Cover image for Out to Canaan
Out to Canaan
Karon, Jan, 1937-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[New York] : Penguin Books, 1998.

Physical Description:
342 pages ; 20 cm.
General Note:
"First published in the United States of America by Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc., 1997"--T.p. verso.
Reading Level:
870 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.5 16.0 54938.

Reading Counts RC High School 8.5 19 Quiz: 08793 Guided reading level: NR.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Get to know the lovable cast of characters that populate the small town of Mitford in this inspirational novel in Jan Karon's #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Millions of readers have come home to Mitford, the little town with the big heart, whose endearing and eccentric residents have become like family members. But now change is coming to the hamlet. Father Tim, the Episcopal rector, and his wife, Cynthia, are pondering retirement; a brash new mayoral candidate is calling for aggressive development; a suspicious realtor with plans for a health spa is eyeing the beloved house on the hill; and, worst of all, the Sweet Stuff Bakery may be closing. Meanwhile, ordinary people are leading the extraordinary lives that hundreds of thousands of readers have found so inviting and inspiring.

Author Notes

Jan Karon was born in North Carolina in 1937. After a career in advertising, she began writing a column in the Blowing Rocket. The column, about life in the small North Carolina town of Mitford, centered around an Episcopalian minister named Father Tim. Her Father Tim stories were collected into a book and published by a Christian publisher. She is the author of A Mitford Novel series and two children's books entitled Miss Fannie's Hat and Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny. She has won numerous awards for her work including the Christy Award for A New Song and the Gold Medallion Award for A New Song, A Common Life, In This Mountain, and Shepards Abiding.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Here is another visit to the little mountain village of Mitford (population 1,000) and Father Tim Kavanaugh, rector of Lord's Chapel. A year or so has passed since the events in Karon's previous book, These High, Green Hills [BKL Jl 96]. Dooley Barlowe, Father Tim's unofficially adopted son, comes home from prep school for the summer. Father Tim continues piecing together Dooley's scattered family, who come from the impoverished Creek community. He drives to Florida to find little Jessie, reunites her with Dooley's brother, Poohbaw, and his mother, Pauline, and helps Pauline find a job managing the dining room at Hope House, the retirement home built by Mitford's wealthiest citizen, Sadie Baxter. What with Dooley being home, and Father Tim and Cynthia taking in the ailing Harvey Welch, another Creek refugee, and 13-year-old Lace Turner coming by to help nurse Harley, who's been like a father to her, Father Tim's rectory is anything but peaceful. A mysterious group called Miami Development wants to buy Fernbank, Sadie Baxter's old home, and turn it into a luxury spa. And the bishop comes to town and announces Father Tim's retirement, now just a year and a half away. Although Mitford and its close-knit community seem quaint and idyllic, Karon's portrayal is never sentimentalized. Out to Canaan can stand alone, but pleasure will be heightened by reading the whole series, a feast of small riches. --Mary Ellen Quinn

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this fourth book of the Mitford Years series (following At Home with Mitford, A Light in the Window and These High, Green Hills), Karon continues to develop her Heartland of America town. The plot deals with the mayoral race between long-time incumbent Esther Cunningham and newcomer Mack Stroupe. As the two race neck-and-neck for the finish line, the microcosmic Mitford world teems with the small triumphs and crises of Southern rural life. Father Timothy Kavanagh, rector of the Chapel of Our Lord and Savior, his wife, Cynthia, and their young charge, Dooley Barlowe, balance a family life that includes his impending retirement, her Primrose Tea and Dooley's budding interest in the opposite sex. In this church-going community, these and similar concerns share equal billing in civic gossip, centering on Stroupe's plans for development and the ads the locals take out in the town paper in support of Cunningham. But greater than the political reality in Mitford is the Canaan referred to in the title‘The Promised Land. With a belief in God's Providence and a sly sense of humor (one character notes that now Abraham's 600-mile trip to Canaan would require four visas), Mitford navigates by a sort of pre-Enlightenment historical compass. Significantly, from the novel's introductory chit-chat about flowers frozen in a cold snap to the announcement of the mayoral tie at the end, old Miss Rose Watson mishears everything that's said‘but, in Mitford, does the temporal world really matter? Using an off-handed solution that would shock serious devotees of American politics, the Mitfordites break the electoral stalemate, then turn with relief to their alternate reality of such effortless natural cohesion that, in retrospect, politics seems a mere afterthought, grist for the insatiable rumor mill. Though she makes no attempt to suggest the full scope of the human condition, Karon's devoted readers will undoubtedly adore another upbeat visit to her idealized and endearing corner of America.(May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Though facing retirement, Father Tim Kavanagh hasn't slowed down one bit since his appearance in These High, Green Hills (Viking, 1996). Racing from one good deed to another, Father Timothy takes in stray sick folk, finds an abandoned child, and helps his favorite baker write a winning jingle. A mayoral race pitting the long-time mayor Esther Cunningham against the possibly corrupt Mack Stroupe makes for some colorful sparring. Father Timothy applies his own unique, time-honored method of intuition, prayer, or dietary indulgence to a multitude of problems big and small. His late-in-life marriage to Cynthia continues to be a blessing readers will feel privileged to share. Distinguished by their rare tone of kindness, Karon's Mitford novels create instant warmth and coziness. Out to Canaan continues in this spirit, offering comedy and consolation to all. For most fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/97.]‘Keddy Ann Outlaw, Harris Cty. P.L., Houston, Tex. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.