Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good
by Jan Karon
Continuing the saga of Father Tim, an Episcopal priest, the book Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good was eagerly awaited by fans of the Mitford series. I have lived out of the U.S. long enough for this book and another in the series both to be published in paperback. I say this to establish that the intervening time lapse has genuinely caused me to forget many of the details of the various subplots of the series. Karon tries to draw enthusiasm from people like me as well as perhaps those who pick up this book as their first taste of life in Mitford. Honestly, I think Karon has created too many characters to be able to update them all effectively. Perhaps she should have pared down the ones included in this book. That part of the book only earns two stars; I don’t fault Karon’s writing, just her taking on an impossible task.
When the reader gets past the clumsiness of character updates, Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good becomes the delightful tale that Karon’s readers have come to expect–interesting, but soothing; realistic, but attaining a moral high ground. I love to see how the characters deal with life; I delight in the carefully crafted words and the beautiful sentiments. It is a treat, as always, to watch Father Tim deal with people who are not always lovable and to sort out his own problems while supporting the community members who have grown to depend on his Godly wisdom.
As a teacher and book lover, I enjoy the focus on the local bookstore, Happy Endings, and the way people come together in the story to support it. Readers who love books (especially children’s literature) will be attracted to the many quotes encouraging reading that Mitford’s citizens post in the bookstore.
As the remainder of the book, including the raison d’être of the title, pleased to capacity, I award a full five stars to Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.