Friday, January 11, 2008

Home to Harmony

Mom and Dad have been telling me for several months that I should read Philip Gulley's "Harmony" novels. I'd say, "Yeah, yeah, okay, I will," and continue to read other books instead. Last week Dad stopped by the house, came into the family room where I was reading (a book other than one by Philip Gulley), handed me Home to Harmony and said, "Here - it's your own copy to keep." Then he left.

Uh, okay. So I decided maybe I should go ahead and read it already. Obviously it meant a lot to my dad. I did read it. And I did enjoy it. A lot. So much so that I went to PaperBackSwap to get more "Harmony" books to read.

Reminiscent of Jan Karon's Mitford series, or Miss Read's Thrush Green, this story is told by Sam Gardner, a Harmony, Indiana boy who after growing up in Harmony, went away to college and seminary and eventually ends up back in Harmony as the pastor of the Quaker church. Each chapter is like a story in itself, but through them the reader learns Sam's past, about the townspeople, and things to think about, but not in a preachy way. Kind of like Cold Sassy Tree meets The Hawk and the Dove.

I felt like I knew so many of the characters - and their lives. Sam comments on small town living at its best - and not so best. Early in the book Sam states:

"I never wanted to live anywhere but Harmony. When I went away to college and other students asked me where I wanted to live after school, I would tell them Harmony. They said I lacked ambition, which wasn't true. They confused contentment for stagnation, a common mistake. Even at that young age I knew contentment was a rare gift and saw no need to seek it elsewhere when I had found it in Harmony."

This contentment is woven throughout the book, and is doubtless what enables Sam to get along with prickly church members, and deal with the ups and downs of daily living.

Dad and Mom were right about this book. I've already told several other friends about it, and am taking my copy to a friend today.



Blogger Jennie C. said...

I read that book quite some years ago and just loved it! I don't like the Mitford books, but I've missed Harmony. :-)

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Heidi ( said...

Hm. I might have to give it a whirl! S'been awhile since I've read any fiction...

8:00 PM  
Blogger Eileen said...

I LOVE these books! Read them all. My sister loves them too. We read this one for a book club we both belonged to and NO ONE else liked it! In fact they all almost hated it. We were shocked! Oh well I guess everyone is different. :-)

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Barbara H. said...

I don't think I have heard of this series, but it sounds interesting! I like the quote about confusing contentment with stagnation.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I read this a few years ago and loved it and have always meant to go back and read the others! Thanks for the reminder.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Donna Boucher said...

Well...I think the cover is adorable!!!

9:22 PM  

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