Book Review

Book Review – Candle In The Darkness

candle in the darknessCandle in the Darkness (Refiner’s Fire #1) by Lynn Austin


This is the first book in a trilogy, each one of which telling the story from their own viewpoint about events up to and during the American Civil War. We have the same “story” told by three very different people with very different perspectives of the same historical events.

This one is told in the first person narrative from the viewpoint of Caroline, the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner in Richmond, Virginia. Caroline hates slavery and treats her father’s slaves as members of her own family, which is something that nobody else in her family or social circle understands. She is sent away to her Aunt and Uncle’s house in Philadelphia after the death of her mother and she sees that in the North, the attitude towards slavery there matches her own.

Caroline returns to the South determined to “do something” about slavery, and just as she is starting to make waves, events overtake her and the American Civil War begins. Her fiancé Charles, the son of a very wealthy and influential Virginian family, enlists in the Rebel army and Caroline finds her loyalties severely torn. On the one hand, she wants the Union to succeed because they have promised freedom to slaves, but on the other she doesn’t want to lose her fiancé fighting for a cause she cannot support.

My overall impression?

What a fantastic read! The story is a powerful one, and I was taken on a fantastic ride of emotions from all sides throughout the book. There is a very strong Christian message in the book, which I liked. The book doesn’t sell itself as an overtly “Christian” book, but the simple faith of the slaves and the anti-slavery reasoning is a powerful testament to the enduring love of God.

Who are the main characters?

Central to this instalment is Caroline, as I have already mentioned, and the people around her: her fiancé Charles, her father’s slave Eli, Caroline’s mammy Tessie in the South and from the North we have Caroline’s cousins Robert and Julia.

Will I read the next in the series?

Absolutely YES. The next one (already started!) is told from the viewpoint of Julia in the North, and the one after that is told by one of the slaves. I can’t wait!

Would I recommend it to my friends?

Yes. It ticks so many boxes it would appeal to a lot of people but for probably different reasons. We have historical events (which are told in such a way it makes it very easy to get to grips with the events of this war, something I have never been able to do before), we have a Christian message, we have a little romance (nothing to sickly!), we have anti-slavery issues, we have details of battles and we have some medical history and details of rudimentary nursing all mixed together to give a thumping good read. And it was a free download on Kindle too, so why not give it a go?!






4 thoughts on “Book Review – Candle In The Darkness”

  1. A free download on Kindle? Sounds great! 🙂
    I love to read historical novels. It is a good way to learn something about history.
    In history books you do not get the human perspective so much. I prefer to read about history in novels. Then I get curious and maybe look up a bit more about historical events as reported in history books.
    Wishing you, dear Pam, a Merry Christmas! 🙂


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