• Home to Holly Springs

  • The First of the Father Tim Novels
  • By: Jan Karon
  • Narrated by: Scott Sowers
  • Length: 11 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,012 ratings)

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Home to Holly Springs  By  cover art

Home to Holly Springs

By: Jan Karon
Narrated by: Scott Sowers
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Publisher's Summary

Join Father Tim on a profoundly personal journey back to his childhood home in this charming novel in number-one New York Times best-selling author Jan Karon's Mitford series.

Thirty-eight years have passed since Father Tim Kavanagh left his Mississippi hometown, determined not to return. Then he receives a handwritten note postmarked Holly Springs. Cryptic and unsigned, it says only Come home. These two words compel him to make the most challenging journey of his life.

Traveling to his boyhood home doesn’t merely take Father Tim across hundreds of miles. Thanks to a thousand sights and smells, he also travels back through memories - some fond and some he’s tried for nearly 40 years to forget, from his quick-to-anger father and his lovingly tender mother to the picturesque small town he’d tried desperately to leave behind. And once Father Tim discovers who was behind the mysterious note, a truth is revealed that will change his life - forever. 

Don't miss more of Father Tim's adventures in Jan Karon's Mitford series.
©2007 Jan Karon (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Mitford fans, rejoice!... Father Tim answers the summons - and learns that you can go home again.” (The Washington Post)

“Lovely... This is Karon’s most emotionally complex novel.” (USA Today)

“Karon holds varying aspects of humanity up to the light, from staggering cruelty...to the awesome power of love and forgiveness.” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

What listeners say about Home to Holly Springs

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting start to a new series

Any additional comments?

I have to say right up front that I really miss John McDonough's narration for the Mitford series. The new narrator was just too young to do the story justice. The character he is giving voice to is 70 years old the the reader sounded very young---too young. Further, the tone used in the reading made well known characters from the series sound flip and sarcastic.

My feelings are mixed about the book. The story was helpful in adding depth to the character of Father Tim by exploring things from his past only hinted at in the pervious books in the series. However, at times I found the whole thing a bit overly dramatic and heavy handed--and on occasion down right unbelievable. But in the end I am glad I listened to this first book in the new series as it was atmospheric and portrayed southern country life beautifully.

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

The book is wonderful as always, but.....

The book was good, like everything in this series has been. Karon is a wonderful writer, and this book has new and interesting information about things that have been mentioned or alluded to in previous volumes.

BUT..... I hate to say it, but it was positively painful for me to listen to the narration of this new addition to the Mitford series. I realize that John McDonough would be a hard act to follow. However, it wasn't simply that I was wasn't hearing the kind, wise voice of Father Tim I was used to. I was prepared to hear a different voice and I really tried to like it. But although Scott Sowers is a good narrator using a nice mix of voice changes for the various characters, the overall feel of it was disconcerting. So many of the things Father Tim 'said' in Sowers voice came off sounding faintly smart-alecky instead of thoughtful. That probably wasn't the intent, but that's how it sounded to me. I'm resolved to having to hear a different narrator. I'm just not sure that Sowers was the best choice.

39 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

IMHO

The book is great (as Ms. Karon's books are). However, I was disappointed in the narration. Not that it is not good narriation, but this is a character that has already been fully developed for audio and is unrecognizable in this narration. Fr Tim does not even come across as the same character.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

wrong narrator

I was so disappointed when I heard the first few words in this audiobook. I'm sure Scott Sowers is a fine narrator but not for Father Tim. He sounds sarcastic and cold compared to John McDonough. I will buy the book and read it, hearing McDonough's soft tones in my mind.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Wrong Narrator

Having listened to, and loved, the entire Mitford series, I was thrilled when "Home to Holly Springs" came out. The fact is though that I could not get past the first 5 minutes. The original narrator of the Mitford books, John McDonough, set the standard for who Father Tim was. He became Father Tim for me. Why they decided to change that is beyond me. Scott Sowers is a terrible choice. He sounds like he is in his 20's or 30's, not an elderly gentleman of 70 plus years.
On the bright side...I purchased the book and it was absolutely wonderful! I loved it. Now if Jan Karon came to her senses and allowed it to be rerecorded with Mr. McDonough!

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Love Fr. Timothy

As all of the books about Fr. Tim, I enjoyed this one very much however it was very disapointing at first because the familiar voices of the characters were not the same. This different reader did not do justice to the people we thought we knew so well from all the previous books.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Positive about the Scott Sowers Narration

A new narrator was a good idea. I've listened to all the Mitford series and absolutely love John McDonough's voice. I wasn't sure I'd like the change. However, I soon realized that much of the voicing in the Holly Springs book is YOUNG Timothy and the southern voices of his childhood, therefore a change in narrator makes perfect sense. Scott Sowers is excellent!

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Still a wonderful listen

Though accustomed to the other wonderful narrator who has done all of the Mitford books, I still found this recording quite nice. I recommend both the book and the recorded performance.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Missing Mitford or Milking Mitford?

I downloaded this book expecting to hear something like the funny, but strangely comforting, story of Father Tim's life in North Carolina. "Home to Holly Springs" bore little resemblance to Karon's other books and was, instead, a string of painful reminiscences of the rector's childhood, and by the time I turned it off I was past caring what happened to him. I couldn't even make it to the end.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Can't go it without John McCullough

Would you try another book from Jan Karon and/or Scott Sowers?

Yes, but only if narrated by John McCullough. He IS Father Timothy Kavanaugh.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Father Tim

How could the performance have been better?

Using John McCullough as the narrator. Scott Sowers almost sounds "snarky" in his portrayal of certain characters, like Fthr Tim's wife Cynthia. The whole purpose of reading these books is to feel uplifted from the vulnerability and kindness of Father Tim's manner and struggles. There's a softness that is totally missing from this narration.

What character would you cut from Home to Holly Springs?

None

Any additional comments?

Father Tim is in his late 60's or better during this return to his hometown. A man of that age narrating seems necessary to put it in proper context. I found myself getting upset with the way he was portraying characters who are loved and admired.

4 people found this helpful