“All Things New” by Lynn Austin, book review
The War Between the States has just ended. The South has been defeated and nothing will ever be the same. At least that is the way Josephine Weatherly feels. She grew up during the War, and now as she, along with her younger sister and mother return to their plantation, White Oak, she longs to go home. But it is not home any longer. Her father and older brother died during the war, the slaves who worked the plantation are mostly gone and the house is in disrepair.
This new novel by Lynn Austin follows one family in the days and weeks following the end of the war as they try to adapt to the newness of the south without slavery. It is more than just having to pay the servants for their work, it is a completely different way of thinking about people, both white (from the north) and black.
The book is difficult to read at the beginning because there is much poverty, death and hatred. Men returned to their broken down plantation or do not come home at all. The women have been holding the plantations together are looking to their men for guidance, but often do not find it. The general feelings of hatred are so strong that many live in fear for their lives. The novel is a little longer than some (412 pages) but the story with its characters is easy to follow and the plot is interesting.
Austin shows how God’s love and forgiveness is vital to each of our lives and without it how the very soul is eaten by hate. She also shows how real people had to deal with the out comes of the end of the war and how the practical implementation of the anti- slavery laws was accomplished.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions expressed are my own.