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Home to Holly Springs (Father Tim #1)

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  8,611 Ratings  ·  910 Reviews
"Readers" of the nine bestselling Mitford novels have been captivated by Jan Karon's ?gift for illuminating the struggles that creep into everyday lives?along with a vividly imagined world? ("People"). Millions have relished the story of the bookish and big-hearted Episcopal priest and the fullness of his seemingly ordinary life. Now, in the first novels of a new series, J ...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Penguin Books (first published 2007)
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Rose The front of the book says "The first of the Father Tim Novels." Although the book begins right after his 70th birthday, it also has a lot of the…moreThe front of the book says "The first of the Father Tim Novels." Although the book begins right after his 70th birthday, it also has a lot of the backstory that we never completely read about in the other Mitford series--like why Timothy Kavanagh had such a poor relationship with his father.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 27, 2010 karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: it-is-for-class
so i figured this, which i read for the christian/gentle segment of R/A class, would be the beigest of the beige: dentist office carpeting, hotel room art, supermarket music (although my supermarket plays a lot of corey hart and toad the wet sprocket, so - awesome) but what i didn't count on from "gentle reading" was quite so much attempted rape, whipping, and use of the word "nigger" by white people. sure, it takes place in mississippi, whose racial tolerance has come a long way, baby (oh, but ...more
Nov 30, 2007 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fiction
It is so hard to explain what happens to me when I read the Father Tim books. I laugh, I cry, I can't wait to finish the book and yet I don't want it to end. Is it because Father Tim is a minister who is so humanly fallible? Or is it because he is surrounded by intriguing people and circumstances that make such a good story?
One thing that appeals to me is that even though Karon's characters struggle and face hard decisions and physical difficulties (in other words, all of life!) she writes in
Reading this book was like sitting on the porch sipping lemonade and talking with old friends. Truth be told it reminded me of my childhood days listening to my parents and family talk about the old days. I was thinking back to the visits to Kentucky listening to conversation and meals at the dinner table. One of my favorite things to do is to read and when a book helps me to re-capture a memory of an age long gone, I am quite happy. There are few authors that can handle conversation between cha ...more
Oct 24, 2008 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
With the shift away from Mitford, I wondered how things would work for the Father Tim stories. Well...just fine!

This was my second time reading it and it was worth multiple readings. Probably the most emotionally charged in a way, potent with Father Tim's memories of growing up, as he fills in the gaps between what he remembers and the realities he didn't understand (or wasn't even aware of). After the years of "dropped hints" in the other Mitford novels, it was cool to get a more full story re
Julie Gentino
Jan Karon's Mitford series are my comfort books - the first books that come to mind when I am sick or depressed or just need a light, heart-warming read. It is hard for me to describe just how much I love these books and the characters in them, but let's just say my husband thinks it's very weird! Home to Holly Springs is the first of Karon's new Father Tim series (sequel to the Mitford series). The reviews I had read said it is not as good and I would agree with them. Karon is a terrific story- ...more
The Library Lady
The believability factor of the Mitford books has always been dicey, but this goes beyond that and into fairy tale land. Without giving much away,Father Tim goes home and finds ALL of his various long lost friends and relations--often by pure serendipity. And hasn't Karon used the "relative you didn't know you had" bit once too often? Or does everyone born south of the Mason Dixon line fornicate that freely?
(If so, I am worrying for my daughters--I live in Virginia :) )

This is a cozy read, like
Oct 07, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Given that I'm generally down on most things religious, it's a wonder even to me that I am inordinately fond of Jan Karon's numerous works about Father Tim, his wife Cynthia, the fictional North Carolina town of Mitford and their collective "adventures." Karon has created an entire world populated with interesting, funny and all-too-human people. She brings us with them as they grow and change over a number of years. Tim is an Episcopal priest and faith has a large place in these works. But the ...more
3.5 stars. I am a huge fan of the Mitford Series and love Jan Karon's soothing beautiful writing. I liked the story, it was interesting to learn about Father Tim's childhood, but it wasn't as magical as the Mitford books. There were moments of that in this book...many that made me tear up and I did come to love Peggy and Henry and T and Ray and others :) Even so, I missed all the Mitford folks!
Glenda L
Sep 01, 2015 Glenda L rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read all of The Mitford Series books and loved them. This one fills in the early life of Father Tim. He travels back home for the first time in 38 years. He received an envelope with a note that says Come Home. There are many stories of his childhood, some he remembered and some that surprised him very much. I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to anyone who has read the Mitford Series.
Dec 27, 2007 Red rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Totally LOVED this book. Travel with Father Tim back to his home town. Find out what happened to his family and boyhood friends. Laugh and cry with him as he remembers, revisits and renews.

