The word that immediately came to mind after reading this book was "gentle". This is an extremely gentle read. The story hinges around Father Tim, a kind-hearted Episcopalian Priest, whose quiet life is shaken up (in a gentle kind of way) by the happenings of his parish. If I tell you that there is illegitamacy, a jewel theft, and an abandoned child in this book - it will be true, and yet I suspect it will give you an entirely wrong impression about the pace and tone of this book. All of those things do feature in the story, but they are delicately handled - so delicately that they do not stop me from pronouncing this a "feel-good" read. Mechanically speaking, I can tell you that the story is well-put-together, that the plot holds up, and that the writing style is quite smooth: Karon creates real characters in this book, not just characatures. At the end, you feel like you know them all. But possibily the best thing about this book is that although the characters in it are kind, and things generally work out for the best - you still feel that it could all "really happen". You don't feel like the author is simply putting rose-colored glasses on your nose and showing you a world that could never TRULY exist. Instead, you are left feeling that - at least in some small way - there really is a Mitford out there. And this is why I heartily applaud Jan Karon, and look forward to reading the next installment in this series.