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A Common Life: The Wedding Story (The Mitford Years #6) Paperback – March 26, 2002


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A Common Life: The Wedding Story (The Mitford Years #6) + In This Mountain (The Mitford Years, Book 7) + A New Song (The Mitford Years, Book 5)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (March 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142000345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142000342
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (352 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Common Life is a trip back in time for fans of "the little town with the big heart." Somewhere between the second and third volumes of Jan Karon's Mitford Years series, dyed-in-the-wool bachelor Father Timothy Kavanagh and his next-door neighbor Cynthia Coppersmith tied the knot. The author left it to readers' imaginations to fill in the blanks. In this delightful story, Karon paints a complete picture of the events surrounding the wedding of Mitford's best-loved couple, and chronicles the poignant and often hilarious reactions to the nuptial news by the tightly knit North Carolina community.

All the details cherished by those who are enchanted by weddings are offered here, from the color of the bridal outfit (aquamarine) to the choice of flowers (virgin's bower and hydrangeas). When the wedding bells finally ring, the pews are packed with the people who make Mitford special: ornery Uncle Billy, delightful Miss Sadie, indispensable Louella, and the cantankerous Emma Newland. And there's not a dry eye in the house when Father Tim's problematic foster child Dooley Barlowe sings for the two people who love him the most.

A Common Life is not just a wedding story. It's also an intimate portrait of the unfolding love between Cynthia and the shy Father Tim, complete with fears and hesitations, professions of commitment, and Barnabas the dog delivering love letters. But there's nothing heavy-handed here. The tensions don't run any higher than wondering if Cynthia will make it to the wedding on time after getting locked inside her own bathroom, or guessing if Esther will make her famous three-layer orange marmalade cake for the reception. Told in the warm, down-home style that Karon has built her reputation on, A Common Life is sweet without being saccharine, charming without being cloying. It's an invitation to a literary reunion of the best kind, and like all weddings, it will probably coax a few tears and plenty of smiles. --Cindy Crosby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Mitford, Karon's delightful fictional village in western North Carolina, will be thrilled with this newest installment, which relates an episode she skipped over in her earlier books: Father Tim and Cynthia's wedding. (He proposed at the end of the second Mitford book, and at the beginning of the third, they were already happily married.) Finally, readers get to see the stunned expressions of most Mitford residents when they hear Father Tim has actually popped the question. Readers learn about Cynthia's anxieties over the pending nuptials, share Esther Bolick's delight when Cynthia asks her to bake her famous orange marmalade cake and hum along as the Lord's Chapel parish belts out "Praise my soul the King of Heaven" at the ceremony. And as usual, Karon works in a few snippets of convincing mountain dialect. While Mitford die-hards will welcome this installment, however, the unconverted won't find much to bring them around; one has to already know Karon's eccentric characters, with all their foibles, to fully appreciate the book. Even Mitford devotees may be a touch disappointed that the trademark lessons about Christian faith that Karon weaves so seamlessly into most of her tales are more or less absent from this slim volume. (When they do appear, they stick out, as when Bishop Cullen pointedly discusses the role of sex in Christian marriage.) Still, don't be surprised if Mitford fans begin serving orange marmalade cake at their weddings, and sing hymn 410 at every opportunity. (Apr. 9)Forecast: Fresh from her 2000 Christy and ECPA Gold Medallion Awards for A New Song (book five), Karon keeps rolling along with the Mitford series. This book will no doubt please the thousands of fans who have written to Karon, asking, "Why weren't we invited to the wedding?" Six weeks before its release, the novel was hovering around the #100 position on Amazon.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Jan Karon is the author of the bestselling series of nine Mitford novels featuring Father Timothy Kavanagh, an Episcopal priest, and the fictional village of Mitford. Set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karon's Mitford books include At Home in Mitford; A Light in the Window; These High, Green Hills; Out to Canaan; A New Song; A Common Life: The Wedding Story; In This Mountain; Shepherd's Abiding; and Light from Heaven. The Father Tim Novels include "Home to Holly Springs" and last fall's release of "In the Company of Others," set in County Sligo, Ireland. There are over 40 million Mitford and Father Tim novels, childrens books, and CDs in print.

