....about Jan Karon's Mitford novels, from Christianity Today's Books and Culture newsletter.
And I agree with this, also:
People either love these novels or hate them. Some readers treasure their sojourns in Mitford because real life lacks the certain warm community feeling that Mitford has in spades. Others dismiss this very sensibility as a tad too twee. (An aside: I learned the word twee from a Milford novel. Cynthia drops it into a letter to Father Tim in A Light in The Window, a fact that itself might inspire naysayers to rest their case, screeching "Who on earth uses the adjective twee?").
I'm obviously in the first camp, but nonetheless I must repeat a disclaimer I issue every time I ruminate about Jan Karon's Mitford novels: I realize that they are not Great Literature. I realize that they are not comparable to the very novels I will, in a few paragraphs, compare them to. But they are excellent specimens of what they are. I have read just about every Mitford knockoff published in recent years, and Karon's stylistic sensibility, humor, and local color beat the copy-cats by a country mile. Not to mention the fact that the first two novels in the series were hugely significant in my own conversion to Christianity. This, it seems to me, is one of God's little jokes: other people get to tell about how Dostoyevsky or Karl Barth drew them to Christianity, while intellectually prideful me will spend the rest of my life explaining that I was converted in part through the ministrations of fictional Father Tim.
Except I wasn't converted by Fr. Tim. I just love him.