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A New Song: The Fifth Book in the Mitford Years Series [Paperback]

Jan Karon
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 6 2000
The fifth novel in the Mitford series, by the bestselling author of At Home in Mitford and Somebody Safe with Somebody Good 

In A New Song, Mitford's longtime Episcopal priest, Father Tim, retires. However, new challenges and adventures await when he agrees to serve as interim minister of a small church on Whitecap Island. He and his wife, Cynthia, soon find that Whitecap has its own unforgettable characters: a church organist with a mysterious past, a lovelorn bachelor placing personal ads, a mother battling paralyzing depression. They also find that Mitford is never far away when circumstances "back home" keep their phone ringing off the hook. In this fifth novel of the beloved series, fans old and new will discover that a trip to Mitford and Whitecap is twice as good for the soul.

Frequently Bought Together

A New Song: The Fifth Book in the Mitford Years Series + Out to Canaan (The Mitford Years, Book 4) + A Common Life: The Sixth Book in the Mitford Years Series
Price For All Three: CDN$ 37.54

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Product Description

From Amazon

As if being a priest in this day and age isn't difficult enough, try shepherding two parishes, located hundreds of miles apart, at the same time. A predicament of biblical proportions indeed, but one the indomitable Father Tim Kavanaugh and his cheerful wife, Cynthia, can handle, with a little help from the Lord--not to mention their friends--in Jan Karon's A New Song, the fifth installment in her much-loved Mitford series. When asked to act as interim minister for a tiny island parish in North Carolina's Outer Banks, the recently retired Father heeds the call, all the while trusting in a divine master plan: "He had prayed that God would send him wherever He pleased, and when his bishop presented the idea of Whitecap, he knew it wasn't his bishop's bright idea at all, but God's."

From the more routine duties of settling into a new church to dealing with a number of deeper domestic issues--including a single mother's spiral into depression and a reclusive next door neighbor in need of kindness--Father Tim's new parish presents a welcome challenge. All the while, of course, the folks back home keep him informed of goings-on in Mitford--the biggest being the recent arrest of Dooley Barlowe, a mountain boy whom Father Tim had taken into his home and heart five years earlier. As in past Mitford episodes, things have a way of working themselves out, but not before Father Tim and his accompanying cast learn a few more valuable lessons about life. Full of the homey atmosphere and heartwarming truths--not to mention the endearingly quirky characters--that are Karon's trademark, A New Song is a delightful celebration of the communal ties that bind. --Stefanie Hargreaves --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In this fifth volume of Karon's popular series (Out to Canaan, etc.) set in the quaint North Carolina town of Mitford, where people chuckle and say "dadgummit," Father Timothy Kavanagh is leaving town for a post-retirement interim appointment at a small island parish off the coast of North Carolina. After what seems (even to the minister and his wife) to be an endless round of good-byes, he and his wife, Cynthia, set off in a brand-new red convertible. Stormy weather, which closes in on them as they near Whitecap Island, presages the many struggles to come. Once on the island, Fr. Tim tries to befriend a seemingly hostile and isolated neighbor while he and Cynthia take over the care of a three-year-old boy whose mother is suffering from depression. Back in Mitford, meanwhile, Dooley, the mountain boy who is like a son to Fr. Tim, is thrown into jail, and the quiet woman who seemed the perfect tenant for the rectory house surprises the minister with a lawsuit. Additionally, an unexpected storm moves in off the ocean with devastating force. Karon adds a dash of suspense to her homey brew with the increasingly suspicious behavior of Fr. Tim's tenant, whose story emerges in a compelling confession. Newcomers to the series may find they have much to catch up on, but readers making a return trip to the Kavanaghs' world will be happily swept up in the maelstrom of small-town and spiritual drama that characterizes the novel. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club super release; Crossings Book Club main selection; Penguin audio; author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Dappled by its movement among the branches of a Japanese cherry, the afternoon light entered the study unhindered by draperies or shades. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Since Her First One Sept. 17 2003
My wife and I have read each of Karon's Mitford books aloud to each other over the past few years. I enjoyed this book more than I had the previous two in the series. I think that the new locale and the fresh characters really breathed new life into the series. I know from book blurbs that the next installments of the series will be returning to Mitford. I almost wish the author would spend another book in Whitecap, the setting of this book.
Mitford is not abandoned; some storylines continue, including those of Buck Leeper and Dooley Barlowe. But Whitecap Island and its residents have a distinctness that whetted my appetite for more. There was a pleasing authenticity to the descriptions of the island community, and I enjoyed discovering it alongside Father Tim. From 'Ernie's Books Bait, & Tackle' to St. John's in the Grove, this is a fascinating place to visit. In St. John's, Father Tim is introduced to church politics of quite a different sort from his experience with the Mitford church. And the conversations in Ernie's shop are some of the best dialogue Karon has written.
If there is one disappointment for me with this book, it is that Karon couldn't resist the temptation to resolve a neat ending for the Jeffrey Tolson character. Sometimes it's better to let the readers speculate about the fate of secondary characters, and I think this was a perfect case for just that sort of a vague or unstated ending.
If anyone wondered whether the author had enough creativity to go beyond Mitford, I think this book provides an affirmative answer. In my opinion this is the best book since her first one (_At Home in Mitford_)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Mitford Read~ March 30 2003
Every time I open another Mitford book, it is like going home again. As always, Karon paints a picture of comfort, quaintness, and pure delight in her town and all of it's characters.
In this fifth installment, Father Tim and Cynthia are headed to Whitecap, a little island on the coast where Father Tim will serve as an interim pastor in this new town. Here you will meet a new set of characters, as Father Tim & Cynthia meet the community of Whitecap. Beloved Mitford is still in the picture, as were are kept up to speed with its goings-on, as everyone from Emma to Dooley call in to check on Tim & Cynthia.
As always, Father Tim steps in to help the town of Whitecap with the ups and downs of life that it's members come across while not forgetting about his friends and loved ones back in Mitford. In A New Song, Father Tim will reach out to a town recluse, Morris Love, who lives in the neighboring mansion, next to Dove Cottage, where Father Tim and Cynthia are staying. Cynthia also steps in as a surrogate mom for a brief time, to little Jonathan, who's mother is recovering from an emotional breakdown. As the stories unfold, you'll find yourself loving the new set of townsfolk, and continuing to love the old ones. Of course, the ending of A New Song, leaves you wanting for more~
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4.0 out of 5 stars At Home -- in Whitecap Sept. 29 2002
Father Tim Kavanaugh, the longtime rector of Lord's Chapel in Mitford, has at last retired. After a few months of relaxing with his lovely wife, his bishop asks him to serve as an interim pastor of a small chapel on Whitehead Island. Knowing that this isn't the bishop's bright idea, but God's, Tim eagerly takes on the challenge.
After drawn-out goodbyes in Mitford - and many parishoners trying to convince him to stay - Tim and Cynthia head to Whitecap. Of course, even the way there isn't easy, as the couple hits a downpour in their convertible, and faces a washed-out bridge. Once they arrive, they begin to enter into island life, which is both a new and different kind of life, and yet similar, than that they were accustomed to in Mitford.
Tim faces similar challenges from those he knew as a Mitford pastor - a single mother's bout with depression, petty fighting amongst his parish, and a recluse neighbor's need for prayer. Yet, there are new challenges on Whitecap too, particularly when a hurricane strikes the people in a profound way.
A New Song is an interesting installment to Jan Karon's series chroniciling the life of Tim and Cynthia, and yet was not as satisfying as some of her other books. I missed the cast of characters from Mitford, but did not grow very attached to any of the new townspeople from Whitecap.
What was more present than in many of the other books was Father Tim's personal relationship with God, and how much he craved that relationship for his parishoners. While religion has, of course, come into the other books; in this book it seemed far more personal. Father Tim considered himself tethered far more closely to God on his island home, rather than tethered to the earth, as he was in the mountains.
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I think this is Karon's best, so far. She introduces her protagonist, Father Timothy Kavanagh--a newly retired Episcopalian priest--to a new island parish, to fill in until they find a new permanent priest. He and his wife, Cynthia, leave their home in Mitford for the small North Carolina offshore island of Whitecap, where they confront the problems of several of the parishioners there, in addition to the burglary of their home in Mitford, the problems of their foster son, Dooley, with the law, hurricane force storms, and the anger of a talented but anti-social neighbor who is holed up in his mansion, refusing to face the world.

