I promise, I phrased it much more nicely before I wasted two hours of work on a book I didn't even like. Seriously, man, you say you love her, but convince her that helping measly you escape prison is going to vitally change the Union's prospects when Grant cares so little that he sends thousands of men a day to certain death? First off, Caroline is a spoiled rich girl (nope, didn't call her that the first time around, either). All he had to do was say one word to the commandant at the prison. And she made a spiritual reason for defying her father-in-law-to-be by saying she was doing God's work in her visits. She rebukes him (she being at the time a girl of seventeen) with a look and the words, "They are not a cause. And it's told as though her words turned the whole city's view of slavery upside down. She repeatedly practices deceit and begins spying without really knowing why except that she's pleasing Robert...who told her how much he loved her while knowing she was in love and engaged, while endangering her life by his commands. Lynn Austin and Caroline cannot be sure that God sent the sword into the south for the sins of slavery. In fact, Lee had asked for slaves to be sent repeatedly, and had urged Richmond politicians to allow him to grant freedom to any man who served out his term of enlistment honorably. If Richmond had agreed, the South could easily have been the first to announce pro-emancipation steps. But Richmond was full of politicians (those who owned twenty or more slaves were exempt from the draft, which was mentioned) and blockade-runners, who were busy getting rich (Fletcher is an example of this.) All the men worth their salt were for the most part at the front lines, giving their lives for their homeland and freedom. (In contrast, Grant was pro-slavery, saw nothing wrong with it, and did not release his own slaves until the actual Contitutional Amendment was passed years later.) Some questions for you to ponder: How come so many people who did not own slaves and did not have much to lose (such as sharecroppers) went willingly to fight? So, why would so many men go off to risk and give their lives in a cause like this? It's not accurate that both Caroline and Charles would believe their cause doomed from the start. And for Austin to flippantly excuse the horrors perpetrated in the south as "just desserts" for their sins, I can only hope that she has not studied what Sherman commanded his men to do to win his way through the South. They stripped the land, wrecking it, taking prisoners, ripping apart families, sending mill workers north to fill the places of the men drafted to march against the South, raping, murdering.
:) I just finished reading this book for the 4th time. Is it possible that it gets better every time I read it? I highly recommend these books to all my book-loving friends, especially the ones who like to read about history-- the American Civil War, in particular.
Because that was the best part of it; reading and not knowing a single thing that was going to happen. But with this book here, it didn't happen because I was reading it on my Kindle (and trying to peek on a Kindle is the most annoying thing ever) and didn't know how it would end until I got to the end. So, because I want everyone else to enjoy it as much as I did, I'm going to shut up now and not reveal anything, other than the fact that Caroline Fletcher, the heroine, was courageous and wonderful in the extreme, and I wish I were more like her. If you are like me and don't know much about the American Civil War, don't let that deter you; everything is well explained and you won't be lost. Now, for those of you who have already read it and maybe wish to know more of what I thought, here are my spoilerish comments. :) (view spoiler) *Awww the love story between Charles & Caroline!!! *And speaking of which, how come Caroline never learns the truth??!
Let me see if I can do better at explaining this to you in the paragraphs below; first, a bit about the plot, then my comments on the writing style of the author: As this book opens, you feel the eerie silence that has descended over war-weary Richmond, Virginia. Caroline Fletcher is in her 20s as this book opens; shes a classic young woman of the pre-civil war and civil-war south, replete with beauty and rich memories of a gentle life lived in opulence as a direct result of her familys slaves and their labor. As the book opens, Caroline is removing strips of wallpaper from her once-opulent Virginia home to create a written record of her life up to and throughout the civil war. One of the most endearing characters in this entire book is a giant of a slave named Eli, who has become not only a student of the Bible, but a man who deeply lives the gospel of Jesus Christ to the very best of his abilities. After her mother dies, Caroline moves temporarily to Philadelphia to live with a kindly aunt and uncle who introduce her to all the famous abolitionists and further cement her perspective as a southern woman who thoroughly opposes slavery and seeks for abolition throughout the South. As the threat of war between the states looms, Carolines father determines its in her best interest to return to Richmond, and she agrees, but for quite different reasons. Her father becomes a blockade runner for the confederates, her fiancé and beloved cousin go off to war, and Caroline is left to deal with the plantation and its slaves. She determines to visit him, and as a result, she begins spying for the Yankees, reasoning that if her actions end the war sooner, then her fiancé will come home sooner and slavery will be abolished. The authors writing style is absolutely gripping; youll enter this saga as Richmond is burning and Caroline is writing by candle light, and youll leave it after the war is ended and the vanquished south lies crushed and silent under the weight of all the changes that are coming. You see the conflicts and the very worst horrors of slavery as Carolines drug-addicted mother forces her husband to sell the 9-year-old boy he appears to have fathered. There is even evidence of racism among the abolitionists of the north, and the author uses just the right amount of life experiences and sermons from the pulpit to demonstrate those conflicts and all the undercurrents of a slavery society. She understood what she had to do to survive in Richmond; she understood what she had to do to keep the love between her and her fiancé on the battle front alive and well, and she understood what she had to do to help bring an end to the war and ensure Union victory. My advice to those of you who enjoy civil war-era fiction but who, like me, arent particularly anxious about being preached at and patronized and moralized to death, is that you can go ahead and read this. Immerse yourself in this book, and you will be rewarded with evidence of some truly thorough first-class civil-war-era research on the part of this author.
And something about well-written historical fiction like this can really keep those pages turning. And that perspective is definitely valuable to us, the readers, who have only learned about slavery in books: Everywhere I went, it seemed that people wanted to discuss slavery, yet they talked about it as if it was an abstract concept. I love how historical fiction can make me examine a broad concept in more detail to think about it from the perspective of the characters.
SUMMARY: Caroline Fletcher is caught in a nation split apart and torn between the ones she loves and a truth she can't deny. At the same time, her father and her fiance, Charles St. John, are fighting for the Confederacy and their beloved way of life and traditions. Trust that in the end, whatever happens, He still in control." "Faith don't come in a bushel basket, Missy. Decide to trust Him for one little thing today, and before you know it, you find out He's so trustworthy you be putting your whole life in His hands." The Bible says men got plenty of plans in his heart, but it's always the Lord's plans that win.
If you want to become fully engulfed in the raging of the Civil War--the battle that was fought not only physically, but also morally, sit awhile by Caroline and read her story. The story itself seemed a little slow at times because Austin was very thorough to explain the history of what was happening during that time. I would say that the content is more appropriate for older readers rather than the young, conservative reader--just because some of the things mentioned may lead to questions. It was fascinating to read, her motives were very believable, but I tend to think that the Civil War was more than just rooted in slavery and the confederates' desire for states' rights more than just the right to own slaves, but that is my personal opinion. It's just that reading this book presents the idea that slavery was THE issue of the Civil War... I recommend it for any older readers--especially those who love the Civil War. A couple of quotes: Most folks wont change their mind unless they have a change of heart first.
First time reading: 3 stars I've always enjoyed books set during the Civil War. This one was good, especially since Caroline helps her Northern cousin to escape from the South's prison.
She always treats her family's slaves with love and compassion. Her greatest fear is that she would lose Charles's love. But after reading her confession - written on wallpaper torn from the front hall - and hearing Josiah's words.
Revised rating upward: I just downloaded Uncle Tom's Cabin and several books by Frederick Douglass and I ordered Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877, all of which means that Candle in the Darkness had more of an impact on me than I first thought.
For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother (age 98), and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters. Eight of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction.