Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on March 7, 2011
The publisher's blurb set the scene:

"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.
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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
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