Today's book recommendation is the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. I. LOVE. THESE. BOOKS. I have read the series through twice and they are such easy, comforting, readable books. Knowing the town that it is based upon is a bonus, but hardly a must. Karon is an excellent writer and she brings the town and characters to life in a realistic way. It's easy to believe that you are walking along the streets, running in the park, shopping at the Local (grocery), sitting in Lords Chapel, and enjoying the fire while the snow blows outside. It is quality, small-town life with very real people. Did I mention that I. LOVE. THESE. BOOKS? :-)
Personal Story about Jan Karon's Books:
When we worked in Botswana, we arrived in early December. I was homesick, worried because my dad was in the hospital (unsure if he would make it or not), swimming in unmet expectations, and wide-awake with jetlag and fear of being robbed. It's a long story, but that gives you a basic idea of my state-of-mind at the time. Light from Heaven was the newest (and final) book in the Mitford series, and I had splurged on a hardback copy (rather than waiting for the paperback to come out) before we left. One night, less than a week after arriving, I was wide awake at 2 AM, feeling blue and having a general pity-party. I first went to Scripture for comfort, then I pulled this book out of the suitcase and started reading. In no time, I was transported back home and forgot all about being in hot, humid Africa, thousands of miles away from my family over my birthday and Christmas, and worrying (needlessly I might add) about someone breaking into our house. Over the next 4 months of living in Botswana and Zambia, I adapted and grew and ended up enjoying our time there. However, Peter's practicality, the Lord's guidance through His Word, and Jan Karon's book all helped me make it (and start to adjust) that first week.
Christmas Gift Idea: If you're like me and you like to give books as gifts, this series would be a great Christmas gift. If you can't afford the whole series, get them started with the first book. It's available as a set on Amazon (3 books to a set), or individually...
...Or I found them at our favorite local used book store (Mr. K's for those of you in the area) for fairly cheap. If you're interested in reading them for yourself, check them out at your local library. They are quick reads (I can get through a book in a day or two if I don't have a lot to do), and very enjoyable. This series gets 5 stars (*****) from me! :-)