Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this book while I was visiting in Mississippi about 60 miles from Holly Springs. I was there for a funeral and I experienced so many of the things mentioned in the book. Some have criticized it because of the number of questions that were answered in seemingly miraculous ways, but when you visit a place after a number of years, word gets around and people come to visit and talk and many of the mysteries of your childhood are explained or understood. We know that God does act in human events and just because the time in this book is telescoped, does not make the events outside possibility.
Father Tim began his journey because of a cryptic note that told him to "come home." Sensing that there is something important in the request, he takes his dog and heads South. He visits a hardware store and meets people there who catapult him into his boyhood. Word is spread that he is visiting and old friends and enemies contact him. Some of the information he receives is very difficult for him to hear, but he accepts what he hears as something that God wants him to know and act on.
This is a good story with enough mystery to keep the reader wondering, but it is also inspirational. As Father Tim learns things about his past, he has to change his view of many people he knew and to be both forgiving and forgiven. The courage that he exhibits is an inspiration and a reminder that we are not put on this earth for our own happiness, but to do the will of the One who sent us.
I was amazed to find that Jan Karon was not from Mississippi. She has managed to capture the language and customs of the Deep South with amazing accuracy. I was especially pleased when she added a little known custom of asking the person you are visiting to “come along with me.” To me that has always meant that you were having such a good time visiting that even though you had to go, you wanted the person to go with you and continue the visit.
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