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Home to Harmony

(Harmony #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,379 ratings  ·  435 reviews
Come home to Harmony, Indiana, a peaceful slice of small-town America, as Sam Gardner, Harmony-born and raised, begins his inaugural year as pastor to a new flock of old friends, family members, and outrageous eccentrics -- in this unforgettable place where earth-shattering events rarely occur, but small life-altering ones happen daily.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Avon (first published 2000)
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Vicki This is a delightful read. I am not religious either and don't think one needs to believe in order to appreciate this author's wonderful humor and…moreThis is a delightful read. I am not religious either and don't think one needs to believe in order to appreciate this author's wonderful humor and sense of humanity. I highly recommend this book. . .you will feel good after each chapter!(less)

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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,379 ratings  ·  435 reviews

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Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books I'd like to give a 3.5
It is, as the book jacket indicates, a cross between Jan Karon's "Mitford" series and Garrison Keillor's "Lake Woebegone" tales - a genre I've tentatively decided to call "Nostalgic Pastoral Fiction," with "Pastoral" used in its older sense rather than its religious one. (Although in this case it would work either way.) In "Harmony," each chapter is a loosely connected anecdote from the life of one of the denizens of the small Mid-Western town of
I'm almost done with this, and I must say it's not something I would have been looking for. This book is a spiritual, inspirational, making your soul feel good... a far cry from the vampire/paranormal erotic romance I've been reading! I happen to be cruising the aisles at my library and the binding jumped out at me. all the books in the series were there so i grabbed the first and got comfy in a chair. Reading the first couple chapters I didn't know what I had been reading. I thought it was just ...more
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the reviews on the back of this is from Library Journal, which called the book "filled with grace." They're absolutely right. Sometimes, Christian fiction can be so heavy-handed, but this was just beautiful. Having gone to a church in small-town Indiana (and also having actually been to the real Harmony), I could totally appreciate the characters who hated change, the characters who wanted change more than most other things, the characters who loved all the weird crotchetiness but wouldn' ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I can't remember the last time I read a book that had me literally laughing out loud quite as much as this book did.

Mitford fans will definitely love Harmony. The characters are every bit as real and human as the Mitford residents. By the end of the book, I felt like I really knew these characters. Once you've laughed and cried alongside them, its hard not to feel connected to them.

Philip Gulley has a perfect formula, it seems. In nearly every chapter, he would introduce the character and the
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short, anecdotal, character driven stories of small town life filled with simple truths. I laughed out loud a couple times and even wept a bit, but then I am a sentimentalist. A folksy, witty style of writing that seems grounded in real life. In this case, it is the life of a Friends Meeting.
What kept me reading was the common place situations that occur in every congregation. There is always the "traditionalists" who speak loud over their fear of any change. There are the wounded who occasional
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Having read Phillip Gulley's "Front Porch Tales," I was eager and intrigued to pick up his first work of fiction, "Home to Harmony." And I'm happy to report that the magic and wonder that made "Front Porch Tales" such an enjoyable read is present here.

