Shepherds Abiding (Mitford Years, #8)
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Shepherds Abiding (Mitford Years #8)

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  7,604 ratings  ·  272 reviews
Millions of Americans have found Mitford to be a favorite home-away-from-home, and countless readers have long wondered what Christmas in Mitford would be like. The eighth Mitford novel provides a glimpse, offering a meditation on the best of all presents: the gift of one?s heart. Since he was a boy, Father Tim has lived what he calls ?the life of the mind? and has never r...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 28th 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 2003)
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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithCold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann BurnsFresh Start Summer by Beverly NaultShepherds Abiding by Jan KaronWhere the Wind Blows by Caroline Fyffe
Gentle Fiction
4th out of 20 books — 18 voters
Great Expectations by Charles DickensWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëWhere Angels Fear To Tread by E.M. ForsterHowards End by E.M. ForsterMansfield Park by Jane Austen
Covers showing House Fronts
92nd out of 250 books — 44 voters


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Ann Marie
I read Jan Karon's Shepherds Abiding every year at Christmas time and every year I find another heart warming message I hadn't found before. This years message was 'The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.' It wasn't even close to any usual Christmas message I've treasured over the years. But the part about keeping an untroubled spirit encouraged such a feeling of free-spiritness in me. This book is about how an ret...more
Judy King
Who knew that books could be just like comfort food? I've not read the Mitford books, stumbled onto this one (#8) because I'm on a Christmas-book reading binge this month.

I listened to this one and it was like having mac and cheese made by mom, or vanilla wafer/banana pudding or homemade egg custard with nutmeg browned on top. SIGH...I feel like I've gone home -- At various times during the story I felt as if I was in my childhood home town. Then there were parts that reminded me of the town wh...more
Lorraine

“Shepherd’s Abiding” is a warm and fuzzy book that is part of the Mitford Years Series. I read about three or four of the series and always felt refreshed after reading them. Places like Mitford are where we all want to be at times—away from the maddening crowd.
In this novel Father Tim and his wife Cynthia are preparing for Christmas. It begins in October when everyone is waiting for the maples to turn their brilliant colors. He finds an old plaster nativity set in the antique store and is someh...more
Lizabeth Tucker
Part of the wonderful Mitford series, this one is concerning Christmas and how everyone is dealing with the approaching holidays. Father Tim is shown a well-worn nativity set from the 19th Century that is badly in need of repair and repainting. Encouraged by his antique store friends, he dives in, hoping to complete it as a gift for his beloved wife. Things are changing in Mitford as they do all over. The Grill is closing, the husband and wife owners finally retiring. That leaves the townspeople...more
Kelly
I'm going to write the same thing for the entire series. It's a syrupy sweet old fashioned read which does not demand anything of the reader. Many find the series feel good, and there are some sparkles of true conflict here and there, but mostly it's about the mundane daily plight of a vicar who finds love later in life and saves people - emotionally and physically.

If you like the first in the series, keep reading because you will be comforted by the characters and will want to see who is added...more
Stephanie Blake
I have read nearly everything Jan Karon has written. Reading any book in her Mitford series is a great way to relax. This was no exception. I enjoyed it just like I enjoyed the rest of her books. She has a true gift for making you want to be part of the family in Mitford!
Timothy Darling
It's a pleasure to return to Mitford, it's been a few years since I read any of these books. With all the Science Fiction "the whole world is at stake" and Mystery "it's all life and death" reading I do, I enjoy getting into something in which the focus is more commonplace. A meaningful hand made gift, the goings on of family dynamics, normal working life decisions and transitions. These are not the things that disrupt our lives, but change them and mold them in important ways. Never mind that J...more
Jenni Simmons
Like comfort food, this is a comfort book. I unabashedly love Jan Karon's novels.
Abby
Another wonderful Mitford book!
Sue
This is the eighth book in Jan Karon's 'Mitford' series. It's shorter than the majority: less than 300 pages, and print well spaced out, so I read it in less than two days.

It's a bit of a novelty book rather than an important one in the Mitford story; Christmas is approaching, and the retired Episcopal priest Father Tim spots a rather scruffy set of plaster nativity figures in the antique shop. Hoping to surprise his wife, he enlists the help of a couple of friends and sets to work to repair and...more
Angela
Karon works more homespun magic with this latest uplifting story set in sleepy Mitford, N.C. Father Timothy Kavanagh, stalwart of the Mitford series, is approaching 70 when he comes across pieces of an old English nativity scene at his friend Andrew Gregory's antique shop. The set has definitely seen better days, and Andrew is hoping that someone will volunteer to restore it. Who better than Father Tim, who seems to have reached a turning point in his life and needs a project to distract him? In...more
Ruth
Jun 22, 2010 Ruth marked it as to-read
304 pages.