There has to be, at the very least, two more books. We must have the upcoming trip to Ireland with cousin Walter and his wife, and then the story where Dooley and Lace finally get married.
Oct 20, 2016 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes you cannot divorce a book from the personal context in which you read it. In this case, it was a divine pairing. Just when I needed it most, I reached some of the most climactic events in this grace-filled work. It ministered to me and helped me to better handle the challenges I was facing.

Briefly, my son, vice president of his freshman class, got in trouble at school for horseplay, was railroaded through a kangaroo court, was not allowed to offer a defense (or to speak at all) and no
Jul 31, 2016 Joyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Public library copy. This is the first in the Father Tim series. I read the Mitford series first. I recommend reading the Father Tim series where it goes in the order of the Mitford series, which is between #9 Light From Heaven and #10 Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, I believe. This book does stand alone, as all of her books do, but if you like reading books in the order in which they happened, that's where it goes.

I really enjoyed this book. It told the story of Father Tim's childhood, thin
Oct 10, 2012 Ginger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book in the end. It was a little hard getting there, because as one reviewer said, this is Karon's "most emotionally complex novel."

Truth be told, I've avoided reading the Father Tim novels for years, because I've just loved Mitford too much, and I didn't want it to really end. But I've been rereading the whole series this year (they are great comfort when going through major life changes of your own), so I thought I'd finally delve on in.

I love going to Mitford to escape. And I've
Loni Spendlove
Jan 06, 2017 Loni Spendlove rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It felt wonderful to cozy up with Father Tim on his return to his hometown to make meaning and peace with his childhood scars. You don't need to read the Mitford Series to enjoy this book, but it would give you a little context into Timothy Kavanaugh's story. Having said that, the characters are colorful and complex, the story is heartwarming and the message of forgiveness is one we can all learn from. I would have given it 5 stars, except I had to admit (as much as I love a happy ending) that t ...more
Nov 27, 2007 Manysibs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've liked all the Mitford books, but this one really touched my heart.

Father Tim is back home, and is mostly just "Timmy Cavanagh". Going home is always wonderful and always hard. Jan Karon got the emotion right, and it plays out beautifully.

Knowing a bit more about the beginning of Father Tim's life put so many things in place for me in the other books. And a few in my own story as well.

Father Tim has always reminded me a bit of my brother, David--also a minister until his death and a bache
Apr 15, 2015 Jodi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I'm usually not a "series" person, but I find these books continue to have great content and quality that challenge and touch me every time. I have *listened* to all of them (highly recommend), so I'm not sure how I would have responded to reading them myself. I'm not completely sure why I enjoy them so much when other close friends "can't get into them." I guess we just enjoy different types of books. Someday I'll find my "bosom (reading) friend." :) I think it has something to do with me enjoy ...more
Ellen Trautner
I love the Mitford series, and this is the beginning of a spinoff series about Father Tim, the main character, going off on adventures outside Mitford. While it was enjoyable and wholesome, I missed Mitford and all the "regulars" and I just didn't really care about the new characters that much, except for the mysterious Peggy. I also got confused a lot, because there were a lot of unannounced flashbacks that were disorienting. This story was about Father Tim finally returning to his hometown and ...more
Apr 03, 2009 Tammy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyed having my favorite characters back but it was a pretty tough book emotionally - lots of deep issues of Father Tim facing his past. So probably not the best timing for me reading the book as what I really needed was an uplifting or light book at this time in my life right now. Normally each of her books had a few darker/ deeper issues that were dealt with and a lot of lighter mixed in - but this did not have as much lighter fair to help lift the heavy moods for me. Maybe it was just my st ...more
Mar 31, 2009 Karrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite paragraph below, from page 348.