The story is told from the perspective of Sam Gardner, who grew up in the small town of Harmony and has now returned as the minsiter of the local Quaker congreagation. There's no real plot to the novel, so much as there are anecdotes about the vari
Sep 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Horrible book for so many reasons. I almost gagged at the end of each chapter when the author tried to give us his philosophical Maxisms. So cliche. So cheesy. The book had absolutely no structure and was wandering from story to story with hardly any character development of our dear pastor. It's quite obvious that the author (also a pastor) fashioned this entire book around his little philosophical nuggets, while the plot and everything else took a backseat. I was hoping for another great "Mitf ...more
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loved it! Read this at a time in my life when I just needed something that makes you feel good. This is not like a regular novel. Each chapter is a story in and of itself about life in a small town. I laughed several times and the lessons to be learned at the end of each chapter were good to think about during this holiday season.
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the idea behind this book. Small town preacher ... His flock... Small life stories. But overall there was 0 plot. And every chapter ends with a little tribute to good that is way too heavy handed. The writer has a sweet style, but in the end cannot tell a story and does not seem to have anything new to say.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love this series of books by Philip Gulley. They are about a Quaker minister, his church, and his small town in Indiana. Some parts are just laugh out loud funny. These books would be great to take on a trip when you need some interesting light hearted reading.
Kim Faires
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
A lot like the Mitford series but makes you think about deep truths.
Nancy Cook-senn
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Delightful tales of a young pastor coming home to minister and his experiences -- good, bad, humorous, poignant -- in dealing with his flock.
Leaon Star
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Philip Gulley has thee coolest style of writing. It reminded me of the Mitford series, yet... to me; was even better.
Sarah Grace Grzy
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 13+ for one 'adult' instance
I really enjoyed this book! I love the small town feel, the humor, and the profound moments at the end of each chapter. It reminded me in some ways of Jan Karon's At Home In Mitford, but thankfully wasn't a Mitford Copycat. Some of the "Quaker-isms" bothered me a bit, but not enough to make me not read it. Also there was one chapter in the middle that was . . a bit . . . adult. Ahem. The book could have done without that one. :P

What I loved most about this book was the profound 'lessons' at the
Krista C
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Home to Harmony is a collection of the everyday experiences of Harmony's residents. This "light read" is delightful. I laughed and I cried and I loved it. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like a break from all the seriousness of this world.
Chris Gager
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Picked this up last night while looking for something light and I'd have to say, this is pretty darned light! How interesting that I picked up two consecutive books by religious people(this guy's a Quaker minister). The first one was unreadable to me after a few pages but this one's pretty cool so far. The cliched thematic sweetness(plenty of the granular "white death" has been consumed already!)quotient is pretty high but not a turn-off so far. The whole picture IS very whitey-white small town ...more
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
From flyleaf: Welcome to Harmony, a tiny town hidden beneath the staple in the Rand McNally Atlas....

Equal parts hilarious and poignant, this is a quick, light read. Gulley is a good writer and it is easy to picture each person/scene he describes. Miss Rudy in Chapter 7 was my favorite. But Miriam Hodges ran a close second. There is a "Jan Karon/Mitford" feel to the narrative, but it somehow falls short, probably because you can't really go in depth with short vignettes.
Sep 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't expecting to like this book so much, as I randomly picked it up off the shelf as I chased after my kids in the library, but I started looking more and more forward to reading it every day. It isn't one of those books, mind you, that leaves you hiding from family in the bathroom (hehe), but it is an uplifting collection of little occurrences in a fictitious town. I laughed when I read about Dale Hinshaw, the typical trouble-causer of the local church. I cried when I read about Sam wishin ...more
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Want to feel better and more hopeful about your life, your family, your friends, neighbors, town and Country, while the world seems to be dissolving around us? Read this book - it's a wonderful, easy-reading diversionary book. It's not "War & Peace" but good to read after "War and Peace". It makes you smile and tear-up and peppers-in some good basic life rules and observations and some real good theology. There is more to this book than just a 'feel-good' read.It made me think. I loved this ...more
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Gulley's books cross generations. My grandma gave this book to my mom, who later gave it to me. This is feel good lit about a small community, with Quaker pastor Sam leading the way through narrating his adventures. A start of the lengthy series, it's hard connecting with the characters, as each receives a chapter, but by the book's end, expect tears for Amanda's spelling bee championship and adoption, bitterness against Dale, and love and laughter throughout reading. I'm touched by the stories ...more
Tamika Koehn
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I read four books in this series written by a Quaker preacher, about a Quaker preacher. The members of his church some of the most annoying, hard headed individuals. The most asinine things are done because thats the way they've always done them and change is not welcome. They are passionate, it's just misplaced, like when one man decides his ministry is to feed chickens scripture written on peices of paper and then hand the eggs out to sinners.
Nov 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: some Christians, small-town people
This is such an easy homey and comfortable, it feels like a soft blanket. My husband and I found this collection of stories from a small Mid-Western town pastor of a Friends congregation quite funny, heart-warming and so very familiar to our experiences in the church. Yet it is not all simple because it is about people and community; each chapter leaves the reader with something to think from a Christian perspective.
Feb 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Book club selection. Meh. Just not my cup of tea. I found the characters poorly drawn caricatures. The homespun humor seemed contrived and formulaic. No plot, each chapter was essentially stand alone.

