Saturday, December 29, 2012

All Things New ~ A Book Review

My Last Book Review this year is charming novel set at the end of the Civil War ~ All Things New by Lynn Austin.
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Synopsis:
The war is over. The South has lost.
Josephine Weatherly struggles to pick up the pieces of her life when her family returns to their Virginia plantation. But the realities of life after the war cannot be denied: her home and land are but a shell of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken.

Her life of privilege, a long-ago dream.
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.

Can hope--and a battered faith in God--survive amid the devastation?
In her bestselling tradition, Lynn Austin brings to life the difficult years of Reconstruction by interweaving the stories of three women--daughter, mother, and freed slave--in a riveting tale.
 
My Review
All Things New  is set in a volatile time in our American history.  Lynn Austin lays out with clarity and honesty the bigotry and prejudices that existed so prevalently at that time.  Her characters show that just because one was on either the North or South side didn't determine if one was good or evil; those characteristics lie in our hearts.  Watching these women adapt and struggle to survive amid the destruction and frustrations was an enjoyable journey.  
 
The plantation women must learn to adapt on their own in a changing world with very few men left to help them.  Eugenia is determined to restore the plantation to it's former glory all while refusing to change her habits, which makes her transition much more painful.
 
The former slaves must learn to cope with their newfound freedoms while dealing with the bigotry that exists all around them, their own preconceptions included.  I really like Josephine, the daughter and Lizzie, the freed slave...they were the most relate-able to me as they struggled with trusting God and trying to control the things around them.  They were also willing to work as hard as it took to provide for and protect their families and those they loved. 
 
This book shows a journey of faith, healing and honesty and I truly enjoyed reading it.
 
 In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of the book from Bethany House



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