HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: A New Song: The Mitford Years, Book 5
Author: Jan Karon
Illustrator: Donna Kae Nelson
Publisher: Penguin Group Inc., republished in 2000
ISBN-13: 978-0670878109 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0670878103 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0140270594 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0140270590 (Paperback)
Related website: http://www.penguinputnam.com (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Karon, Jan. A New Song: The Mitford Years, Book 5 (originally published in 1999 by Viking Press, and republished in 2000 by Penguin Books, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson St., New York City, NY 10014, a member of The Penguin Group). Tim Kavanaugh has retired as minister of the Episcopal Lord’s Chapel in the quaint mountain village of Mitford, NC. Now he and his cheerful wife Cynthia find new challenges and adventures when he agrees to serve as interim minister of the small St. John’s in the Grove Church on Whitecap Island off the coast of North Carolina. They soon learn that Whitecap has its own unforgettable characters including Ella Bridgewater, the new church organist with a mysterious past; Morris Love, their isolated and somewhat hostile neighbor who is a gifted musician but never ventures beyond his gates; Junior, a lovelorn bachelor placing personal ads to find a wife; and Janette Tolson, a young a mother who is battling a paralyzing depression because her husband Jeffrey, the former St. John’s choir director, had left her and their children shortly before. And Jeffrey has hinted that he wants to return to St. John’s.
Yet, the Kavanaughs also see that Mitford is never far away when circumstances “back home” keep their phone ringing off the hook. His former secretary, Emma Newland, keeps him informed. Gene Bolick has a brain tumor. Louella Baxter Marshall has fallen and broken a hip. His new tenant, Helene Pringle, sues him and Hope House claiming to be Miss Sadie Baxter’s long-lost half sister who is entitled to a portion of her fortune. And worst of all, his foster son Dooley Barlowe is accused of helping Buster Austin commit larceny. Furthermore, they have to deal with all of this while taking care of three-year-old Jonathan Tolson and weathering a destructive storm. How will they do it all? A New Song is the fifth installment in Karon’s much-loved Mitford series. One reviewer noted, “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.” While there are some things in the book that I would have written differently if I were the author, generally it is a wholesome and charming story. We recently listened to the unabridged audio CD version while on a trip to Florida.