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.
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