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July 24, 2014

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Jan Karon is the No. 1 New York Times best-selling author of 23 books. Photo submitted

Originally published: 2014-02-20 09:03:32
Last modified: 2014-02-20 09:03:32

Karon resumes Mitford series

Blowing Rock’s fictional twin is about to be revived.

Best-selling author Jan Karon is returning to her iconic small town of Mitford, it was announced this week by Ivan Held, president of G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

The novel was acquired in a two-book deal with Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly for world,  audio and e-book rights. Edited by vice president, executive editor Christine Pepe, the hardcover will be published by Putnam, with paperback publication to follow from Berkley.

Karon announced in 2005 that “Light From Heaven” would be her ninth and final novel in the hugely popular series.

With more than 30 million copies of Mitford novels in print worldwide, the series became a cultural phenomenon. Karon’s return to the fictional town is heralded as a publishing event.

“Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good” reunites readers with Episcopal priest Father Tim Kavanagh, his artist wife, Cynthia, and the big-hearted and engaging characters who make up an extended family for readers everywhere.

The dominant Christian themes and real-life challenges in the Mitford series were groundbreaking.
The series is generally acknowledged as the first to open the door to crossover authors, and has inspired a slew of imitators.

Karon retired from a career in advertising and moved to Blowing Rock to pursue writing fiction. She invented the fictional town of Mitford while living here and based many of her locales and characters on the places and people in Blowing Rock.

Karon also contributed pieces to The Blowing Rocket while she lived here. The town has celebrated the author and her works with a special celebration called “Return to Mitford.”

In 2007, the Blowing Rock Stage Company collaborated with playwright and novelist Bob Inman to turn Karon’s fictional series into a stage production titled “Jan Karon’s Journey to Mitford.” The play had its world premiere on Sept. 5, 2007, at the Hayes Center for the Performing Arts in Blowing Rock.

 “Jan Karon created an incredible world through her nine Mitford books and two Father Tim novels, and it’s fair to say that fans were devastated when she decided to stop writing them. Nine years later, we are thrilled to be returning to Mitford with Jan - to a community we all love, learn from and delight in,” reviewers said.

“It’s an honor to be associated with a (publishing) house that claims 70 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely-read authors,” Karon said. “Writing ‘Somewhere Safe’ gave me great joy, and proves that one should never say never.”

After five hectic years of retirement from Lord’s Chapel, Father Tim returns with his wife, Cynthia, from a trip to the land of his Irish ancestors. Although glad to be home, something is definitely missing: a pulpit.

But when he’s offered one, he decides he doesn’t want it. Maybe he’s lost his passion.

His adopted son, Dooley, wrestles with his own passion - for the beautiful and gifted Lace Turner - and his vision of becoming a successful country vet.

Dooley’s brother, Sammy, still enraged by his mother’s abandonment, destroys one of Father Tim’s prized possessions. And Hope Murphy, owner of Happy Endings bookstore, struggles with the potential loss of her unborn child and her hard-won business. All this as Wanda’s Feel Good Café opens, romance catches fire through an Internet word game, their former mayor hatches a re-election campaign to throw the bums out, and the weekly Muse poses a probing inquiry: Does Mitford still take care of its own?

In “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good,” millions of fans get another chance to mix it up with the often comic, frequently wise and always irresistible charm of Karon’s inimitable characters.

Jan Karon

Jan Karon is the No. 1  New York Times best-selling author of 23 books, including the Mitford novels, the Father Tim novels, a popular cookbook, the “Mitford Bedside Companion” and several books for young readers. She lives near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, a World Heritage site in Central Virginia.

For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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