edding bells are ringing in MitfordIt's been more than a decade since Jan Karon made the leap from an award-winning career as an advertising executive to try her hand at writing. What a wise decision! Since then, her heartwarming, best-selling series about the delightful North Carolina town of Mitford has enchanted the hearts of millions of readers.
The first book, At Home in Mitford, introduced Episcopal rector Tim Kavanaugh and the village where he lived. Subsequent books followed Father Tim in his daily task of balancing parish and community obligations. His continuing romance with his lovely neighbor Cynthia was also well documented. Karon's fans know every detail in the lives of Mitford's colorful cast of characters. There are Web sites devoted to Jan Karon and Mitford, a regular newsletter for fans, and there's even talk of a television movie. Just one tiny detail has been left out of the stories until now.
We know how Father Tim and Cynthia met and fell in love, and we've seen them living the blissful life of a happily married couple. But what happened at their wedding? Karon addresses this consuming curiosity in a new installment of the Mitford story, A Common Life: The Wedding Story (audio, $24.95, ISBN 014180274X), due in stores this month.
Taking her readers back in time, Karon describes of one of the most anticipated weddings in literary history.
The whole town turns out to help Father Tim and Cynthia tie the knot. Esther is making her famous orange marmalade cake, Uncle Billy is practicing his best jokes and young Dooley is to sing the wedding solo. Of course, there are the inevitable wedding-day glitches along the way that will leave readers in stitches by the time the ceremony takes place.
While A Common Life is the shortest book in the Mitford series (at just under 200 pages), it is, as always, a celebration of love, laughter and joy. Devoted fans will be ecstatic to know that a special five-volume boxed set compiling the previous Mitford novels, titled The Mitford Years (Penguin, $64.75, ISBN 0147715962), will also be released this month as a part of the celebration of this series' phenomenal success.
So get out your hankies, and get ready to laugh and cry as this much-loved duo walks down the aisle.
Sharon Galligar Chance is a book reviewer in Wichita Falls, Texas, who loves a good wedding.