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Shepherds Abiding (Mitford Years #8)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  10,954 Ratings  ·  447 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
ebook, 304 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Ann Marie
Dec 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jenni Simmons
Dec 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Like comfort food, this is a comfort book. I unabashedly love Jan Karon's novels.
Dec 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“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
Joy Gerbode
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is wonderful ... of course, I collect nativity sets, so Father Tim refurbishing a nativity is right up my alley. I love these wonderful stories. They are so inspirational, and while they inspire a closer relationship with God, they especially inspire closer relationships with people, love and forgiveness, and acceptance of people who are "different" ... whatever that may mean. Wonderful books, and so very easy to relate to.
In vain I have struggled! It will not do. I simply cannot stomach Mitford! As a faithful Episcopalian, I have given it my best, but I think I must be too cynical for all the saccharine. There. Now it's out there. (I also don't like Dr. Seuss and I've never seen Star Wars. I feel clean now having confessed.)
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
Jun 04, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Public library copy. This book is #8 in the Mitford Years series, starring Father Tim.

This was a bit of a quick read, not as much of a plot, more about the characters and the season. That being said, it is a great read, just not as complicated as some of the books in the series.

I am partial to nativity sets. I had one taken away from me years ago, and I am more partial to them than ever. I just love the whole idea of Father Tim's gift to his wife Cynthia, and the relationships developed and gro
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
Kathy Worrell  ツ
It's funny that at first glance, 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 wo
December 2016 reread of Hope's Happy Endings bookstore story segments for the pure enjoyment of it!

December 2014 reading : Multi layered stories of Mitford residents leading up to Christmas. Stories are told randomly from varied residents' experiences.

The retired priest's new found creativity in preparing an extraordinary gift for his wife and the bookstore employee's Christmas were two that impacted me especially.
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved how this book focused solely on one Mitford Christmas. I can see myself rereading it during the holiday season because it is such a delightful read and contains such a warm spirit. It was interesting to discover how the magic of Christmas seemed to touch so many of the residents of Mitford, resulting in glowing, radiant sentiment. A most worthy read!
Stephanie Blake
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Kristin Shields
It's been a long time since I read a Mitford book and I know I used to like them a lot. This one is preacher than I remembered and choppily written so that it's sometimes hard to figure out who's talking. Probably my last Mitford.
A very spiritual read that I would have probably liked better if I knew the characters better.
Winter Sophia Rose
Encouraging, Heartwarming & Captivating! Another Beautiful Read! I Loved It!
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful Mitford book!
Sep 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet but slight.
Everything you want in a visit to Christmas!
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shepheds Abiding ● (Mitford Years, #8) by Jan Karon

"...Father Timothy Kavanagh, stalwart of the Mitford series, is approaching 70 when he comes across an old English nativity scene at his friend Andrew Gregory's antique shop. The set has definitely seen better days...(and needs to be restored). Father Tim, after much deliberation, takes up the cause, planning to surprise his artist wife, Cynthia.

Meanwhile, Hope Winchester, manager of Mitford's Happy Endings bookshop, learns that the shop is in
Massanutten Regional Library
Melissa, North River patron, June 2017, 5 stars:

This is the eight book in the "Mitford" series by Jan Karon and it was just as good as the first. The whole series is just a delightful read, you feel really connected to the characters. There are real issues they deal with, but the books are completely uplifting and enjoyable, without feeling sappy.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a nice Christmas break in July! I enjoy reading about the simplicity of love being the most important Christmas gift and giving from your heart. Especially in this materialistic age.

Although others may view this book as sappy, I feel it is a way to remind us of the real importance of love and big gestures of appreciation.
Sherry Hammond
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book and love the Mitford series. I found this one in a stash I had bought years ago. It was fun to get back to the little town of wonderful characters! Are there any towns like this left?
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love really shines during Christmas and the very special gifts which many people give to each other.....the blessings of God shines through in a fantastic way!!!
Susanna Grant
this was a read aloud for us this past Christmas, but a little too trite & shallow for us, was sweet but probably won't be reading Karon again
Lindy MacLaine
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I'm going to make listening to this book a Christmas tradition—moving and full of holiday spirit expressed through the beloved characters we've come to know and love!
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audobooks
My favorite in the Mitford series so far. Lovely story, reminder to be a better and more faithful Christian and great comfortable vacation escape.
Ann Crane
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best in the series!

All the Mitford characters coming together to celebrate a joyful Christmas! A wonderful, happy read, as Father Tim discovers a new talent.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #162 - Shepherds Abiding: A Mitford Christmas Novel 1 1 Sep 16, 2015 11:19AM  
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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

Mitford Years (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • At Home in Mitford (Mitford Years, #1)
  • A Light in the Window (Mitford Years, #2)
  • These High, Green Hills (Mitford Years, #3)
  • Out to Canaan (Mitford Years, #4)
  • A New Song (Mitford Years, #5)
  • A Common Life: The Wedding Story (Mitford Years, #6)
  • In This Mountain (Mitford Years, #7)
  • Light from Heaven (Mitford Years, #9)
  • Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (Mitford Years, #12)
  • Come Rain or Come Shine (Mitford Years, #13)

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