Friday, October 12, 2012

All Things New

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


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. Eight of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, Until We Reach Home, Though Waters Roar, While We're Far Apart, and Wonderland Creek have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 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.


The Civil War era has long been one of my favorite historical settings for novels but there is certainly nothing romantic or appealing about this time in our nation's history. The aftermath was horrific as well, as the country tried to put back pieces that no longer fit together. Lynn Austin, winner of eight Christy Awards, beautifully captures the tension, distrust and uncertainty that plagued the South following its defeat. I was spellbound by the way Austin portrays the very different perspectives of three women on the same plantation: Eugenia, the matriarch, who desperately wants life to return to the genteel days she had known before so she can rule her little kingdom once again; Josephine, her strong-willed daughter, who grows in ways she never dreamed she could as her eyes are opened to the realities around her; and Lizzie, their house slave turned servant, who isn't sure what freedom really means and is scared to believe things might be different, especially when lingering hostilities in the area so readily erupt. I loved the faith struggles that each woman grapples with, and the steady faith of Lizzie's husband, Otis, absolutely shines. This is a masterfully written novel, full of depth. I suspect it will garner Austin yet another award for her crowded shelves!


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1 comment:

Diana Ferguson said...

This sounds like a great story!