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All Things New

All Things New

4.5 33
by Lynn Austin
     
 

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New Historical Novel from 7-Time Christy Award Winner!

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

Overview

New Historical Novel from 7-Time Christy Award Winner!

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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781441260468
Publisher:
Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/01/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
28,792
File size:
1 MB

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.
Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home in western Michigan. Learn more at www.lynnaustin.org.

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All Things New 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 33 reviews.
Lvecars2 More than 1 year ago
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.
ButterflyBlessingsBlog More than 1 year ago
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.
Moonpie72 More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
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songbirdsue More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KA51 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
ReadToMe55 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book---Southern plantation setting---true insight to conditions for Southern planters after the war.
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Its_Time_Mamaw More than 1 year ago
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.
RVelasquez More than 1 year ago
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.****
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