Karon skillfully weaves the stories together in this narrative, which kept me reading avidly until I had finished all 400 pages. She draws her characters from among people I--and you--have known all of our lives. They live and breathe. Father Tim is no plastic hero; he is a flesh and blood man with fears and weaknesses. He is afflicted with diabetes, for example, and gets seasick. Nobody but one who has been dreadfully seasick at some time in their life could possibly have written of it as sympathetically as does Jan Karon.

This is a skilled writer who does not depend upon cliché violence, explicit sex or filthy language to grab your attention. She does it instead with convincing stories about normal, good, everyday people whose problems and solutions get and hold your attention. Strong religious themes are a large part of her work, but the affect is not saccharin.

Joseph H. Pierre,
author of "The Road to Damascus: Our Journey Through Eternity"
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy gentle reading
Books by Jan Karon are excellent bedtime reading. No violence. Just good wholesome reading. Her characterizations enable the reader to clearly envision Father Tim and his wife,... Read more
Published 21 months ago by ida findlay
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book!
Another great book as usual! Too bad there aren't more books like her's. Don't we all wish we lived in Mitford! Read more
Published on Dec 5 2003 by Tonya Speelman
2.0 out of 5 stars very unplausible stories
With each passing book, the story lines seem to get thinner and thinner, which is why, I suppose, Karon decided to uproot the preacher and his wife and move them to an island 600... Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2003 by C. Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Song is a breath of fresh air
Good for Father Tim and Cynthia. Cynthia finally got Father Tim to venture out beyond the great town of Mitford! Read more
Published on July 13 2003 by Stellina
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle soap opera
The series are all gentle soap operas which are non-offensive to all readers. Nothing to be embarrassed about sharing with your mother. Read more
Published on July 2 2003 by HopeP
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Mitford Goody!
Recently retired after years of serving as the rector of Lord's Chapel, Father Tim is going to agree to pastor a small parish off the Atlantic coast. Read more
Published on Dec 12 2002 by J. Kirkman
2.0 out of 5 stars A New Song
The Mitford series was recommended to me. I just finished A New Song. It is a bit more Christianity that I would like. I doubt if I will read other books in this series.
Published on Dec 11 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars A New Song
The Mitford series was recommended to me. I just read A New Song. It is a bit more Christianity that I want. I doubt if I will read any of the others in the series.
Published on Dec 11 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Song!
Another wonderful work from Jan Karon. Sweeps you into another world, upward ever higher til you see the face of heaven. Read more
Published on July 9 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this one~
To me, this was the most satisfying of the Mitford novels. Father Tim and Cynthia are stretched, much as we are in our everyday lives. Read more
Published on March 28 2002
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