Many books which have predictable plot lines take it on the chin from their readers.
In Jan Karon's latest book, Home To Holly Spring; the first of the Father Tim novels. We are treated to some predictablility, yet we're also granted some great surprises of grace.
The opening of the story is intriguing -Father Tim has been summoned to his boyhood home by a cryptic letter - come home. He decides to go, not knowing who the letter is from nor what he will find. Along the way we find that there are a few story lines of his life that are dangling, left undone since childhood. There are a couple of old romances that come to the fore. In the early going I wondered where this stroy was going. We were told Father Tim's age - 70, yet it had more of a feel of a 40 something mid-life crisis. For good or bad, Karon makes you wade through these moments to pass the time to the real deal.
The real confrontation that Father Tim is faced with is the nature of his father and his relationship to him and his father's relationship to the rest of the world. The story made me curious how Father Tim could have been a preist for the balance of his life and overlooked or not dealt with the issues brought to the fore when he's 70. Maybe a line from Dr. Dennis Kinlaw's devotional, This Day With The Master, is realized in his life - we can only learn one lesson at a time. Essentially Father Tim has to forgive his father and himself and find that in all the mysterious turns of life - God's grace and mercy are all sufficient.
Jan Karon is a good stroy teller, like Garrison Keillor; unlike Keillor, she knows how to tell good stories, stories of redemption. The world is a better place because of this story. Take it, read it, and be blessed.