*If you are new here, WELCOME! For At Home in Mitford, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
I read At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon last year as a purely pleasure read. Again, it isn’t a new book, but if your book club hasn’t read it, I recommend you give it a read. The cast of characters and the small town of Mitford created by Jan Karon reminded me of home and offered a bit of hope in the human spirit in these times. Even though it is a feel-good read, there is still plenty to discuss and I’ve provided questions and a delicious recipe below, so if you’re looking for food ideas for your meeting, keep reading!
If you love romances, be sure to check out the other featured romances here including Outlander, Love Comes Softly, and more! In addition, check out this lengthy list of books that you’ll love if you love Hallmark Christmas movies (or really any of their romances)! There’s also a companion post that features EVEN more!
Here’s a brief summary of At Home in Mitford:
Father Tim, the bachelor rector of the Lord’s Chapel, has always felt at home in Mitford, until recently. Lately, he’s had a stirring in his soul for something more…But he isn’t expecting a bounding dog who only obeys when quoted scripture, a new and attractive neighbor, or a rough-around-the-edges boy to enter his life. Throw in a jewel thief and a sixty-year-old secret and Father Tim realizes he ought to be careful what he asks for.
For the At Home in Mitford recipe:
There were so many wonderful foods shared by the characters. However, I decided to create something that could be easily enjoyed at a book club. IF you wish to make something heartier you can find numerous food ideas within the pages of At Home in Mitford. Or, if you aren’t up to cooking at all, you can just buy some boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes!
“In fact, the village cooks said that the best pies weren’t made of Granny Smiths, but of the firm, slightly tart Sadie Baxters, as they’d come to be called.”At Home in Mitford, Chapter Two
At Home in Mitford “Baxter” Apple Bars
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 3-4 cups sliced or cubed apples*
- 2 premade refrigerated pie crusts
- Place pie crusts on the counter to warm to room temperature while you do steps 2-4. This will make the crusts easier to manipulate.
- Peel and cup the apples to your preference (sliced or cubed). I used Granny Smith apples. Use up to four cups of apples depending on whether you like more filling or more crust.
- Place the apples into a large bowl.
- Mix salt, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg with the apples until they are well coated.
- Grease and dust flour into an 8X8 baking pan.*
- Press the bottom pie crust into the greased pan, pressing up the sides of the pan.
- Add your apple mix on top of the bottom pie crust.
- Lightly flour the second pie crust and place flour side down on top of the apples.
- Stretch to meet the corners of the bottom crust. (If you have trouble here, you might wish to lightly roll the crust to stretch first).
- Cut off any extra crust and pinch the two crusts together.
- Cut several thin holes into the top crust to allow air to escape.
- Slice 1 ½ tbsp butter into thirds and lay on top of the crust.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 mins. Then lower heat to 375 degrees and cook an additional 45 minutes.
At Home in Mitford Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
1) The story startswith Father Tim being pursued by a rather large dog, whom he eventually namesBarnabas. Why do you think Father Tim does not want Barnabas? Have you ever hada pet choose you rather than you choosing a pet? How did that turn out?
2) Father Tim is aninteresting character. For someone in such a civic position he prefers to livean introverted lifestyle. In the beginning he wishes Barnabas would leave himalone, when Miss Sadie gifts the church a painting which might be famous heworries about the attention the church will receive, and when Cynthia comesalong he struggles to open himself to a relationship. What did you think aboutthis characteristic in someone you would normally think of as being extroverted(a pastor of a church)? Did it make you love him more or did it turn you off?
3) At the end of thebook it appears that Dooley will be part of Hal and Marge’s family rather thanFather Tim’s. How did you feel about this? Did you wish that Dooley would havestayed with Father Tim or did you feel that this was a better fit for him?
4) There is a largecast of characters in the book. Outside of Father Tim and Cynthia, who was yourfavorite character and why? How did their storyline end well for you and whatwere some things you would have liked to see for that character?
5) It is hintedtowards the end of the book that Miss Sadie is related to Olivia Davenport.What did you think about this connection? Are you excited to see more of MissSadie’s story play out in future books?
6) At the end of thebook, the relationship between Father Tim and Cynthia is left open-endedwithout much of a resolution besides the fact that they agree to date. Were youleft wanting more? Did you feel the author handled this well by leaving youwanting to read the next book, or were you disappointed in this?
7) There are a lotof Bible verses and several salvation experiences throughout the book. However,did you consider this to be a Christian/religious novel or just a novel about aclergyman? Did this element add or subtract from the book for you?
8) In a pivotalconversation with Absalom Greer in Chapter 14, Absalom asks Father Tim, “Areyou too exhausted to run and too scared to rest?” Father Tim then realizes heis, in fact, too scared to rest. Why do you think this is? Why do you thinkthis rings so true with us today? Have you experienced this fear of restingeven in exhaustion?
9) When a strangershows up at Father Tim’s church, Father Tim tells the man, “I believe thequestion you may want to ask (about God) is not, ‘Are you up there?’ but, ‘Areyou down here?’” He expounds on this by saying that another name for God isImmanuel, which means God with us. Did this conversation give you pause? Hasthere ever been a time when you experienced the very real presence of God hereon earth through someone else actions or an extraordinary event?
10) This is a verycharming book—from the people to the place to the small-town drama. What do youthink drew you into the book and made you love the book and wish to visitMitford? Do you know of a place like Mitford or a community like the one inMitford?
Have you read At Home in Mitford? What was your favorite part? What are some similar books you’ve enjoyed?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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