A Mitford Christmas Story
By Jan Karon
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670031214, 48pp.)
Publication Date: October 28, 2002
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Readers flocked home to Mitford last Christmas, making The Mitford Snowmen a New York Times bestseller.
In Esther's Gift, Esther Bolick is filled with the holiday spirit as she prepares to bake the annual batch of her famous-and utterly scrumptious-orange marmalade cakes. Right after Christmas Eve service at Lord's Chapel, she and Gene will deliver a two-layer marmalade to each of seven friends and neighbors, all of them favorite Mitford characters. Then Gene calculates what it costs to bake this legendary cake, and Esther is stunned. Is it worth it to spend so much money on people who haven't always measured up to her expectations? The answer is clear. She'll cut her list back-way back.
This decision makes perfect sense until the lyrics of a Christmas carol steal into her heart, and help remind her what a gift really means.
Jan Karon, born Janice Meredith Wilson in the foothills of North Carolina, was named after the title of a popular novel, Janice Meredith.
Jan wrote her first novel at the age of ten. "The manuscript was written on Blue Horse notebook paper, and was, for good reason, kept hidden from my sister. When she found it, she discovered the one curse word I had, with pounding heart, included in someone's speech. For Pete's sake, hadn't Rhett Butler used that very same word and gotten away with it? After my grandmother's exceedingly focused reproof, I've written books without cussin' ever since."
Several years ago, Karon left a successful career in advertising to move to the mountain village of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and write books. "I stepped out on faith to follow my lifelong dream of being an author," she says. "I made real sacrifices and took big risks. But living, it seems to me, is largely about risk."
Enthusiastic booksellers across the country have introduced readers of all ages to Karon's heartwarming books. At Home in Mitford, Karon's first book in the Mitford series, was nominated for an ABBY by the American Booksellers Association in 1996 and again in 1997. Bookstore owner, Shirley Sprinkle, says, "The Mitford Books have been our all-time fiction bestsellers since we went in business twenty-five years ago. We've sold 10,000 of Jan's books and don't see any end to the Mitford phenomenon."