All Things New

( 30 )

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.

"Seven-time Christy winner Austin (Wonderland Creek) deftly weaves this story about the Reconstruction era. Strong heroines with depth make this a sure bet not only for CF fans, but mainstream fiction readers as well. Recommend it to readers of Lynn Morris and Sandra Byrd." --Library Journal

"The Reconstruction-era South is realistically recreated." --Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this latest historical novel from the multiple Christy Award–winning author (Hidden Places), Josephine Weatherly, her family, their Virginia neighbors, and their former slaves must find a way to adopt a new way of thinking to survive after the Civil War. Josephine willingly embraces the opportunity to work with her hands and to get to know former slaves Lizzie and Otis, who stay on to work at the plantation to give their children an opportunity to attend school. Josephine’s widowed mother, Eugenia, is horrified, however. Slaves, whom she must now call “servants,” should know their place. She dreams instead of rebuilding the South just as it was and of finding husbands for her daughters. Along the way, Josephine helps a neighbor who has lost the will to live after being crippled in battle and starts to question her brother Daniel’s involvement in some unpleasant activities. She also strikes up a friendship with Freedman’s Bureau agent Alexander Chandler. Can this Yankee Quaker help her rediscover the faith she lost in a God who cares? The Reconstruction-era South is realistically recreated, but a detached narrative style and a predictable plot hinder fuller character development. (Oct.)
Library Journal
After the Civil War, Josephine Weatherly and her mother return home to a ravaged plantation. Josephine's father and brother have been killed, and her other brother, Daniel, has been broken by the horrors he witnessed. The women, along with their faithful servant, Lizzie, vow to rebuild their home. But can Josephine's faith be restored as well? VERDICT Seven-time Christy winner Austin (Wonderland Creek) deftly weaves this story about the Reconstruction era. Strong heroines with depth make this a sure bet not only for CF fans, but mainstream fiction readers as well. Recommend it to readers of Lynn Morris and Sandra Byrd.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764208973
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 260,372
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Austin, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time, has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home near Chicago, Illinois. Learn more at www.lynnaustin.org.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

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(20)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 9, 2013

    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 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

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    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 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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2012

    Excellent

    Great read, history and religion that combined, put you in the moment feeling the pain and suffering along with joys. Enjoy reading Lynn Austin books. Can't wait for her next one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Civil War has ended and now Josephine, her mother and younge

    The Civil War has ended and now Josephine, her mother and younger sister are ready to go home to White Oak Plantation after a long stay with her Aunt.  She is not even sure what condition the plantation will be in when they arrive. 




    She was surprised to find a few slaves had stayed even though they had been declared free of slavery.  The house was a shambles but it was still standing. It just needed some cleaning and she was sure her mother would make sure things were put in order.  Josephine was shocked by her mother's attitude that she was going to make everything the same as it was before the war.  As far as Josephine was concerned nothing would every be the same again. 




    With the one male ex-slave whom now is to be called a servant there was no way to get the fields planted with cotton.  His wife, two young sons and daughter were taking care of the cooking, cleaning and the other chores that Mrs. Weatherly expected to be done daily.  Yet there still was not enough hands or time in a day to get everything done according to Mrs. Weatherly's liking.  Mrs. Weatherly seemed to treat the servants as if they were still slaves. Josephine tried to help with some of the gardening and chores but it just angered her mother. So Josephine took to doing the chores around the time her mother was napping.




    Then things really got out of sorts when Josephine's brother, Daniel came home from the war.  It was hoped that he would be able to take over running the plantation.  But he was never trained for that position.  He had not excepted the fact that the war was over.




    Why is it that some people are so focused on the past that they can't seem to go forward?   Most wanted to blame God for the war and loss of loved ones.  When they lost the war they also lost their faith in God.




    The story brought out how wealthy women in the South were so sheltered they had no skills other than how to catch a husband and keeping the servants in line.  They had no idea how the clean clothes appeared or the silver polished, etc. 




    The author wrote of their lack of money, food, clothing, shoes especially trust and they were too proud to ask for help from their new government. 

    In this book you will see the Post Civil War through the lives of ex-Slaves, southern land owner and Union soldiers. 

    It was a hard book to put down.  I want to say so much more about this book but then you wouldn't have to read it.   I really want you to read this book.

    I highly recommend this book.

    Disclosure
    I received a free copy of this book from Baker/Bethany House Publishing for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.  It is my own opinion.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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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 25, 2012

    Good book

    I was wanting a book to go beyond the civil war and this is it. I love all of Lynn Austins books. I love the the development of all the people. Its a fun way to get into history. I also like the challange it placed on my heart. It made me think about how I view people who are difrent then myself, and how willing I am to accept change.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2012

    Outstanding...one of Austin's best!

    I eagerly await Austin's new release each fall and this one did not disappoint. She is a truely gifted writer, I love how her "historical" characters learn lessons which can I can apply to my own life. This book will remind you of her Refiner's Fire series, which I would also recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2014

    Lynn Austin did it again. This book really had me thinking. It i

    Lynn Austin did it again. This book really had me thinking. It is in the POV of southern families and former slaves just after the civil war. There was so much uncertainty and trying to rebuild their lives to the way they had been before the war without realizing that things will never be the same. The FREE slaves were afraid to hope for a better life and not trusting of anyone who suggested they could help them. Every character has a transformation of some kind. It is heartwarming as well as frustrating. An insightful adventure.

