06 July, 2010

Rosie the Reviewer {Refiner’s Fire Series}

5 stars *****

Candle in the Darkness:
The daughter of a wealthy slave-holding family from Richmond, Virginia, Caroline Fletcher is raised in a culture that believes slavery is God-ordained and biblically acceptable. But upon awakening to the cruelty and injustice it encompasses, Caroline's eyes are opened for the first time to the men and women who have cared tirelessly for her. Her journey of maturity and faith will draw her into the abolitionist movement, where she is confronted with the risks and sacrifices her beliefs entail.

Fire By Night:
Book 2 of Refiner's Fire. The drama of the Civil War unfolds through the eyes of two very different Northern girls. Lovely Julia Hoffman has always enjoyed the carefree life of her well-to-do family, but when she fails to attract the attention of Rev. Nathaniel Greene, a fierce abolitionist, she determines to bring meaning to her empty and shallow existence. When she becomes a Union nurse, her eyes are opened to the realities of war and suffering. She also meets Phoebe, who has entered the army under false pretenses--and whose journey to understanding herself, as well as the tumultuous world about her, is revealed with sensitivity and drama.

A Light to my Path:
Refiner's Fire book 3 Kitty, a house slave, always figured it was easiest to do what she'd always done--obey Missy and follow orders. But when word arrives that the Yankees are coming, Kitty is faced with a decision: will she continue to follow the bidding of her owners, or will she embrace this chance for freedom? Never allowed to have ideas of her own, Kitty is overwhelmed by the magnitude of her decision. Yet it is her hope to find the "happy ever after" ending to her life--and to follow Grady, whom she loves--that is the driving force behind her choice. Where will it lead her?

Lynn Austin, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time, has won Five 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. 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 was 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.. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home near in Illinois.
My Thoughts:
I have been waiting for the time to finish this series for years. I read the second book Fire By Night first and wish I hadn’t. I like to read a series in order and this time I broke tradition. The first book Candle in the Darkness is from the eyes of Caroline Fletcher and her love for her family of all colors. She grew up in the slave state of Virginia and unlike others, she loved the slaves and wished they could be free. I liked how Ms. Austin brought out the hypocrisy of the North in this book, that although they didn’t own slaves they still segregated the blacks from the whites. Fire by Night is told from two view points, Julia Hoffmann and Phoebe Bigelow. Julia wants nothing more than to marry the pastor and will do whatever it takes, even becoming a nurse. In the meantime she learns to love herself the way God does and sees what He wants for her life. Phoebe’s brothers went off to fight in the war for the Union from West Virginia; she hates how she is awkward and wants to make a difference. She decides to enlist as well and serves in the Union Army. In A Light to my Path Grady Fletcher was ripped away from his loving family as a child and has dealt with years of growing hate for the white people and waits for the day when he can escape and be a free man. Anna “Kitty” Goodman is eager to please her Missy and just wishes that Grady would one day love her the way she loves him, but when he escapes, she thinks she’ll never see him again.

I absolutely loved this series and although it was published a few years ago, I couldn’t wait to finish it. Lynn Austin is a one of a kind author that truly knows how to portray the bleak days of the American Civil War in an amazing way. This series is edgy and blunt, it doesn’t hold back or sugar coat that the South wanted the right to keep slaves and the North were at times hypocrites segregating the blacks. Only Lynn Austin could have written this series, a moving and wonderful series and each book will make you feel the grief, the anger, and understand the tears of each character. I highly recommend this series to everyone.


  1. Great review, Lizzie dear! This series looks really good and I can't wait to read it!

  2. I love this series! I may read a book of hers one hundred times, but each and every time I learn something new.

  3. @Natalie- Thanks, I know you'll love it. Especially the two in the south. :) Since you're a Southern girl!

    @Veronica- I know it's the same with me. Lynn Austin has to be one of the best authors in the Christian market, next to you and Natalie, I think that makes her third. :)