Home to Holly Springs
The First of the Father Tim Novels
ISBN 9780670018253 | 368 pages | 30 Oct 2007 | Viking Adult | 5.98 x 9.01in | 18 - AND UP
Christianity Today Award of Merit
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Readers of the nine bestselling Mitford novels have been captivated by Jan Karon’s “gift for illuminating the struggles that creep into everyday lives—along with a vividly imagined world” (People). They learned quickly that “after you’ve spent time in Mitford, you’ll want to come back” (Chicago Tribune). Millions eagerly awaited the publication of each novel, relishing the story of the bookish and bighearted Episcopal priest and the extraordinary fullness of his seemingly ordinary life.“Far from Mitford and his beloved wife Cynthia, Father Tim Kavanagh enters unfamiliar emotional territory in the town of his birth.
Now, Jan Karon enchants us with the story of the newly retired priest’s spur-of-the-moment adventure. For the first time in decades, Father Tim returns to his birthplace, Holly Springs, Mississippi, in response to a mysterious, unsigned note saying simply: “Come home.” Little does he know how much these two words will change his life. A story of long-buried secrets, forgiveness, and the wonder of discovering new people, places, and depth of feeling, Home to Holly Springs will enthrall new readers and longtime fans alike.
When he receives a letter postmarked Holly Springs, Miss., that contains a cryptic two-word message written in a precise, old-fashioned hand, Father Tim decides to answer its call and return to his birthplace for the first time in 38 years. On the long drive, he faces unanswered questions and half-forgotten memories: What happened to his boyhood chum and blood brother, Tommy? What caused his father's melancholy that bordered on cruelty? What happened to Peggy, the adored black caregiver who disappeared when he was 11? Who is trying to contact him, and why? As Father Tim awaits the letter writer, he is showered by blessings: He finds that his hometown has been beautifully restored, and he makes peace with an old flame. When the summons comes, it brings both joy and betrayal. He is reunited with his beloved Peggy, only to learn a terrible secret: She was carrying his father's child when she disappeared. When Peggy reveals that Henry, her son and Tim's half-brother, has leukemia and can only survive with a transfusion from a compatible sibling, Tim has to struggle to reach the decision he knows is right. In this setting away from home, we see Father Tim in a new light as he wrestles with his past and explores the origins of his religious convictions. The saga veers into magical theater as Karon (Cynthia Coppersmith's Violet Comes to Stay, 2006, etc.) ties up every loose end in Tim's past. But readers who miss Mitford's colorful eccentrics will be satisfied by Holly Springs's ample supply of quirky characters.
Karon's deft interweaving of past and present infuses the Mitford saga with new energy.”
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