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  • Posted January 15, 2014

    Highly recommend!

    Lynn Austin is so talented in weaving history into her novels. This one is about the devastation and struggles the confederate families and the freed slaves go through after the Civil War. It gives a realistic view point from the former slaves and soldiers that I had not considered before. I hated for it to end!

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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Lynn Austin is my new favorite Christian author. I love histori

    Lynn Austin is my new favorite Christian author. I love historical fiction and being able to also enjoy a Christian author completely fills my requirement of a good read. I have read several of Lynn's books my favorite series being Chronicles of the Kings. I enjoy a little romance and turns in a plot, and Lynn is masterful at both. If you enjoy historical fiction about the civil war (reconstruction), you will enjoy this book. If I were to have any criticism, I would have enjoyed a little more history.

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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Anonymous

    I've read just the first five chapters of All Things New and I am sure that the book will not be disappointing. Lynn Austin is able to develop stories around historical events that makes you feel that you are there. This was a very troubled time in our country. The way of life was changed for so many.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2012

    All Things New is set in a volatile time in our American histo

    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

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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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 27, 2012

    In Lynn Austin¿s most recent novel, All Things New, a young woma

    In Lynn Austin’s most recent novel, All Things New, a young woman returns to what had been her antebellum home at White Oak Plantation in Virginia. The difficulties surrounding the reconstruction years of the Old South are brought to light as a family tries to cope with the bitterness of having enemies who so violently ravaged what the family had loved. The war of northern aggression had turned what was once beautiful and opulent into a tattered remembrance of its former glory. The land wasn’t the only casualty though; the family has to deal with a war that has claimed the lives of the father by pneumonia and one of the sons in battle. The other son, Daniel, has emotionally changed as well from what he has seen in the war. Lizzie, a freed slave, stays on with the family to help them rebuild the plantation.
    The young woman, Josephine, feels bitterness against God who has seemed to ignore her prayers. Only when a young man, Alexander, enters into her life with his vibrant faith and commitment to the Word of God does she begin to heal.
    Austin does a tremendous job in contrasting the old with the new just as Rev. 21:4-5 say in the opening pages of the book. The artistic description of the Old South beauty juxtaposed against the devastation of the current reality of having to rebuild into something new is interwoven with a faith journey that compels the reader to feel what Josephine felt, to cry with her in her loss, and to ultimately come to peace with her God.
    I was given this book by Bethany House in order to provide a reader’s review. I received no compensation and all opinions are my own.

    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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  • Posted November 19, 2012

    ALL THINGS NEW BY Lynn Austin ¿ is a great historical novel de

    ALL THINGS NEW BY Lynn Austin

    … is a great historical novel depicting the difficult times of adjustments and struggles for the defeated south after the Civil War drastically changes their way of life. Although I have read many books depicting that era of history, I especially enjoyed the realistic rendering of the slaves perspective and how that impacted the thinking of the formerly wealthy. I especially enjoyed the development of the idea of how the slaves had to learn to be free.

    The adjustments the main characters have to make is well described and seems accurate. Their growth in the necessity of changing their thinking and actions is well developed and interesting to read but is repeated over and over so much that it gets tiresome. I had a hard time getting through all the repetitiveness and would have enjoyed the book more if it wasn’t so long and drawn out.
    The author did a great job of telling the story from three different character’s perspectives – giving a well-rounded, interesting, and believable story line.
    Many times Christian books deal with the concept of people being angry with God, but the development of the Christian theme of unanswered prayer was unique and done very well. I don’t recall ever reading a book that lays out the idea of prayer not being answered because of praying for the wrong things. I enjoyed this fresh approach.

    This book was given to me complimentary from Bethany House to review.
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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    I read my review copy of Lynn Austin¿s new book All Things New f

    I read my review copy of Lynn Austin’s new book All Things New from Bethany House in a few days. It is definitely one of Lynn’s best books to date. Her historical fiction account shows us how one must have felt during and after the civil war. In reading the story of the women returning to their southern plantations after the civil war, I was drawn to the many similarities between history and current events. People have returned after leaving their beloved homes due to tragedy, war, or act of God - the most recent being the storm Sandy. They found that their belongings and homes had either been damaged or were gone; they realized that life would never again be the same. Many of the people returning no longer have electricity, running water or the conveniences of modern life, but the woman after the Civil War returned to complete devastation and had to learn an entire new way of life.

    The theme and lesson throughout this book is that you have to look positively at the things you still have and move on without the things you have lost. This theme is timeless, as shown by recent events. Think of the person in New Orleans who found a relic from the past as they were looking through the rubble only to wonder why it had not been washed out to sea. What message did God have for them in that small reminder of the past and present. The same with the people who are living through the recent storms, they have friends and family to help them through it, they have no heat but can layer their clothes to keep warm or go to a shelter that has been set up to provide for them. Rescue workers are there with food and water as well as other supplies. As they sift through the rubble they find things like pictures and mementos to help them remember the past.

    In “All Things New” the women coming back to their homes had nothing. Their clothes were old and in need of mending, family members died, returning soldiers were going through what our military is today, and they had no animals or gardens to provide them with the nourishment they needed. But, they were strong; they were used to hard work and trusted in God to help them get through the difficult times and to move ahead. I highly recommend this book as a gift this holiday season for someone who needs to have a little bit of a boost or who wants to believe that the future will be brighter. I give it five stars out of five.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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