Come Rain or Come Shine
G. P. Putnam's Sons
Penguin Random House
New York, New York
"I'm gonna love like nobody loved you, Come Rain or Come Shine."
These famous song lyrics are the center of Jan Karon's latest Mitford book featuring the wedding of Dooley and Lace.
Dooley Kavanaugh has graduated and is beginning his veterinarian practice back at his home in Mitford. He is choosing to marry his long-time love, Lace Harper in a simple, down-home ceremony. The couple wants simplicity so instead of caterers, they are having a potluck and a friend in providing the music.
For those who have never read any of the books by Jan Karon, don't read this novel first. You really need to know the characters featured in the Mitford series since much of this story relies on the reader knowing the history from events in the first five books beginning with At Home in Mitford, A Light in the Window, These High, Green Hills, Out to Canaan and A New Song. With twelve Mitford novels now in this series, the first five are a prerequisite before reading this newest novel.
For any author writing a dozen novel featuring the same characters, some of the novels are more enjoyable than others. No one can continually redevelop the continuing characters. Whether it is just too much familiarity or loosing the passion and love of the characters along the way, it is difficult to maintain the same energy level throughout the entire series. Unfortunately Come Rain or Come Shine just is not as enjoyable as the first five books. The delight in the simple things were the gifts of the first five, this just concludes a long expected event.
These books are light reading, no crime, little danger, just people doing their best in everyday life with a strong belief in God and taking time to smell the roses along the way while finding the laughter in everyday events. Unlike the previous novels, this particular novel seemed to have one plot and everything aimed at this high point as opposed to Karon's previous novels with interwoven plots overlapping and complementing each other.
Actually, I found Come Rain or Come Shine to drag in many places, almost feeling contrived at times and being obviously predictable. For some reason, Karon did not delve into the little events in the everyday lives of these characters but literally focused exclusively on the wedding, not the loving and caring relationships with the characters.
Perhaps the problem was not the book but my expectation. I expect more involvement in these books not a linear approach to the climax which is obviously the wedding. Since the wedding was a simplification, did Karon also simplify the story?
Who would enjoy this novel? The novel is strictly for Mitford fans who have been demanding more from Karon. If you are not acquainted with Karon's writing, do not read this book. The book is Christian based and leans towards the romance genre with its predictability.
My concern regards the lack of love of these longtime characters. Perhaps it's time for Karon to develop a new series.