The Fence My Father Built – by Linda S. Clare (2009)

The Fence My Father Built

This novel tells the tale of Muri Pond, who has not seen her Native American father since she was five, then hears of his passing. She and her two children drive out to his shabby desert home, which is lined with a fence made of discarded oven doors. The story is told from the viewpoint of Muri, but every so often, the author lets you see into the mind of Joseph Pond, her father. What I enjoyed most about this story was how God met both Muri and her father at whatever point they were at in life.

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This Side Of Heaven – by Karen Kingsbury (2009)

This Side Of Heaven

Josh Warren is still young – in his early 30’s – but life is not turning out the way he had hoped. He’s a disappointment to his parents, who expected him to choose something more prestigious than being a tow-truck driver. While out with his truck, a drunk runs him down, leaving Josh in a permanent state of chronic pain. He collects disability, and waits for the injury settlement from the insurance company

A woman contacts Josh, claiming their short fling resulted in the birth of a daughter – Savannah, and she wants money. He wants to meet the little girl, but the mother says no. Josh’s family is embarrassed about the whole situation, and says the child probably isn’t his anyways. Meanwhile, the little girl is living with a mother who abuses alcohol and drugs, and drags her along to the park to panhandle.

Life often leaves us feeling powerless to change the situations we find ourselves in. Like Josh, sometimes all we can do is pray fervently to our heavenly Father, and leave things in His hands. God works some things out in a way that makes us happy in this lifetime, but other issues won’t be fixed this side of heaven.

At Home In Mitford – by Jan Karon (1994)

At Home In Mitford

“At Home In Mitford” is the first book in the Mitford series. In this book we are introduced to Father Timothy Cavanaugh, the rector of Lord’s Chapel in the small town of Mitford. After having read the book version, and having listened to the audio version many times, I wish there really was a Mitford!

Father Tim is single and 60-ish, with his share of quirks. We see into his mind, and agonize with him in his social anxieties, and the constant worry that he’s not meeting the needs of his congregation. He is surrounded by a host of unique and lovable townsfolk, including Emma, his snappy secretary; Percy and Velma, who own the diner; Dooley, a young boy he ends up raising; Hoppy the local doc; Sadie Baxter, the oldest person in town, and Cynthia, the rector’s new neighbor.

There are a number of story-lines that run through the book, and you will surely find yourself drawn into many, if not all of them. The combination of fantastic characters and entertaining events makes for a book that you will read with great relish, then reach for the next one in the series.

A Light In The Window – by Jan Karon (1995)

A Light In The Window

The saga of Father Tim in the little town of Mitford continues in “A Light In The Window”. We are introduced almost immediately to Edith Mallory, who is determined to make herself Mrs. Timothy Cavanaugh. Poor Father Tim has no inclination to marry, but she hounds him without mercy.

If you listen to this book on audio (the unabridged version), you can get the full effect. The reader is so good at being Edith! It will have you howling with laughter as you roll about on the floor. Of course, if this was a true story, you’d feel sorry for the rector, but since it’s fiction, you can enjoy the plot without reserve.

The other character that you will both love and hate in this story is dear cousin Meg, who comes from Ireland to pay a visit to Father Tim. She clearly overstays her welcome, but the rector has no idea how to ease her back out the door.

You will find this to be as good a read as the first book, if not better!

 

Excerpt from chapter 11:

Behind the bifocals, her eyes looked like the magnified eyes of a housefly that he’d seen on the cover of Dooley’s natural-science book.

“Cousin…Meg?” He held Barnabas, who was still growling, by the collar.

“You know,” she said, pushing her hair behind her ears, “Cousin Erin’s tea party. You invited me for a visit when I came to America.”

“Aha,” he said, standing awkwardly in the doorway.

“We had a gab by the china dresser. You were drinking sherry.”

He remembered Erin Donovan’s notable family china dresser, but as to gabbing with anyone by it…

“Didn’t you get my post a couple of months ago?” She seemed to loom over him.

“A letter?” A letter! On mauve writing paper. “Of course! Please… come in…”

“Could I borrow a twenty for the driver? Had to be fetched up in a taxi. I’ll repay.”

“Certainly,” he said, digging into his pocket and handing over a twenty.