(This is a different sort of cover style from the first nine paperback Mitford books that I own. I wonder if the paperback version will match the others? I love this cover; it's gorgeous; but I also like my series to match.)
This is a difficult review to write. I am ALL KINDS OF KEYED UP over this book, and it's hard to write an actual review and not just fangirl hardcore all over the place.
On the fangirl note: my mom and I went to "Mitford" (Blowing Rock, NC) and MET JAN KARON. Watch for a blog post on that very soon! Is my mom not the bestest best?
There is a little bit of an interlude between A Light in the Window and Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good. If you can get your hands on Home to Holly Springs and In the Company of Others, they fall right in between the two and follow Father Tim as he travels back home to Mississippi and then over the pond to Sligo, Ireland. I was not aware of this timing, and haven't yet read these two. You can bet I'll remedy that very quickly!!
Father Tim and Cynthia are living in the little yellow house. Cynthia is working on another book (of course!) and she's also co-leading an auction to benefit the Children's Hospital. Her co-lead is a new Mitford character-Irene McGraw-and she plays a big part in this book. Wait till you see how she fits in! It's such a sweet part of the book. Father Tim is finally "getting the hang of" retirement. He's even offered a pulpit and turns it down. I know, right? Wow. He's definitely come a long way from that frightful day in the cave. I am so so so happy for him that he's able to embrace his retirement and spend his time doing things that he loves with the people he loves. This includes but is not limited to: hanging out with the turkey club at the new Wanda's Feel Good Cafe, helping raise funds for the Children's Hospital, reading books, and spending time in the garden with Sammy. He's not lolling about in retirement!
Next door in the rectory, we have Helene, with Harley, Sammy, and Kenny in the basement. Ohmygoodness, they are such a houseful of characters! Poor Miss Helene; proper, piano-playing Miss Helene; living above that group of ruffians! Harley is still trying so hard to keep up with Sammy and Kenny, and he picked up a set of teeth! Can you imagine Harley with teeth? That right there is more than enough to liven up Mitford for a day or two. Kenny is a great influence on his younger brother. It was nice to find out that at least one Barlow kid didn't have a terrible time of it.
Speaking of Barlow boys... Dooley. Yes, I know: he's a Kavanagh now. But he's part of that whole pack, you know. The redheads. :) And he's doing great. He has turned out to be such an upstanding young man. He's still an undergraduate at Georgia Tech, and now he's dating Lace! It's all official, friendship ring and all. I don't care who you are: you will root for Dooley and Lace. Possibly out loud. I did. And the hubby had to keep reminding me that I didn't necessarily need to keep updating him with details of a fictional person's dating life.
Oh! oh! oh! And there's another romance brewing in Mitford! You won't get to it until nearly the end of the book, but it's totally worth the wait. I laughed and cheered as I watched it unfold. I tried to tell the hubby about this part too: again, he didn't seem interested. But there's a new person in town and she is definitely on the lookout for a man. You are going to love this new character and what she brings to Mitford!
I'm reading back through this review and realizing that I'm just gushing without giving you hardly any info. It's on purpose and please forgive me! I don't want to spoil a single surprise for you. I just relished every page, every word spoken, and I want you to have the same experience.
Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good isn't just a narrative without glue. There's an overarching question posed at the beginning of the book: Does Mitford still take care of it's own? As the novel unfolds, you'll get to see and hear the evidence, and decide for yourself at the end of the book. The best part is that this particular question is posed by Vanita Bentley of The Mitford Muse, so you get to hear the answer through her *ahem* "excellent" reporting. And J.C.'s *ahem* "spectacular" editing. ;) Once you've read Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good, let me know what you think: does Mitford still take care of it's own, including it's reader?