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A New Song: The Fifth Book in the Mitford Years Series Paperback – Apr 1 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (April 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140270590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140270594
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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

Karon reads the fifth installment of her popular Mitford series with gentle authority, nimble in her Southern enunciation and the depiction of colorful local characters (the four previous titles are available on tape, with the author at the microphone). She is very good at establishing mood, eliciting the nuances of time and place in the life of Father Tim Kavanagh, the recently retired Episcopal minister of this postcard-perfect North Carolina small town. He and Cynthia, his devoted wife, are moving to the coastal island of Whitecap for a year, where he is to preside as interim minister at a small church. Kavanagh is acutely sensitive to the "upheaval" of the "tearing up and nailing down" required by the temporary move. He feels homesick and is nagged with fear, especially as he learns that his adopted teenage son, Dooley, has landed in jail back home. And that's just the beginning of his troubles. Because Kavanagh's life unfolds episodicallyAand always in unexpected waysAit translates especially keenly as audio drama. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover. (Apr.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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