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All Things New by Lynn Austin
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All Things New (edition 2012)

by Lynn Austin

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10825111,760 (4.07)8
Member:BugsyBoog
Title:All Things New
Authors:Lynn Austin
Info:Bethany House Publishers (2012), Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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All Things New by Lynn Austin

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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Fantastic read for any lover of historical fiction.
The characters blossom from the very beginning of the novel, and you feel as if you know them on a personal level.
It is hard to imagine life with slaves, and then as they become free after the war.
Lynn describes how God can make all things new in life by giving people new beginnings.
  Betty-Anne | Feb 5, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received "All Things New" through the early release giveaway. Although I thought there was something missing at the start of the story I enjoyed the rest very much, I felt that I was thrust into the story and that there should have been a little bit that focused on the war coming to a close prior to being in the scene with Josephine and Mary. There were several strong characters in this story and I felt that each one of them were equally given a developing place. Each character showed a different view of surviving the horror of a nation that fought against itself. Eugenia portrayed the typical southern attitude, strong and unwilling to bend, pride and desperation to cling to their way of life. Josephine portrayed a mixture of the old south mixed with the knowledge that things have changed and something needs to give in order to be able to face the future. Harrison a soldier who was fortunate to be alive but unfortunate to be wounded and left with the fact that he will never be able to be a "whole" man again. Mary the meek and obedient daughter who does exactly as she is told with no thoughts of her own. The doctor, who once being part of the high society life is thrust into a lower standing due to his mother's marriage to a man beneath her station. Daniel, the angry man who left as a boy to fight in the war only to return home to find nothing is the same and he doesn't quite know how to fix it. Alexander, the freed-man's bureau representative who thinking he can ease the guilt he feels for his part of the war tries to help the people in the south, both black and white, to rebuild their country. Otis, a slave who is ecstatic about the new freedom he has and is grabbing onto it with every part of his being and then there is my favorite character, Lizzie. the wife of Otis, and mother of three children, she desperately fights to embrace the new found freedom she has been given but so terrified that it is all a bad dream and it will all change in the blink of an eye. she tries hard to continue her service to the Weatherly family and at the same time yearn for a new start where her family is really free. Roselle, Lizzie's oldest child becomes a main focus at the end of the book which shocks everyone involved and changes the thinking of all of them. The ending I thought was perfect which showed how humans if willing can allow God's grace to penetrate their lives and change it for the better. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in seeing the different was people dealt with the devastation of the Civil war and the blessings that can come from letting go of the bitter past and stepping forward into a new beginning where "All Things are New". ( )
  mookiekat | Jun 30, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book is set in the Reconstruction era of the south. The Weatherly family is trying to rebuild their lives after the Civil War. Eugenia wants things to be the same before the war though her daughter Josephine is willing to help out doing the work that needs to be done. We are also introduced to a former slave family and we see their view of reconstruction and how African Americans were treated during that time. Josephine meets the agent of the Freedman's Bureau and strikes up a friendship with him. There is a family secret that is revealed in the book that shows a bad side of slavery. ( )
  mminor1985 | May 28, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Review also published on my blog: AWordsWorth.blogspot.com
ARC received from publisher for review.

Normally, the Reconstruction period is not my favorite (perhaps because I had a particularly Reconstruction-obsessed prof for that course), but All Things New is a take on things that I really appreciated. Beginning just as the Civil War is ending, and Richmond is falling, we see the toll the War has taken on the Weatherly family. This dramatic shift in fortune is made even clearer when they return to their beloved home plantation, and struggle to make ends meet in this new way of living.

What I really liked about Austin's handling of a less-than-prefered time period is that in All Things New, she really is focusing on the new beginnings. How hard it must have been to know only one way of life -- for both the white plantation owners and their newly-freed slaves -- and suddenly have that lifestyle end. Just like that. The adjustment process would have been even more difficult when compounded with the huge losses people suffered during the Civil War. These very real struggles are realistically portrayed, as well as the inner struggles of the main characters. Getting to watch Josephine sort through all her own prejudices and mindsets, dealing with her griefs any way she can, and fighting for the right to recover and start again in her own way -- her story is real, and at times raw. She's human, very human. And that same humanness is seen in the other characters as well: Austin has a wonderfully created cast.

All in all, I finished this book wishing more Reconstruction texts were this interesting, and handled things in a way that focuses so much on the human heart, human recovery, human existence side of things rather than fighting to keep everything politicized (and yes, I know this is fiction. But still.). ( )
  RivkaBelle | Mar 9, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Love the story of post Civil War, liked that it was Christian based. Very well written. This was the first time that I read anything from Lynn Austin but will definitely look for more of her books. ( )
  pluto6490 | Feb 21, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764208977, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:49 -0400)

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Josephine vows to rebuild her family's once-grand Virginia plantation. But in the face of such destruction, is redemption and faith in God possible? The difficult years of the Reconstruction era are brought to life by interweaving the stories of three women--daughter, mother, and freed slave--in a riveting tale.… (more)

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