Since he was a boy growing up in Mississippi, Father Tim has lived what he calls "the life of the mind." Except for cooking and gardening and washing his dog, he never learned to savor the work of his hands. And then he finds a derelict nativity scene-twenty figures, including a flock of sheep, that have suffered the indignities of time and neglect.

Could he give the small company new life? Restore the camel's ear, repaint every piece, replace a missing nose on a wise man? "You can't te...more
Cindy
12/10 - I decided, while reading this book, that Mitford novels are like milk chocolate. They do lack the sophistication and complexity of dark stuff - but they still make great comfort food.

I've been a long time enjoy-er of Karon's books, and this was like revisiting sweet memories. Like all the Mitford books, it's a gentle, simple story with a simple plot and lots of personal triumphs for the characters involved. The only thing I didn't like about this one was the passages told ENTIRELY in Unc...more
Angela
Dec 09, 2007 Angela rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like sweet, whimsical fiction
I read the rest of the "Mitford" books a LONNNG time ago, before this one had been written, so it was great fun to dip into the Mitford world again in a new story. Just a sweet, wonderful book. I listened to it in my car as I was going about town so it took me a while to get through, but the reader was excellent, and it really helped me savor the book rather than just slam through it. My friend Paula reads it every year around Christmas, and she bought me a paperback version of it as an early Ch...more
Sue
Father Tim finds an old nativity set badly in need of refinishing and determines to do it as a surprise Christmas present for Cynthia. While he's trying to be so secretive, much of the town knows he's spending a great deal of time at the Oxford, although he generally manages to keep secret what he's doing there. Meanwhile around town: the Grill is making plans to close for good on Christmas Eve, Hope has some decisions to make re. Happy Endings Bookstore, and Uncle Billy can't decide what to gi...more
Jeanne
This is a story of a retired priest, Father Tim. He has been given a derelict nativity set. He feels a calling to repair this set for his wife for Christmas. It is the story of the little town of Mitford, its people and their religious natures. It is a heart felt story. Loved the ending!
Britt Griffith
This was another great book from the Mitford series. As the title somewhat indicates, this one took place around Christmas time. It was the shortest in the series and occurred over a couple of months whereas the others took place over many months, sometimes years. These books usually don’t have a definitive plot, and I mean that in a good way. It just follows the lives of the people living in the town of Mitford, NC. I think one of the most appealing thing about this series is that Mitford seems...more
Laurie
I've lost track of how many times I've read this book...that would be a great feature here on Goodreads: allowing me to track each successive completion date. I know I read this first in 2003, and I'm sure I've read it at least three times since, including this year when I read it on Christmas Eve. I appreciate the change in Karon's narrative for this book, allowing each character's story to progress without the necessity of Father Tim's POV. Then, even though the omniscient 3rd persoon is emplo...more
Lisa
While I love Jan Karon's Mitford Years Book Series, this one was somewhat boring, compared to her others one. I was especially disappointed because it had such potential - the town mayor brought back from his travels a broken, sorely neglected Nativity Scene and Father Tim felt the urge to repair it, clean it up, repaint it and then make it his Christmas gift to his wife, Cynthia. Sure he had some happy family memories return that helped him reconcile his childhood but, I don't know, there wasn'...more
Rachelle
This book is the near the end in a series called the Mitford series. It's a quick and easy read. It's setting is the small town of Mitford and the main character is Timothy, the now retired preacher. This is a simple sweet Christmas book. It just brings in the warmth of friendship and love that we celebrate this time of year. I have enjoyed this series. As the author says she likes to "applaud the extraordinary beauty of ordinary lives." A gift from the heart, serving other people, enjoying the...more
Sharon Huether
Shepherds Abiding By Jan Karon This book takes the reader to Mitford and lets you glimpse into the lives of it's residences at Christmas. Father Tim has an old nativity set in his basement that he want to fix up for a present to his wife. There were two angels for the display and while working on one of them he drops it and it brakes. His wife finds the broken angel in the trash;she puts it together using her skills as a potter and when father Tim presents her with the renewed nativity set she p...more
Joyce Lagow

Eighth in the Father Tim Kavanaugh of Mitford, NC series.

