Customer Reviews for

All Things New

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Lynn Austin is at the top of my favorite authors!   I couldn¿t w

Lynn Austin is at the top of my favorite authors!   I couldn’t wait to read this book!
The Civil War is over and the lives of the wealthy northerners and their slaves are changed forever.  Those from the North don’t want to accept it and the slaves don’t know how to acc...
Lynn Austin is at the top of my favorite authors!   I couldn’t wait to read this book!
The Civil War is over and the lives of the wealthy northerners and their slaves are changed forever.  Those from the North don’t want to accept it and the slaves don’t know how to accept it.  
The Weatherly family returns to what is left of their once grand home in Virginia.  Eugenia, the matriarch of the family and widowed by the war, plans to continue life as before.  She purposes, through sheer strength and determination, to rebuild the life they once had.  She has lost one son in the war and looks to her surviving son to return and take his father’s place.  Daniel comes home angry and shattered by his experiences in the war.  He too cannot accept the defeat and seeks revenge on anyone associated with that loss. He could care less about leading the family. 
Her 16 year old daughter, Olivia, is spoiled and selfish and is more than happy to comply with her mother’s plans.  Twenty-two year old Josephine realizes that their focus must be on surviving the reality of their life now, not reconstructing the past.  Although practical in her outlook, she is angry with God for not rewarding her “goodness” and answering her prayers during the war.   She has turned away from Him.  
The only slaves that remain on their plantation are Lizze and Otis and their 3 children.  They have no clue how to handle their new found freedom and realize they have no place to go.  For the first time, Josephine begins to see them as flesh and blood people with feelings and attempts to treat them as equals.  This only enrages her mother more. 
Josephine and her family face hardships they have never experienced: lack of food, clothing, and money.  She begins to understand that this a small taste of the lives their slaves have always lived.   The only difference in Lizze and Otis’s life is that they know their children will never be sold or face mistreatment as they did.   
I was astonished at this historical novel.  Ms. Austin was a genius not only in how she presented the historical facts about the Post Civil War era, but also in capturing the personal details and emotions that so many different groups of people faced in its aftermath.  I never dreamed of what these people actually dealt with.
In many ways the wealthy families coming back were almost as poor as the slaves, but their situations were made worse because they had no skills or knowledge to care for their daily needs and homes.  A culture shock confronted them as they were stripped of their money and lavish, snobbish lifestyles.  They were broken people with only their self-righteous pride left.
The soldiers left as strong, courageous young men only to return shattered emotionally, mentally and some physically.  Handicapped individuals then did not have all the medical help and devices to make life easier.  Many wished they had died rather than live as a cripple.  Some carried the guilt of being alive because their friends died. 
Then there were the slaves who finally had freedom but had no means or knowledge to embrace it.   Their fear of their master’s abuse was replaced with fear being killed by angry ex-slave owners.  If they went away,  they had no means to support themselves nor any place to go.  In staying they are treated with the same disrespect and left with the workload of a household of slaves.  This was a very confusing time for them too.
Also there were the southerners who fought for the slave’s freedom and wanted to help them in making a new life.  They found themselves in danger and hated by the bitter white men of the north for whom they blamed for their losses.  On the other hand the slaves feared trusting them because they were white. 
As if 
If all this wasn’t remarkable enough, Ms. Austin includes one more very important aspect.  In a crisis God is always at work whether we realize it or not.  We are either drawn closer to Him or turn away.  Not only was I a part of the character’s thoughts and emotions, but she also enabled me to experience their spiritual journey in such a tumultuous time. 
I will never look at this era the same again.   She brought history and the characters alive!  This book is a masterpiece you WILL want to read!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. 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

posted by Moonpie72 on January 9, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

I'm a huge fan of Lynn Austin - and normally a book by her autom

I'm a huge fan of Lynn Austin - and normally a book by her automatically makes my favorites list. This one should get 3 1/2 stars. I just didn't connect as much with the characters with this one.

Usually I feel immersed into the setting and feel like I'm almost part of...
I'm a huge fan of Lynn Austin - and normally a book by her automatically makes my favorites list. This one should get 3 1/2 stars. I just didn't connect as much with the characters with this one.

Usually I feel immersed into the setting and feel like I'm almost part of the story. This time I felt at a distance from what was happening.

That doesn't mean this is a bad book. It has a touching story revealing the struggles of the South after the Civil War. Sometimes it was difficult to read what the people thought of their ex-slaves and how they were treated.

I want to thank Bethany House for providing my copy. It did not influence my review.

posted by ButterflyBlessingsBlog on January 9, 2013

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  • Posted November 16, 2012

    An Engaging Story! Each chapter focuses on one of three women-a

    An Engaging Story!

    Each chapter focuses on one of three women-a mother, her daughter, and one of their servants-which I liked. It was easy to follow and gave a deeper understanding to the characters in the story. Each of these women go through different things but one they share is losing faith in God.

    The hidden, or not so hidden, truth in this story is that of despair and what it can do to you if you give in to it. After losing everything but their land and their homes during the Civil War, the people in the South were filled with despair. But one Yankee is helping them see just how dangerous giving in to that despair can be and sharing with them how he overcame it. I love how this can be applied to us today. Many are without jobs and struggling to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck, and others may have recently lost a loved one. If we let the despair seep too deep into our hearts, we too can become like the Confederates were; angry and resentful, or even turn our backs on God.

    All Things New was filled with emotion. Parts made me angry at the characters while other parts broke my heart. I was encouraged how one Yankee, their enemy, could make such a big difference. Even while he was hated he still continued to do what God told him to do.

    I do recommend this book. While its not so much a romantic story, it is engaging to the last page.

    ****Thank you Bethany House Publishers for the free book in exchange for my honest review.****

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    As usual Lynn Austin holds your attention and helps you learn about the past. Brings to life how hard it must have been for slave owners to rethink their treatment of slaves. Also, how much the plantation owners did not know how to do simple tasks. OR that they still felt it was beneath them even after living through the terrible years of the war.

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  • Posted September 1, 2013

    If you love Southern setting ---great book !!

    I really enjoyed this book---Southern plantation setting---true insight to conditions for Southern planters after the war.

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  • Posted December 6, 2012

    This is my first time reading anything by Lynn Austin, although

    This is my first time reading anything by Lynn Austin, although friends have told me she is a good writer. I acknowledge that the story was well written with a good plot. It isn’t your typical romantic love story, because it was almost as though you were there living the experience through the character(s). For me there were two main characters in the book, the mom and the daughter Josephine. You were introduced the brother and other sister, but even though I see where they played their rolls, they definitely didn’t have a main roll in the book, other than in the situations that occurred.As I said before, it is a very well written book, and it transported me to the days way before my time. I liked that the main characters stayed true to their position, especially in order for their to keep their honor in the deep south at that time. Too many books seem to romanticize the south, especially after the war, but it was a dark, hard period. This, I believe gave a new perspective. For that, I appreciate it.
    Honestly, I’d love to see a continuation of the story. If anything, of Josephine, or of the neighboring plantation. Lest I give something away, that will be all I will say.

    I received this complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers to provide an honest review.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2012

    Another Fantastic book from Lynn Austin

    If you enjoy reading books about the South and particularly during the Civil War and post-Civil War Era, I would highly recommend this book to you. It is a story of recoveries, braveries, and changes of heart.

    Lynn Austin is a fantastic and gifted writer. I have read every book she has ever written and cannot wait for her next one. I believe her books not only contain great stories, but they, also, teach us about life and all of the things we should be grateful for.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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