Growing up in the “north”, the North’s victory in the Civil War over the South is generally studied as a turning point for the United States. However, what most history books forget to include is details of the shambles that the South was left in after General Lee had surrendered. What was once a genteel society brimming with wealth, industry and affluence is now a blistered graveyard of plantations and a disparaged people with a bleak future. In the South, the fourth month of 1865 is not seen as a time of celebration, but as a time of mourning. Fathers have succumbed to illness, their brothers are missing in action and the women are left to bury the dead. Their livelihood as they know it is no more. Somehow, someway, they must learn to carry on.
And they did.
I’ll admit “All Things New” started off somewhat depressing. Who wants to read about fathers dying and brothers missing? It’s not exactly the type of stuff that keeps you up late into the night, turning the pages. But stick with it. You’ll be glad that you did.
“All Things New” centers around three woman and their different plights in life: Josephine, a young woman who has lost her years in society to the war, along with her father and her brother; Eugenia, the mother of Josephine, who is learning what it takes to carry on after your life has been turned upside down; and Lizzie, a newly freed slave whose trust in the Lord carries her through.
I reviewed this novel for CFBA and Bethany House Publishers. The novel was provided in exchange for my honest review.
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Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband’s work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she’d earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn’s novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.
ABOUT THE BOOK
In the aftermath of the Civil War, Josephine Weatherly and her mother, Eugenia, struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives when they return to their Virginia plantation. But the bitter realities of life after the war cannot be denied: their home and land are but shells of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken. The privileged childhood Josephine enjoyed now seems like a long-ago dream. And the God who failed to answer any of her prayers during the war is lost to her as well.
Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival–and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine’s mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak…but a bitter hatred fuels her.
With skill and emotion, Lynn Austin brings to life the difficult years of the Reconstruction era by interweaving the stories of three women–daughter, mother, and freed slave–in a riveting tale.