In a time when it’s more popular to write a novel about the lives of Antebellum plantations during the Civil War, “All Things New” begins at the end of the war and continues into the late months of that same year.
I will admit to wondering what the “point” of the novel was going to be in the first couple of chapters, but once I read past the preliminary set up, I was taken into a world completely far from my own. It’s a devastated South with plantations families that have been destroyed, their lively hoods gone. Their past rising to haunt them, with no money or threats to keep things quiet. To imagine once having so much power and now having it stripped away as though it never existed – except you have to live in the evidence.
This novel gives a window’s view from the newly freed slaves, a young woman forced into a new identity, or maybe just discovering Christ’s identity for her and an aristocratic mother who can’t release her past.
The different threads and layers of the story made for a great plot. The subtle taste of romance was just enough added incentive for me to become that much more invested. I was taken into 19th century Southern culture, for it truly was a culture, a way of living completely upended. This novel shows it so well. The reader will only continue to find hidden depths.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through CFBA for my copy to review.
More about the novel and author...
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.
If you would like to read the first chapter of All Things New, go HERE.