HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: These High, Green Hills: The Mitford Years #3
Author: Jan Karon
Illustrator: Donna Kae Nelson
Publisher: Penguin Books, reissued in 1997
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. These High, Green Hills: The Mitford Years #3 (published in 1996 by Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc., of the Penguin Group, 375 Hudson St., New York City, NY 10014). We heard this story as an audiobook while on a trip. Finally, Mitford’s Episcopalian minister and lifelong bachelor, Tim Kavanaugh, at age 63 has married his talented and vivacious neighbor, Cynthia Coppersmith. Now, of course, they must face love’s new challenges, such as sleeping arrangements for Father Tim’s sofa-sized dog Barnabas, Cynthia’s urge to decorate the rectory Italian-villa-style, and the growing pains of thirteen-year-old Dooley Barlowe, the thrown-away boy who’s become like a son to Tim. Then toss in for good measure a life-changing lost-in-a cave adventure on a youth-group camping trip, the arrival of the town’s first policewoman, a new computer for Lord’s Chapel that requires the patience of a saint, and a bloodied young girl in shredded clothes named Lacey Turner who was beaten by her drunken father.
In These High, Green Hills we’re once again in for another engrossing visit to Mitford, the small, southern, mountain village in North Carolina with local characters so heartwarming and hilarious that readers everywhere would love to call it home. Many people enjoy the Mitford books by Jan Karon, and others just don’t like them. Some of the latter think that they’re “too Christian,” while others think that they’re not Christian enough. But they are true to life with both joys and sorrows. Everyone turns out for benefactress Sadie Baxter’s ninetieth birthday, but they must later grieve for her passing. One reviewer said, “The heavily quoted scripture gives a day-to-day context for biblical teachings as well as spiritual solace during the sadder days at Mitford.” There are a few common euphemisms and a little bit of drinking alcohol, but nothing obscene or immoral–no foul language, explicit sex, fast car chases, or gruesome murders. The nastiest word is “poop.” Some have suggested that Book 6, which is a detailed story of Timothy and Cynthia’s wedding, actually fits in best between books 2 and 3.