Customer Reviews

The book was short and had no interesting story lines.
Mary Beth Vandenbergh
Yet another of Jan Karon's wonderful books in the Mitford Series.
Bookluvr
I should have had a clue when I saw how few pages the book has.
Elizabeth C. Hicks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Dianna Setterfield on September 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this sixth Mitford installment after completing the second one, which is where it really belongs, and I have to say that Jan Karon continues to please me. While A Common Life is not as long or as in depth as her other Mitford novels, it still maintained that downhome sweetness and comfortable, cozy feeling that I've come to expect and love in these books.
A Common Life tells the story of Father Tim's acceptance of the importance and neccessity of Cynthia in his life. After proposing, the couple encounters the typical problems, jitters and joys that most engaged couples do. And as expected, the whole town of Mitford is getting into the celebration: Hessie Mayhew is in charge of the flowers, Esther Bollick is waiting for her invitation to bake the cake, and Uncle Joe is busily searching for the best joke to tell at the reception. And of course the wedding couldn't come off without at least a small hitch -- at 10 minutes after starting time, Cynthia is nowhere to be found...
Jan Karon has written another pleasing and endearing story. It is written in the same beautiful, classy way as the others, and any Mitford fan will consider this novel to be a wonderful addition to the series. Having said that, I can see where some readers could be disappointed if they were reading the books in order since A Common Life (#6) does not continue with the story where #5 stopped but instead goes back in time to between #2 and #3. However, despite which order you read it (and I recommend #6 after #2), I believe A Common Life is a treasure and perfect as a gift for any engaged or newly married couple as it celebrates a wonderful and simple romance. Looking forward to continuing on with the third book in the series. I know I won't be disappointed.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
No,it isn't long enough - hence 4 stars, not 5 - but it is a sheer joy for what it is. As a Mitford-addicted reader and tape listener I approached with trepidation hearing the tape read by anyone but Jan. Dana Ivy is superb and captures Cynthia especially with new shades of color cast on this fascinating character. The complexity and challenge of what it means to make a marriage commitment is genuinely explored through Father Tim; we learn more about the Mitfordites through vigniettes connected to their own marriages or love stories; Miss Sadie is ALIVE again; Dooley's singing, so eloquently done by Dana on the tape - all are joys. The simple reiteration of the Gospel and how to find spiritual wholeness - for me,the heart of all Mitford books- is there in power.
A COMMON LIFE is a lorgniette-view of characters about whom we have come to care during the single event about which we would most like to know every detail. The book delivers - but we'll never stop wanting more, because Jan's storytelling gift has made room for itself permanently for so many.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By David C. Hoffner on September 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
My wife and I have read each of Karon's Mitford books aloud to each other over the past few years. This is one of the better ones.
One thing I enjoyed about this book is that several different characters narrate it. In the other Mitford books (thus far) everything is narrated from Father Tim's perspective. But here we are privy to the thoughts and observations of other well-known characters, such as: Esther Bolick, Uncle Billy Watson, and Mayor Cunningham. I think this change of structure works well for this particular installment. It gives us a fuller view of that most dramatic of events: the marriage of a beloved old bachelor. Let's face it; if it were up to Father Tim to remember the events surrounding his wedding to Cynthia, we wouldn't have much to work with because he had too much going on around him.
This book is slimmer than the others, perhaps offering less story than fans are used to. One compensatory value might be that it has a nice two-color interior design.
I recommend _A Common Life_ to fans of the series mainly on the virtue of its unique structure, giving voice to other familiar characters
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I think the bad reviews on this site are based on disappointment -- and a misunderstanding of what this book is. This is not a continuation of the Mitford series, but rather a novella (that means it's short!) about the engagement and marriage of Father Tim and Cynthia. I thought the story was lovely -- I especially appreciated seeing a more vulnerable side to Cynthia... we learn things about her that we didn't know before.
I'm sure that Jan Karon is under great pressure from her publisher to write MORE, MORE, MORE Mitford books, and they would like to have one a year from her. Well, she won't do that; she can't do that. So we wait longer between books and receive stories of astonishing depth and quality. This novella reminds us how desperate we are for the next in the series.
I have to admit that I think the publisher's price and the packaging are a bit deceiving -- the double-spacing and wide margins feel like an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes. But don't blame Jan Karon -- she is like her character, Cynthia Coppersmith... she agonizes over her deadlines and worries that her work isn't up to her readers' expectations.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
...which is why I went right out and bought "A Common Life: The Wedding Story". It matters little to me the length of the book or the size of the margins. It's a visit to Mitford, renewing acquaintances and visiting old friends. The confusion regarding the subject matter and length is a bit of a puzzle to me. First of all, the subtitle of the book is THE WEDDING STORY - that seems pretty clear, and Jan Karon told us it would be a novella, which is exactly what it is. Of course, I would have loved for it to be longer but I felt that way about all of the books. With a writer like Karon and books like the Mitford series, nothing is ever long enough. So I joyfully accept this lovely book for just what it is...a glimpse at the wedding of Fr. Tim and Cynthia. I especially loved the fact that she shared some of the thoughts of the characters we've grown to love: Dooley's apprehension regarding the marrage, Hope Winchester's thoughts on her "...once-ardent crush" on Fr. Tim, Absolom Greer's enduring love for Miss Sadie, and dear Uncle Billy's method of staying awake during the ceremony - deciding whether or not to have mustard on his ham! Thank you Jan Karon for this small, yet delightful return to Mitford. Please take us there again soon and let us see what transpires next with these wonderful characters you've created.
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