Lynn Austin resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Eight of her historical novels have won Christy Awards for excellence in Christian Fiction: Hidden Places (2001), Candle in the Darkness (2002), Fire by Night (2003), A Proper Pursuit (2007), Until We Reach Home (2008), Though Waters Roar (2009) While We’re Far Apart (2010), and Wonderland Creek (2011). Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal as their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005.
Rating 5 out of 5 Stars. I can see why this was the Christy Award winner in 2003 for best North American Historical. Not only a richly detailed novel of Richmond’s role in the Civil War, it is also an inspiring tale of conviction, transformation, and faith.
1864 Richmond, Virginia. Caroline Fletcher tore down a sheet of wallpaper in her library so that she might have the paper to write on. Wartorn Richmond had no paper and no meat. And so she begins to tell her story.
1853 Richmond, Virginia. Caroline’s mammy Tessie has a son named Grady that was just taken away in a wagon. He had been sold by his master.
Caroline grew up in a house with a mother who was often depressed because she had several miscarriages in the past. Her parents want her to attend the Richmond Female Institute. A place for wealthy young ladies to go to school. Eli drove her to school daily and would tell her stories about Jesus and David and Goliath. Eli taught Caroline that you don’t have to be kneeling to pray. If Jesus is your friend you can talk to him anywhere.
Cousin Jonathon came to visit and eat supper. Caroline went with her father to visit her grandparents plantation. Her Mammy Tessie’s family was from there. She toured the plantation and saw slave row where most of the slaves lived. She was shocked to see such poor living conditions.
Jonathon went on a long walk with Caroline. He told her how pretty she is and that he’d like her to stay on at the plantation all summer. Eli was preaching deep in the woods to a group of slaves one night. Caroline and Jonathon snuck up to the group to watch and listen. Eli delivered a powerful sermon about freedom.
Jonathon was starting to go to drill with the Virginia Militia. Meanwhile, Caroline was helping a grandma babysit for four little slave babies who had the measles.
Caroline moved to Philadelphia for 2 years and spent time with her northern cousins Julia and Rosemary. She attended antislavery meetings on a regular basis. She saw Frederick Douglas speak once.
When Harper’s Ferry happens her father comes to bring her back home to Richmond. Caroline meets handsome dark haired n blue eyes Charles St. John at a Richmond ball she attends with her father. Caroline begins spending time daily to teach Tessie how to read.
Caroline Fletcher was brought up in a family and a state that believed slavery was a biblically-tolerant designation. In her world, the slaves were more like members of her family. She loved them unconditionally and received that same type of love in return. In some instances, they were more like kin to her than her own parents.
Her world is shattered at the beginning of the civil war. This is an excellent civil war novel. I’ve always enjoyed reading about the war between the states. This is a very well written.#lynnaustin #acandleinthedarkness #civilwar #theblueandthe grey # book #blog