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


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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 (2,006 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

A well written story with great clear characters.
Lindy reads a lot
Great love story. well written, can't wait to read more of lynn Austin books. enjoyed all the historical writings and events.
Lori Conrad
I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Lynne Kelley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

177 of 180 people found the following review helpful 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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75 of 77 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 14, 2003
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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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on October 29, 2004
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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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful 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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Suzannah on November 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I laid this one aside about 1/3 of the way through.

It wasn’t badly written. I’d have liked to go on reading it, gleaning what I could from the workmanship. However, two things made the book unpleasant to read. The first thing was its treatment of the historical period in which it's set. When I picked this book up, I knew very little about the American War Between the States. As I read it, however, more and more things about the author’s version of events niggled at me until I finally laid the book aside for two weeks until I could work through John J Dwyer’s comprehensive history of the war and know whether the book was an accurate version of events.

I have to conclude that at this point, at the 34% mark, the book's narrative seems to flatten the actually very complex historical events about as flat as tissue-paper. We don't hear anything about the serious worldview differences between Unitarian North and orthodox South. We don't hear about the question of nationalism versus states' rights. We don't hear about tariffs and the North's economic stranglehold on the South.

All we hear about is slavery. That would be fine, of course, since that question did contribute to the War and was probably the reason the Lord judged the South with defeat. However. The picture of slavery given in this book was also radically flattened. I don't want to bore y'all, but let me take just two examples.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother, and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn 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 for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

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