About half the group really enjoyed it and found the gentle stories funny. I was glad it was short.
Leigh Anne Wilkes
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a fun new series I discovered this summer. If you are a fan of the Mitford Series you will enjoy the Harmony series. They are sweet, simple easy reads about a quaint little community and all the characters that live there. You may just want to move to Harmony after you are done reading it just like I wanted to move to Mitford!
Feb 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I just love this book! This is my third time through it and I still laugh and cry just like I did the first time. The characters remind me of people in my own church, the humor is light and laced with affection, and the insights contain wonderful bits of truth. I can't say enough good things about it!
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-my-kindle
Just a down home, feel good, easy to read book of short sections that make you think about things a little bit differently. I enjoyed it and will be reading more in the series. The story telling gave a small town vibe and made you feel as if you were a part of it.
Seems like a knock off of the Mitford books, but not nearly as good. Especially troubling to me is the feeling that the author really doesn't respect religion at all. At least the Mitford series takes religion seriously. This just seemed silly, and a little condescending to me.
Nov 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philip Gulley's fictional church in Harmony, Indiana is the basis for an entire series of books.

The people are very familiar types to any church (of any type).
Easy to read with a good sense of compassion and humor for all of the foibles of humanity.

Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2006-earlier
Loved this series, wonderful, irritating characters
Dec 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was okay with this book (though not overwhelmed) up until Gulley rewrote the memory of a Vice President of the United States, William Almon Wheeler. Made him die 5 years earlier, and so forgotten that people didn't even know he was dead (untrue). In place of accomplishments before holding office, Gulley gave him a lack of ambition; in fact Wheeler held a degree in law and sought and held a number of local positions before running for and being elected as a U.S. Representative for the State of ...more
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SLCLS Genre Study: What is your favorite Christian series? 6 21 Nov 18, 2015 06:21PM  
  • A Miracle for St. Cecilia's
  • A Can of Peas
  • The Lumby Lines (Lumby Series Book 1)
  • Dearest Dorothy, Are We There Yet? (Dearest Dorothy, #1)
  • Miss Julia Stands Her Ground (Miss Julia, #7)
  • The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love (Ladies of Covington, #1)
  • Light from Heaven (Mitford Years, #9)
  • The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek
  • Friendship Cake (Hope Springs #1)
  • Rebecca's Rose (Forever After in Apple Lake #2)
  • Ladies with Options
Philip Gulley has become the voice of small-town American life. Along with writing Front Porch Tales, Hometown Tales, and For Everything a Season, Gulley is the author of the Harmony series of novels, as well as If Grace Is True and If God Is Love, which are coauthored with James Mulholland.

He hosts "Porch Talk with Phil Gulley" on the Indiana PBS affiliate WFYI television's flagship show Across I

Other books in the series

Harmony (6 books)
  • Just Shy of Harmony (Harmony, #2)
  • Signs and Wonders (Harmony, #3)
  • Life Goes On (Harmony, #4)
  • A Change of Heart (Harmony, #5)
  • Almost Friends (Harmony, #6)
“I can only make one person happy each day.

Today is not your day.

Tomorrow doesn't look good, either.

—Frank the 70 year old secretary, chapter 9”
“In the end . . . . . . . Stand where we feel led. Stand straight, stand tall, and try to remember that other folks might be led to stand elsewhere.” 23 likes
More quotes…