Friday, May 27, 2016

Review of Come Rain or Come by Shine Jan Karon

Mitford fans...rejoice!
Dooley and Lace are tying the knot...#13 has arrived.

Come Rain or Shine
Jan Karon
September 2015
GP Putnam's Sons
Come Rain or Come Shine (Mitford Years, #11)

About the Book:
Over the course of twelve Mitford novels, fans have kept a special place in their hearts for Dooley Kavanagh, first seen in At Home in Mitford as a barefoot, freckle-faced boy in filthy overalls.

Now, Father Tim Kavanagh's adopted son has graduated from vet school and opened his own animal clinic. Since money will be tight for a while, maybe he and Lace Harper, his once and future soul mate, should keep their wedding simple.

So the plan is to eliminate the cost of catering and do potluck. Ought to be fun. An old friend offers to bring his well-known country band. Gratis. And once mucked out, the barn works as a perfect venue for seating family and friends. Piece of cake, right?

In Come Rain or Come Shine, Jan Karon delivers the wedding that millions of Mitford fans have waited for. It's a June day in the mountains, with more than a few creatures great and small, and you're invited--because you're family.

By the way, it's a pretty casual affair, so come as you are and remember to bring a tissue or two. After all, what's a good wedding without a good cry?

Buy on Amazon

Commentary on marketing:
I received a request to review this book, and wow, was I ever flattered. A Jan Karon book! The request came in March to post for May. I hadn't checked up on the book or when it actually released. It's typical for larger book publishers to offer a hundred or more free advanced reader copies to get a goodly number of reviewers posting and ramping up the numbers as soon as a new book releases. I assumed the book was releasing in May. It wasn't. Moreover, when I went to check on things at Amazon and Goodreads, I saw that the hardcover had released in September of last year. Not only that, it had 1411 reviews already. What in the world? Her other books in the series had less than 1,000. Still "only" 855 reviews on Goodreads. Why would the publicist keep offering free books with that many reviews and great sales rankings already? Not sure. But I dutifully posted, and as I glance through other reviewers, see many familiar names in the CBA communities. My guess is that GP Putnam's Sons got hold of another list of Christian Book reviewers, especially those who didn't review Karon's other books, and were willing to send out any e-copies. All this continues to beg the question of free books in exchange for publicity. At this point in the game of publishing for such monster authors as Karon, its really how the big publishers are spending those advertising dollars--either on potential dip of sales vs. outright paid ads. When the electronic version costs as much as a paperback, then the pricing issue comes into play as well. How much are individuals willing to spend on purchasing ebooks? On the other hand, making libraries pay for to lend probably makes up a lot of those costs. Maintaining momentum and reputation with tried and true authors by attempting to find new fans to buy up their back list is still a useful tool.

My Review:
For Mitford fans, Come Rain or Come Shine is one of those family conversations where you can come in the middle of and know who’s talking about what. The cousins and the neighbors are an open book, and all the advice is free and full of good intent regarding matters of love and the wedding. For that’s what this story is about—Dooley and Lace’s long-awaited marriage.

There are a few lovely little twists and surprises, some grief, a lot of joy, some wondering and bewilderment, a lot of pride. This, number thirteen in the series, would not be the best introduction to those new to Karon’s writing style. Folksy and familiar, the reader has always to feel as though stepping into the middle of someone’s thought, or to pick up a thread of conversation, or listen to the inkling of a great plan only to pick it up later, and to learn of an expected event, such as Dooley’s graduation from veterinarian school, but then come in after it’s done and feel slightly miffed that you missed the ceremony. Readers never quite know exactly where they are, but it’s the people of Mitford gathered not exactly in town but nearby, and you’re safe. You feel as though you’ve stepped into a 1930 scenario set in modern contemporary times and the breeze of a slight time warp as you adjust your shawls for a rock on the porch swing.

Full of layers of imagery and decision-making, revelations, hiding or being in the open, angst, finding the right dress, creating the right atmosphere, Come Rain or Come Shine is a lovely story of being oneself.

It’s good, it’s poignant, it’s humbling, and it’s home.

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