I’ve read some stand-out series over the years, but my absolute favorite is the Mitford series by Jan Karon. It features an Episcopalian priest named Father Tim who lives in and serves the people of Mitford, a charming small town in North Carolina. He is retired and looking for projects to keep himself busy. His wife, Cynthia Coppersmith, is writing and illustrating another children’s book, and his adopted son, Dooley, is doing well at college. Yet, not everything is perfect. Sammy, Dooley’s wayward brother, is lashing out and getting into trouble with the law. Hope, the town’s bookstore owner, is ordered on bed rest during the final months of her pregnancy, which could mean that the bookstore will have to close. Father Tim’s replacement is involved in a major scandal that rocks the church. And Father Tim himself is struggling to avoid depression as he continues to come to terms with life after retirement.
The lovely thing about Karon’s books is that she takes people and events that seem mundane and everyday, and she imbues them with warmth and humor and life. She creates a world that you simply do not want to leave. And she does what any good writer does – she makes you care deeply for the characters in her story. Plus, she manages to share goodness and morality in ways that are not overly preachy. Even if you may not agree with every tenet of the faith that Father Tim espouses, you will still be able to enjoy the story and the life lessons. If you haven’t started this series, I highly recommend that you not waste any more time!