Home to Holly Springs
The First of the Father Tim Novels
by Jan Karon
In Home to Holly Springs, Father Tim gets a note that says, "Come home." That's it. No other words. No signature. Yet he feels compelled to go home; back to Holly Springs, Mississippi, where he was born and raised. As a person who still lives in the area where I was brought up, I know that to others, those who have moved away, our hometown is different, changed, not the same. But to me who has watched it through the changes, it is not so shocking. When we do move away, we expect our childhoods to be as pressed flowers in a book. We want our house to look the same and for Main Street to have the same stores. On a deeper level, sometimes people leave to escape a sad childhood. They leave behind troubles and angers and disappointments, thinking they won't crop up again if they live somewhere else. We have seen throughout the Mitford books that Father Tim does have secrets and pain in his past. In this book, when he gets the note, he decides to go back, whatever the cost.
I'm not going to give away one little thing from this book. If you love Father Tim, and have loved the Mitford series, I'll only say, please read this one. It fills in the spaces for the reader. We learn a lot about his past. It is lovely because Jan Karon includes parts from the other books, episodes we remember, little vignettes that made us want more details.
As you may recall, when Light From Heaven ended, Father Tim and Cynthia were supposed to embark on an Ireland trip come summer, but she hurts her ankle and they postpone it. Because of the injury, Father Tim takes Barnabas, the dog, now nicknamed 'The Old Gentleman,' on his journey home.
There is a very funny misprint in the book when they meet up again in Memphis.
Now allowed to drink, she had lost no time in renting a car and amusing herself at the library, a museum, and the bookstores.
Of course, it was meant to read "to drive" but this made me laugh out loud.
We meet many new friends in this book, and when Father Tim says he'll be back, I sure hope he will. I want to spend more time with all these folks. Oh, how I loved this book.