Thursday, October 11, 2012

"All Things New" Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
All Things New
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
Lynn Austin

     The Reconstruction after the Civil War isn't a period with a lot written about it that I have found. I love Lynn Austin's sweeping historical sagas and I was excited to see what she would do with this time period. She doesn't disappoint. She takes an interesting spin on it because she shows us what is going on through the eyes of 3 different women after the war. Josephine is 22 and was 17 and living a spoiled life on her family's plantation when the Civil War broke out. She realizes that things can't stay the same but can't seem to get anyone else to see that as well, especially her mother. Her mother, Eugenia, has survived the war but sustained the loss of her husband and eldest son. She is not ready to see anything change and is quick to let me people know it. Then there is Lizzie who has been a slave on White Oak Plantation her whole life and is now a free woman, but she sure doesn't feel like it. All she wants is a better life for her husband, kids and herself and she isn't sure that can happen on White Oak, but she doesn't know how to restart the only life she has ever known. 
     This book takes a chapter through the eyes of each woman and then starts over - it is incredibly interesting to see events unfold in such a manner and I was enthralled by their viewpoints. Lynn has done it again, made history come alive.  


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.


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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of All Things New, go HERE.

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