A New Song: The Fifth Book in the Mitford Years Series Paperback – Apr 1 2000
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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
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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_)
Like life the plots are winding and not necessarily purposeful but by the end of the stories your can think back and realize how things developed to an inevitable conclusion. You basically follow a 60 year old preacher through his travails. Since he is a Christian man there is quite bit of bible quotation, but otherwise the story is not about his church so much as his efforts to keep life in order and cope with being recently married man, past his youth yet surrounded by a small town that loves him - sometimes too closely.
One warning..this is very much a "sweet" book. It challenged me to forgo my natural skepticism. I put this in the category of a read that won't tax the reader all but may instead impart a little smile.
Also be aware that a stong Christian message plays throughout much of the dialogue and thinking.
This is apparently a continuation of a series of books about the little town of Mitford, North Carolina. Mitford supposedly has a population of only a thousand, although there are many more businesses and churches than a town of that size would realistically have.
The main character is the longtime rector of the Episcopal Church in Mitford, who is valiantly trying to solve the problems of at least a dozen people. Those attempts are complicated by his own personal and family problems, as well as some political divisions within the town.
Without exception, every attempt to solve every problem is successful. The rector confidently places his trust in the Lord, and remarkable coincidences save the day in every case.
The naivetÃ© of this book is breathtaking. Karon seems to believe that good intentions will always be rewarded, whether you are trying to reform an alcoholic, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for your church, teach a teenager how to drive, or build a marriage between two people who remained single well into their fifties. Has Karon's life really been like that, or has she been sleepwalking since birth? The rector doesn't even have to break a sweat to solve every problem and rescue every soul in town. No one ever resents his attempts to intrude into their lives. He never has to deal with the often-agonizing issue of where to draw the line between supporting people and teaching them to support themselves.
The religious aspect of the book is not heavy-handed, but the preposterous naivetÃ© of the author's viewpoint applies to religion as well.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A wonderful read. Great story full of meaning and humourous too.Published 11 months ago by christine Ottens
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 morePublished on Dec 11 2012 by ida findlay
All of these books keep you going. At least they did me. You have to read it.Published on July 16 2004
This book, like all the Mitford series, is predictable, but I don't mean that as a criticism, but to the point that good things happen to good people and sometimes we get to see... Read morePublished on May 13 2004
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 morePublished on Dec 5 2003 by Tonya Speelman
This is by far the most enjoyable book I've read in the Mitford series and the others were all five star in my opinion. Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2003
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 morePublished on Aug. 12 2003 by C. Hill
Good for Father Tim and Cynthia. Cynthia finally got Father Tim to venture out beyond the great town of Mitford! Read morePublished on July 13 2003 by Stellina