Tuesday, November 20, 2012

All Things New by Lynn Austin

The American Civil War has recently ended, and the South is in a shambles. Soldiers have returned home injured both physically and emotionally. Freed slaves have no place to go, unsure of what to do with their new-found freedom. Landowners have lost all their resources for running their farms. The former enemy is now trying to help people rebuild and work together.

In Virginia, Josephine Weatherly, her mother (Eugenia), and their former slave, Lizzie, all struggle to define their futures. Josephine, raised as a Southern lady, realizes that she cannot live the life that was planned for her. Although it bothers her mother, she embraces the prospect of doing her own work and teaching former slave children to read. Eugenia is in denial. She tries to keep up appearances thinking that she can put her life back together and rebuild her plantation, White Oak, to its former glory. Lizzie wants to stay at White Oak and work for the family. She doesn't really trust her the white people in her life, but she feels she has no choice for the time being. Josephine and Lizzie have one thing in common. They both are having a crisis of faith. They are both influenced by the men in their lives whose faith has not been shaken by the turbulent times.

Lynn Austin does a masterful job of weaving the three women's stories together. There's plenty of conflict, and a surprise or two at the end. As with all her historical fiction, she provides details that help you feel that you are living the story along with the characters. Josephine, the rebel, becomes interested in a Yankee, of all things. Lizzie has a secret that comes out at the end. And, Eugenia finally accepts that her new life must be different from the old. The male characters provide interesting insights into the social problems of the time, but this is a story of the women.

The title is based on Revelation 21:5 where Jesus says, "I will make all things new." Read the book and see how this happens! This would be a great Christmas gift for historical fiction lovers.

See details on the Baker Publishing Group site.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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