Monday, November 15, 2010

In the Company of Others: a Father Tim Novel

by Jan Karon,
Viking, 2010

I enjoyed Karon's Mitford series very much, as well as her first Father Tim novel; alas one doesn't always get equal excellence. While the story and substory are both solid plot lines, this reader experienced some confusion in keeping track of minor characters. This was not helped by the interspersing of current-day plot with journal entries from the past, nor by the fact that Father Tim 1 was published three years ago, and I've read a lot of other books in between.

Readers will enjoy the Irish setting of this novel, as well as the Irish characters. Father Tim and Cynthia have finally made the trip to Sligo and look forward to various jaunts around the Irish countryside. A mishap waylays their plans and they must stay closer to the B & B. This is a boon to the inn's owners, who are going through a variety of struggles and could use the pastoral support. This also gives Tim and his wife the chance to read through an old journal, which chronicles the story of Dr. Fintan and wife, Catherine, who settled in the area in the late 1700s and experienced their own struggles. Both stories wrap up satisfactorily at the end of the book, with Tim and Cynthia promising to return. Perhaps number 3 in the trilogy will be set in Ireland as well. This reader would like that. But she'd also like the author to produce it a little more quickly in order to maintain a better sense of who's who.

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