Monday, September 21, 2015

Come Rain or Come Shine, by Jan Karon

For more than twenty years, through ten novels, fans of Jan Karon have followed the lives of Father Tim and his friends and family.  In her eleventh Mitford novel, Come Rain or Come Shine, Karon brings the whole gang together to celebrate Dooley and Lace's wedding.

I don't know whether Karon intends to close the book on Mitford--she has threatened to before--but Come Rain or Come Shine reads like the end of a series.  Characters from earlier books come together from around the country.  Relationships are healed and restored.  Nostalgic stories are told.  It reminded me of a TV series finale.

On the other hand, Dooley and Lace are celebrating all kinds of new beginnings.  Not only are they getting married, Dooley has graduated from veterinary school and opened his clinic.  They have brought a bull to Meadowgate to assist in adding to the herd.  They get a new puppy.  Last but not least, they adopt a little boy, who joins the family on the eve of the wedding.  So even though she seems wrapping up the Mitford series, maybe she's kicking off a new Meadowgate series.

Readers who have read some or all of the Mitford books will love Come Rain or Come Shine.  The reunions are sweet and the characters are their usual colorful self.  Those who are not familiar with all the characters may feel a bit lost.  Karon jumps between characters' perspectives frequently.  It was easy for me to get confused about who Karon was talking about.  (This is partly a result of my little bitty brain, but mostly because of the Kindle version, which did not give a visual cue when shifting to a new storyline.  The print versions of Karon's books have a design at each break.)

Come Rain or Come Shine has all the elements that Karon's fans love.  She writes with good humor, encouraging wisdom, and genuine faith.  The wedding plans, the wedding, and the potluck reception and dance afterwards offer lots of opportunities for grins and laugh out loud moments.  The reunions and intimate chats offer lots of opportunities for tears and "awww" moments.  Time, and Jan Karon's will, will tell whether we hear more stories from Mitford or Meadowgate.  In the meantime, Karon's fans will love catching up with their old Mitford friends in Come Rain of Come Shine.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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