A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in. a minute to smile and an hour to weep in, A pint of joy to a peck of trouble, And never a laugh but the moans come double. And that is Life. A crust and a corner that love makes precious, With a smile to warm and tears to refresh us, And joy seems sweeter when cares come after, And a moan is the finest of foils for laughter. And that is life.
Dec 04, 2007 Mom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jan Karon fans
This book fills out Father Tim's background as it goes into his past and gives a fuller understanding of what has shaped his personality. My mother called it a darkish book but I liked the way it hit head-on tough issues that caused F. Tim to walk closer to the Lord, to put God's power into practice and to see His hand working for good in spite of human frailty/failures. Characteristically Karon in humor,quotes and joy...
Nov 07, 2016 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book although I read it "out of order." This filled in many gaps in Father Tim's past life growing up as a boy in Holly Springs, AR. Father Tim is summoned back mysteriously to Holly Springs where he finds many of his old friends and even his "nanny" (Peggy) who left him abruptly when he was still young with no explanation or goodbye. He even discovers a half-brother he never knew existed. Looking forward to the next Father Tim novel (which I think is already out!)
Robyn Whitlock
I'll admit it--I'm a Mitford fan. I was thrilled when I saw this book. And, to it's credit, I couldn't put it down once I started reading.

While I love the characters in this series, and this book added a great deal to my insight into Father Tim, the whole thing was a little too contrived. It all bundled up too neatly for my liking. There wasn't a single loose end at the end of this story, which normally wouldn't bother me, but these were some big issues!
May 04, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
After hearing Jan Karon in person in 2015, I decided to reread the Mitford books, this time in order and without skipping any. What a refreshing literary romp. I love the people and all that they bring to each other. Home to Holly Springs differs from the earlier books on purpose as Jan digs into Father Tim's past. It is a lovely story and a reminder that from the hardest soil a beautiful plant can grow.
Jan 18, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, ann-s-favorites
I cannot believe how quickly I finished this book. I adored the Mitford books and could not get them fast enough. By the time Jan Karon decided to start her new series, I just didn't get around to reading this one. She does a beautiful job at reminding me about all that brings Father Tim to his seventieth year and his trip home. This was a book full of memories and revelations for Father Tim and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jan 31, 2008 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the Mitford series. I picked this book up and wondered if it would be as enjoyable. I thought it was very good, and maybe even better.

There are a few carry over characters, but mostly we are introduced to new characters. I did feel like it wrapped up pretty quickly at the end, but it was still good.
Joy Gerbode
Mar 17, 2011 Joy Gerbode rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In places some of the history got a bit tedious and I had trouble following ... but in the end it was all very important to the further development of Father Tim. His history is unfolded in this book, with many surprises, and some delightful insight, and a whole lot of forgiveness! Another great story!
Jul 04, 2008 SB rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so it got a little sappy and definitely should be read last after the rest of the series. This series develops the characters so you feel you know them and want to read about them again. It is a sweet, poignant set of stories that uplift.
Kris Wells
Feb 24, 2008 Kris Wells rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Father Tim! I hadn't read a Mitford book in years and SO enjoyed this one! The characters are like old (and eccentric :) friends. The storyline may not be the most realistic but it doesn't keep me from thoroughly enjoying the books. Can't wait to read the next one!
Jun 03, 2015 Leann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Totally enjoyed this book I have read almost all the other from the mitford series and find this so far is my favorite
Jul 07, 2012 Robbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as the Mitford books, but still worth reading.
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Mitford Lovers!: Thoughts on the Father Tim Series? 1 4 May 20, 2017 06:19AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #161 - Home to Holly Springs 1 1 Sep 16, 2015 11:16AM  
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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 about Jan Karon...

Other Books in the Series

Father Tim (2 books)
  • In the Company of Others (Father Tim, #2)

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“I'd like you to know that I have forgiven him. Again and again. Once done, course, back comes the Enemy to persecute and persecute, and I must ante up to God and forgive yet again.” 65 likes
“Easter is never deserved.” 29 likes
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