Mix one part All Creatures Great and Small with two parts Lake Wobegon, sprinkle a little Anne of Green Gables and get: Mitford, the pinnacle of provincial life, where homespun wisdom, guarded tradition, and principled faith are the precepts of good living. Jan Karon, purveyor of so-called "gentle fiction," continues the series that began with At Home in Mitford, in Out to Canaan. The patriarch of the tightly bound community of Mitford, North Carolina, is Father Timothy Kavanaugh, a.k.a. legal counsel, psychologist, foster parent, headhunter, husband, political analyst, and rector of his congregation. He is always there to lend a helping hand, a kind word or bit of advice, which believe it or not, makes for an incredibly busy schedule in this quiet, country town.
Longtime mayor Esther Cunningham, revered for preserving the traditions of the town, finds a formidable foe in Mack Stroupe, a free-spending industrialist who stands for the two most reviled words in Mitford: change and development. If that isn't enough, a suspicious company called "Miami Development" wants to buy Sadie Baxter's home--a Mitford landmark--and turn it into a hoity-toity spa. Father Tim has his hands full again with Dooley, his foster child who is back from prep school for the summer. The good rector continues to doctor Dooley's troubled past by locating his siblings, Poohbaw and Jessie, and finding their alcoholic mother, Pauline, work. The plethora of intricately woven, cozy vignettes makes Out to Canaan a potpie of warm, country reading. --Rebekah Warren [via]