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Candle in the Darkness (Refiner's Fire, Book 1) Paperback – November 1, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 2,399 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Refiner's Fire Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

From the time she was 12, Caroline Fletcher, daughter of a wealthy Richmond, VA, slave-holding family, knew she was different, for she knew that the household slaves were human beings, not mere property. When her mother commits suicide, Caroline is sent first to the Fletcher plantation and then to relatives in Philadelphia. Three years later, as the nation teeters on the brink of civil war, her father brings her home. Caroline is now a determined abolitionist, and she struggles to live in a culture where people believe that slavery is ordained by God. With her fianc‚, father, and cousin off fighting in the war, Caroline embarks on a dangerous path of spying and intrigue that tests her faith and demands risk and sacrifice. Unfortunately, Caroline is the only fully developed character in this work, and the African American characters are all too good to be true; despite these flaws, Austin (Hidden Places; Eve's Daughters; Wings of Refuge) has written a thoroughly engrossing and exciting tale that will appeal to fans of Virginia Gaffney's "Richmond Chronicles" and historical romances. Purchase where historical novels and Austin's other books are in demand.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

"A gripping tale told by a gifted writer."--Beverly Lewis

Caroline Fletcher is caught in a nation split apart and torn between the ones she loves and a truth she can't deny



The daughter of a wealthy slave-holding family from Richmond, Virginia, Caroline Fletcher is raised to believe slavery is God-ordained and acceptable. But on awakening to its cruelty and injustice, her eyes are opened to the men and women who have cared tirelessly for her. 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.

Where does Caroline's loyalty lie? Emboldened by her passion to make a difference and her growing faith, will she risk everything she holds dear? --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556614365
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556614361
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,399 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #809,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rebecca Herman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
Caroline Fletcher was twelve years old on the day in 1853 when she realized just how different she was from everyone else. She had grown up feeling like the slaves were part of her family. She loved her "mammy," Tessie, and spent her days playing with Tessie's son, Grady, who was like a little brother to Caroline. But when her father sells Grady, Caroline realizes her views on slavery are not the same as those shared by the rest of Virginia. The time she spends in Philadelphia with relatives after the death of her mother only cements her view that slavery is a moral wrong that must be ended. But returning to Richmond, she realizes that will be a lot harder than she imagined. Against her own will, Caroline finds herself falling in love with Charles St. John, the son of a wealthy Richmond businessman and a defender of slavery. Caroline and Charles become engaged to be married, but the Civil War breaks out just three months before their wedding was to take place. Charles goes off to fight for the Confederacy, even though Caroline begs him not to. When her father leaves as well, Caroline finds herself alone in Richmond and torn in two. She struggles with her conflicting loyalties to her home and family, and to the cause she so strongly believes in.

This was an excellent historical novel. Caroline was a wonderful and very human character who came alive through her first-person narrative. Her struggles felt very real to me. The author brought to life Virginia just before and during the Civil War very well. Although this book was very long, I never lost interest in it. My one complaint is that the final thirty pages were told in a third-person point of view. I would have liked the whole book to be narrated by Caroline; it felt odd after four hundred pages for the viewpoint to change. However, it doesn't really take away from the book that much; overall, I still loved it. I highly recommend this novel to adults and older teens who enjoy historical fiction about the Civil War.
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Format: Paperback
I was very impressed with the entire story!
I thought the characters were fantastic. The spiritual insight given to Eli, particularly, was deep and inspiring. It shows Lynn Austin's understanding of how God works in and through all circumstances, both good and bad.
Although it is a work of fiction, it seemed as if it could well have been a true story. I was even challenged in my own trust in God as I read about Caroline's courage to follow her convictions no matter the cost and surrendering 'Thy will be done' to God, as well as the slaves' deep love for God and their faith in His sovereignty and love for them in spite of very unjust suffering. (Not to mention that I enjoyed the history lesson of the Civil War.)
I thought it was a wonderful book of loyalty, courage, selflessness and forgivenss in a world of injustice, pride, prejudice and bitterness. I really enjoyed this book - so much so that I just purchased another from the same author.
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Format: Paperback
I can't even remember the last book that brought tears to my eyes, but this book didn't just make me misty-eyed...it made me weep! It is so full of beauty, truth, and wisdom. I can't imagine anyone, young or old, male or female, whatever religious beliefs or background, not loving this inspiring tale. Austin weaves incredibly real characters together with history, creating a story that has meaning even in our modern, every day life. A true "must read!"
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By A Dreamer on September 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Lynn Austin is one of the most amazing authors I have ever read. She has the power to captivate you while you read the story and to captivate you when you're finished. The characters and plot stay alive in your mind as you consider the things you learned and experienced.

I hate movies on the Civil War, but books like Killer Angels and this one introduce you to real people and intimate situations that remind you of this: If it happens to one, it happens to all. The Civil War is part of American history, and therefore part of my history.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
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.
Caroline's world was shattered, however, when one morning her best friend, the son of her mammy, was dragged away kicking and screaming to the slave auction as his mother and the others watched in helpless abandon.
Following this horrible experience, Caroline was forced to re-examine everything she had previously taken for granted. What she saw, especially upon visiting "slave row" on her aunt and uncle's estate, was beyond her imagining.
Unable to ignore what she now viewed as a deplorable existence, Caroline found herself becoming a firm believer of the abolitionist movement. Through years of personal turmoil and a raging war between the states, she was able to always keep hold of her faith and let God guide her way thanks to the wise words of her good friend and confidante, Eli...It's not our will be done, it's Thy will be done.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoy Christian fiction books and I always have a hard time choosing the right one. For some reason this book really stood out at the book store and I bought it without realizing what the book was fully about. It is such a strong book about going after what you truly believe in and standing up for what is right! After I finished it I wanted to read more and more about Caroline and I also found myself researching more about the Civil War. It is a hard book to put down! One of my good friends borrowed it & fell in love with it immediately! :0)
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