Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
Father Timothy Kavanagh, protagonist of four earlier Mitford novels (At Home in Mitford, 1994; A Light in the Window, 1995; These High Green Hills, 1996; and Out to Cannan, 1997), has been retired for six months from his Episcopalian ministry in Lord’s Chapel in the mountain town of Mitford. Approaching his sixty-sixth birthday, he wonders how next to serve God, but he has already accepted an interim appointment at the church of St. John’s in the Grove on Whitecap Island, about six hundred miles from Mitford. He and his wife, Cynthia Coppersmith Kavanagh, a prominent children’s book writer and illustrator, prepare to leave Mitford but cannot leave their responsibilities behind.
Dooley Barlowe is a particular responsibility. Taken in by Kavanagh when eleven, Dooley is now sixteen, wants a car, and wants to remain in Mitford. While denying him a car, Kavanagh believes he has made satisfactory arrangements for Dooley to remain in Mitford under close supervision. They plan to continue the search for his lost siblings, abandoned by their alcoholic mother. That mother, now recovering, is engaged to a stable man; the couple wants Kavanagh to return to Mitford to marry them. The Kavanaghs also must rent out the rectory that Kavanagh bought when he retired. Their tenant is a Frenchwoman, Hélène Pringle, who apparently wants to teach piano in Mitford. They take her at her word. Reluctantly, they leave for the island,...
(The entire section is 965 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of A New Song Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!