HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: A Light in the Window: The Mitford Years, Book 2
Author: Jan Karon
Cover Illustrator: Donna Kae Nelson
Publisher: Viking Adult, republished in 1998
ISBN-13: 978-0670882267 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0670882267 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0140254549 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0140254544 (Paperback)
Related website: http://www.penguinputnam.com (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Karon, Jan. A Light in the Window: The Mitford Years, Book 2 (originally published in 1995 by Lion Publishing; republished in 1996 by Penguin Books USA Inc., a division of the Penguin Group, 375 Hudson St., New York City, NY 10014). The Mitford books about a sixtyish Episcopalian minister named Timothy Cavanaugh, a life-long bachelor, living in a small North Carolina town called Mitford are among my wife’s favorites. I read the first, At Home in Mitford, a few years ago. Karen recently checked out a compact disc audiobook version of the second, A Light in the Window, to listen to while on a trip. We didn’t get it completed before it had to go back, so I finished reading the book. Cynthia Coppersmith, Tim’s attractive neighbor, is tugging at his heartstrings. Edith Mallory, a wealthy widow, is pursuing him with hot love-potion casseroles. And his red-haired Irish Cousin Meg has moved into the rectory, uninvited. Will Tim ever muster up the courage to ask Cynthia to marry him?
Jan Karon is both a great storyteller and a good writer. The book contains some things that I wish it didn’t. Cynthia says “poop” several times. Tim’s favorite exclamation is “blast,” which is a “polite” euphemism for the “d” word. A lot of people use “Good Lord” or “O Lord” as interjections. And there are a few references to drinking various kinds of wine. I assume that Karon includes these items to make her characters and story sound “realistic.” (Someone has said where there are three or four Episcopalians, there is usually a “fifth.”) However, in spite this, there is something charming and piquant about the small-town life and eccentric personalities. And while not everyone will agree with every action taken or view expressed, the books do generally present a sense of integrity and solid Biblical values. Tim is a “real” person with very human characteristics, but his basic goodness will restore one’s faith in humanity. Esther Cunningham, the mayor of Mitford, says that Mitford always takes care of its own. Tim and Cynthia’s story continues in These High, Green Hills.