fare that I typically read. They are sweet and simple and take you to a place that you just might be able to create for yourself someday.