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Publisher's Summary

Laughter and wedding bells ring as Jan Karon takes her millions of fans back in time to the most cherished event in Mitford!

Mitford's Lord's Chapel seats barely two hundred souls, yet millions of Jan Karon's fans will be there for the most joyful event in years: the wedding of Father Tim Kavanagh and Cynthia Coppersmith. Here at last is A Common Life, and the long-awaited answers to these deeply probing questions: Will Father Tim fall apart when he takes his vows? Will Cynthia make it to the church on time? Who'll arrange the flowers and bake the wedding cake? And will Uncle Billy's prayers for a great joke be answered in time for the reception?

All the beloved Mitford characters will be there: Dooley Barlowe, Miss Sadie and Louella, Emma Newland, the mayor; in short, everybody who's anybody in the little town with the big heart.

A Common Life is the perfect gift for Mother's Day, Father's Day, anniversaries, and for a bride or groom to give to his or her beloved. In truth, it's perfect for anyone who believes in laughter, relies on hope, and celebrates love.

©2001 Jan Karon (P)1998 Penguin Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    291
  • 4 Stars
    86
  • 3 Stars
    45
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    10

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    196
  • 4 Stars
    60
  • 3 Stars
    45
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    16

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    246
  • 4 Stars
    63
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Disappointed in narrator

I love all the Mitford books, have listened to all of them several times, and the only reason why I didn't give this a full 5 stars was because of the narrator. I love John McDonough's narration and his realization of the characters, and really felt the lack in this narration by Dana Ivey. I wish I had realized this version was not narrated by John McDonough before I bought it.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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

What a disappointment- wish I'd given this a pass!

Any additional comments?

I'm afraid the new narrator, Dana Ivey, for this book in the series just wasn't up to the task. John McDonough has narrated all the Mitford books until now and has done a masterful job. In my mind he is Father Tim and all the characters in Mitford sparkle in his voice. In this book the story felt disjointed, the characters not themselves and the reading was flat, lifeless and horribly one dimensional. I think the timing was just off-- lacking pauses and inflection and phrasing usually provided by the narrator.

Also be aware the book feels like it was written as an afterthought. It is listed as coming after A New Song (1999) but that isn't where the story fits. I think it should be before Out to Canaan (1997). I don't want to be a plot spoiler--so I won't elaborate--but be aware that if you want the story in order the list is wrong. But--to me--it's more than just being out of order, more than a really poor narration, the whole thing just isn't up to Karon's lovely collection of books.

37 of 40 people found this review helpful

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

Disappointed in this book.

What would have made A Common Life better?

This book should have come earlier in the series and the narrator of this book sucked. Her voice was annoying and didn't fit the characters at all. Not like the earlier books at all.

Has A Common Life turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

Would you be willing to try another one of Dana Ivey’s performances?

NO

Any additional comments?

They need to stay with the same person narrating the series. The first 5 books in the series were a true delight; this one, not so much. Would never have listened to any of the other books in the series had this been the first one I listened to.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Disappointing!

Very disappointing! I have loved the Mitford Series until this book. Beside the fact that it is out of place in terms of sequence, it was a big mistake to have someone other than John McDonough narrate. I have no doubt that I would enjoy Dana Ivey's reading of other books but did not appreciate her being thrown into the middle of this series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Love Jan Karon's stories

I think Dana Ivey wasn't as easily believable as other narrators. Very disappointing. Will not buy audios narrated by Ms Ivey.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Nice to learn some back stories

I enjoyed that the story in places reflected back on the stories of some of the characters not described in great detail in earlier books. I enjoyed this narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

I listened to the entire book while gardening in the early North Carolina spring.

I listened to the entire book while gardening in the early North Carolina spring. Being a transplant to Western NC and listening to this story on one of the most beautiful days, lifted my heart and reinforced my decision to move here. This series is everything good about North Carolina, and this story in particular was a great reminder of how wonderful my own marriage and family are to me. You can't help but reflect, with gladness, on the blessings in your own life, after listening to this book. I stopped during several parts of this book to take in the beauty around me as the book was describing the beauty and serenity of its own story.
I've become a fan of Jan Karon and the Mitford series books.
On the narrator, although the change from male to female voice was difficult at first, I slowing forgot the change, and I was very happy to hear such beautiful singing!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

Really did not like a change in narrator, story was short and lacked the flow of the rest of the series

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Love the Mitford audio books? Avoid this one.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Most reviews here dislike the reader choice. After listening to all the other Mitford audiobooks over and over again; this one is irritating to the point of not finishing it.

What other book might you compare A Common Life to and why?

The story is great. On a par with the rest of the series.

How could the performance have been better?

The reader choice was more than unfortunate. Partially because John McDonough is an excellent voice talent and because listeners associate his voices and mannerisms with the characters.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

None. Because the reader was so frustrating that I was unable to enjoy the story which is excellent. I have started it three times and never made it halfway through.

Any additional comments?

What a disappointment.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

DelightFULL

As with all of the books I have read from Jan Karon, this one is a delight to the soul. The most difficult thing for me was a new reader. It took me until about half way through to enjoy the book. I am not certian the reader was the best choice, but the content is choice!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful