"Vacation. The very word has been foreign to Episcopal priest Tim Kavanagh, who has traveled across the Pond but twice. As an unreformed workaholic, he's used every excuse out there to stay put and tend his earstwhile flock in the Village of Mitford.
Now retired, he's making good on a promise to show his wife, Cynthia, the land of his Irish ancestors. Arriving at a Lough Arrow guest lodge in the midst of a torrential downpour, he soon counts this trip the reason he's loath to leave home.
An intruder startles Cynthia, resulting in painful damage to her recently fractured ankle. A valuable and cherished painting vanishes without a trace. And the shocking wound at the center of a bitterly estranged Irish family is exposed. . . ."
Why four stars:
(1)The character Anna Conor explained the meaning of the book's title so well:
" 'There's never any privacy, really, in keeping an Inn, even when one lies in one's own bed. Personal life and possessions are blended into the business, there's no telling where one stops and the other begins. One is ever in the company of others."
(2)I learned a bit of Gaelic, the meaning of "busking," and the history of the Mass Rock.
(3)I loved the inclusion of poetry by Robert Frost and William Yeats and Irish songs.
(4)I got my Mitford Fix through e-mails from Emma, phone calls from Dooley, and even a joke from Uncle Billy.
(5)In the end Karon's spirituality brought the story to a positive, prayerful conclusion.
Why not five stars:
(1)At times the spirituality got in the way. Father Tim ("Reverend" in Ireland), was always the man of God with the answers, all of them. Even Cynthia, her husband's Deacon, was always the friend to those in need. Nothing could be resolved without the help of the Kavanahs. In the following scene it is pondered and explained to some degree:
" 'I can't do it,' she said 'Can't do what?' 'I can't leave.' 'Can't leave?' 'Because these people mean something to me. They need us.' 'But we can't be Providence for other people, Kav'na' . . . . 'I'm not trying to be providence, I'm their friend. Bella needs someone, Timothy - someone who isn't her overworked mother or Maureen. It's not that I'm in any way better than these two good women, not at all, it's that I was once as frightened and frozen as she is.' "
(2)Yes, a journal is discovered, and it provides answers to questions in the story. But, it is boring. I skipped parts.
(3)The book's original title was to be A PARTY OF FOUR, I think. But only two showed up. What happened to Walter and Katherine? I hope we learn more about them in the next book.