Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Book Review: "In the Company of Others" by Jan Karon and Book Giveaway

In this second novel, Father Tim and Cynthia arrive in the west of Ireland, intent on researching his Kavanagh ancestry from the comfort of a charming fishing lodge. The charm, however, is broken entirely when Cynthia startles a burglar and sprains her already-injured ankle. Then a cherished and valuable painting is stolen from the lodge owners, and Cynthia's pain pales in comparison to the wound at the center of this bitterly estranged Irish family.

In the Company of Others is a moving testament to the desperate struggle to hide the truth at any cost and the powerful need to confess. Of all her winning novels, Jan Karon says this "dark-haired child" is her favorite-a sentiment readers everywhere are certain to share.

It's been three LONG years since Jan Karon's last book and it's been a LONG wait. I fell in love with the Mitford series a few years ago and have been eagerly awaiting the release of this book. The first book in the Father Tim series introduced us to another side of everyone's favorite reverend as he discovers another side of his family he didn't know had existed. This book takes him and his wife to Ireland, the land of his ancestors, where Father Tim plans on trying to have a relaxing vacations but other circumstances arise changing his plans.

I was really glad to see Cynthia reappear in this book. She was sadly missed in the previous volume and it was wonderful to see her again. I love her relationship with Father Tim as they have one of the most loving marriages I've seen written in literature. They love each other and get along but also have spats which make them realistic. I hope that when I'm in my golden age, my marriage will be like theirs. They have great chemistry together and I love reading about them. The story is rich in detail about Ireland, its culture and its people. I loved how the Irish people are shown speaking in dialect as it added cultural flavor to the story. The story is not filled with Irish stereotypes or cliches but instead added an international flavor to the story.

While I did enjoy the story, there were parts of this book that just were not to my liking. One is while the presence of Cynthia is much appreciated, I really missed Mitford and its citizens. While Father Tim is core to the story, the personalities of the townsfolk really add to the story with their zany antics and interesting backgrounds. I was excited to read emails from Dooley and Emma but it it just wasn't enough. I miss all of them! I also got a bit annoyed that Tim and Cynthia kept missing out on hanging out with Walter and Katherine. It was rotten luck but I always feel like we never get to spend time with Walter and Katherine and would have loved for the the two couples to team up. My final qualm was that even though the diary sections were crucial to the story, I found them to be very boring. I don't know if it was the way they were written or if I just felt that they were less exciting than the main story, but every time I got to the entries, I really wanted to skip over them.

Overall, except for these qualms, I did enjoy the book. I loved traveling to Ireland with the Kavanaghs and really felt as if I was there with them on vacation. The characters in the story, while not as enjoyable as the Mitford clan, were unique and interesting in their own way and gave the story a wonderful feel of Irish culture. I would love to visit Ireland one day (my husband's family is of Irish descent) and this book made me yearn for it even more. I hope that the wait won't be TOO long for the next book in this series. I enjoyed my stay with Father Tim and Cynthia and look forward to spending more time with them in the future.

In the Company of Others by Jan Karon is published by Viking Press (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

I'm able to give away one copy of this book provided by the publisher. To enter, you must fill out the form below. This contest is open to entrants from US and Canada. Winner will be picked Tuesday, October 26.

PLEASE use the form only to enter the contest. For any comments about the book, review, etc. please use the comments link at the bottom of the post. All information must be filled out correctly or else your entry will not count. (ie. you must use FULL name and list your mailing address). Your info will only be used for this contest and will be deleted after the contest is over.


  1. I love the Mitford books and the message in them! I wish more preachers were like Father Tim - accepting and non-judgmental. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  2. I too am a big fan of the Mitford series! glad to hear there's more to read about Father Tim and Cynthia :)

  3. OOOH, I LOVE Mitford. Read it to my kids!!
    Wow. That was a looooong time ago.

    Blessings! Have missed this place!


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