If Proust hadn't already used Remembrance of Things Past, Jan Karon could have used that title for the first of the Father Tim novels. Instead, Father Tim Kavanaugh returns Home to Holly Springs.
At seventy, Father Tim is happily retired in Mitford, North Carolina, when he receives a mysterious letter with only two words, "Come home." Since his wife, Cynthia, is laid up with her foot in a cast, he packs up his dog, Barnabas, and sets out for Holly Springs, Mississippi. He faces the trip with some trepidation, because all of his memories of home are not pleasant.
It's a treat for readers of the Mitford series to discover Father Tim's hometown, and his childhood. There have been teasers in previous books, but, in this one, fans finally find out about his home life. The book starts slowly, with long descriptions of Holly Springs. However, it's the unraveling of a life story, and readers need to stick with the story. Perhaps all of Father Tim's puzzles are wrapped up too neatly, but it's a satisfying ending, with surprises for Father Tim, and the readers.
Jan Karon's website is Mitfordbooks.com
Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon. Viking, ©2007, ISBN 9780670018253 (hardcover), 356p.