Josephine, having survived the Civil War with her mother and her sister, discovered this fact as she moved back to her family’s plantation. Everything had changed: her home, her brother, the community, and the slaves who used to run White Oak. Even she had changed. She felt bitter, frustrated, and discontented. Would the hollowness inside her never leave? Would things ever be the same as they had been? Even more unsettling, would she even want that?
When Alexander Chandler, a Yankee bent on doing some good in the South, came to help slaves and white people work together, he also pointed Josephine back to God. Like former slave Lizzie, Josephine could not understand how God could let life be so difficult for so many. Alexander’s questions and the menial work Josephine learned for survival helped her understand that under the old system, she had been as restricted in her life as the slaves had been.
Josephine, her mother, and Lizzie all had to learn to accept the changes that came with the war. By God’s grace, they did. They learned about forgiveness, strength, and love along the way…and then it was time for their communities to learn the same things.
Josephine is a warm, believable young woman, but I could also sympathize with her bitter and determined mother and with Lizzie, the anxious former slave. This novel was beautifully crafted and deeply satisfying. The ending was a bit extreme, but it also seemed very familiar; obviously there could have been no other conclusion to this book.
I rarely give a book 5 stars, but All Things New deserves the highest rating. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and is available at your favorite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.