It’s Advent, and Father Tim has found what he thinks will be the perfect gift for his wife, Cynthia: an old Nativity set in need of refurbishing. Although he has no skills in this area, Father Tim takes on the task with his usual enthusiasm, aided by friends. Dooley and Lace are quite the young adults, and Tim and Cynthia have a hard time keeping out of the way of the stormy relationship.

All of Karon’s strengths are present: sensitive writ...more
Saadia
A sweet story through the eyes and kind heart of retired Father Kavanagh, his family, his buddies and the other locals in Mitford. More than just a cozy village play, I noticed the profoundly human understandings shown by Father Tim and the tapestry of faith woven in his soul and his life. The author has a wonderful way of slipping her speech pattern into the voice of several characters, impersonating their deepest personal musings and longings. A delightful Christmas read. Sometimes stories do...more
Joy
I found this book a few years ago when I was looking for something Christmas-y to read. I did not realize this was part of a series until later, although I had no problem following the story or understanding the characters--with the exception of Dooley. I knew there was a backstory there that I wasn't getting.

This book was just what I needed to get in the holiday spirit. I love Father Tim's spirit of giving in so many ways. I fell in love with the characters and the little town of Mitford. I la...more
Andrea
Much as I have adored every other title in the Mitford series, I was at first inclined to pass over this seemingly stand-alone entry. I have fallen so deeply in love with the colorful, quirky, eccentric yet fiercely loyal characters that I didn't want to disrupt the flow. How glad am I that I ignored my first instinct and instead chose to finish this rather quick read!!

The story is completely engaging, many of the secondary events that unfolded were immensely satisfying (Hope's efforts to acquir...more
Karen Repka
I think I've outgrown or tired of the Mitford Series. I had not read one for years, so I forgot many of the characters, but Jan Karon did not help me much in remembering, especially since the writing is separated into snippets with little identification of who is talking or thinking! I really did not care one way or the other about the nativity set that was the focus of the book. I finished it because I had an 8 hour ride in the car during the holidays and was not the driver!
Kathy Worrell
It's funny that I didn't really find this book appealing! I had a bunch of Christmas novels and kept putting it aside, almost not reading it at all. What a shame that would have been. I wasn't a Jan Karon fan, even. I must have picked this book up somewhere along the way this past year. Anyway it's the 8th book in a series. The novel takes place in a town called Mitford. It's a comfortable tale about the people in Mitford and what happens to each of them prior to Christmas. I would say this book...more
Pattyrflg
A sweet Christmas story in the Mitford series. Father Tim Kavanaugh restores an old nativity scene for Cynthia's present. And, Cynthia has a special present in the makings for Tim. The story also focuses on other Mitford citizens and their dreams for the Christmas season. Hope Winchester wants to by the bookstore where she works. Lew Boyd wants his new wife, Earlene, to tell her mother about their marriage, retire and move to Mitford so he won't be so lonely anymore. Uncle Billy wants to make a...more
Barbara
Another Christmas-themed novel I pulled off the shelf. I got through most of it while waiting in the airport!

Always fun to drop in to Mitford for a visit, and this book is no exception. A little lighter maybe than some, but I enjoyed Father Tim discovering new skills, Hope discovering new courage, relationships growing and memories recalled and made anew. And the gentle reminder that perhaps giving is more about what's valued, than what it costs.

And I still get to the end wanting to see the comp...more
Mitzi Adkinson
This is the 8th book in the series, and one of my favorites right along with the first book. I loved the process of Father Tim's project and the symbolism throughout the book. It's not too complicated, but it is sweet, funny, and comforting. It is perfect for nighttime reading because you can nod off with pleasant dreams about this endearing little community. Try to read it near Christmas. It will be even more enjoyable. It brought tears to my eyes more than once as Jan Karon really does a good...more
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Born Janice Meredith Wilson in 1937, Jan Karon was raised on a farm near Lenoir, North Carolina. Karon knew at a very early age that she wanted to be a writer. She penned her first novel when she was 10 years old, the same year she won a short-story contest organized by the local high school. Karon married as a teenager and had a daughter, Candace.

At 18, Karon began working as a receptionist for...more
More about Jan Karon...
At Home in Mitford (Mitford Years, #1) A Light in the Window (Mitford Years, #2) A New Song (Mitford Years, #5) These High, Green Hills (Mitford Years #3) Out to Canaan (Mitford Years, #4)

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