All Things New
"All Things New" by Lynn Austin is set in post-Civil War-era Virginia and focuses on the months immediately following the end of the war. The Confederacy has just lost the war, the citizens are facing poverty and attempting to pick up the pieces of shattered lives, and deep prejudices continue to come to light.
Josephine Weatherly lost her father and one older brother in the war. Her family may lose their plantation as well with limited resources and no real ability to bring in a cotton crop. Josephine begins to see that life needs to revolve around basic survival, not trying to keep up a facade of life as it was before the war. Her mother, Eugenia, is appalled at the idea of her daughter expressing interesting in tending a garden, sewing, and learning to cook, and she tries to forbid Josephine from having anything to do with "manual labor".
Lizzie is a freed slave who continues to live at White Oak plantation with her family after the war, primarily due to the promise of her children receiving an education thanks to the newly established Freedman's Bureau, run by a former Yankee soldier named Alexander Chandler. Lizzie and her family embrace their newfound freedom, but begin to experience a taste of the extreme difficulties that the freed slaves will face in this new phase of life.
This was a wonderful book that takes a look at different aspects of life during Reconstruction from three different perspectives. I loved how Austin showed the effects of war, bitterness, and hatred, and how the remedy is found in God's healing love and forgiveness. The characters were well-developed and there was just enough suspense to keep the reader engaged to the end. Overall, a good fictional read that focuses on an important and challenging part of American history.
(IÃ¢ÂÂve received this complimentary book from Bethany House Publishers through the Book Blogger program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)
January 11, 2014
Good characters, as always.
As usual, I liked the characters. Civil War era also one of my favorites. Although this was not quite as deep as this author usually goes with suspense, her writing is a great read. I look forward to her next book.
June 18, 2013
Couldn't put it down!
This is another GREAT book by Lynn Austin! She makes history come alive with this great historical fiction. I couldn't put it down!
June 12, 2013
all things new review
"All Things New" by Lynn Austin is a novel about post Civil War in the South. The Weatherly's are the historical Bluth's only not funny, but just as delusional. The Weatherlys are an antebellum family that has lost everything following the Civil War. They have lost everything all the way down to one slave family and one horse and a few chickens. And they have no clue what they are doing. They don't know how to survive or take care of themselves in any way, nor do they want to. The Weatherlys must change as well as the entire South if they are going to survive.
This book follows two family's points of view: the Weatherly's and the Otis's (former slaves). It explores the frame of mind the two families have in order to deal with change. The whites on reforming an entire way of life and the blacks on losing their slave state of mind. The book is pretty good, but it runs long. A lot of the middle could be taken out. The pace could have been a little quicker too. The idea of the novel is good. It shows how mending the repercussions of slavery takes so long. I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers.
June 8, 2013