In the aftermath of the Civil War, Josephine Weatherly and her mother, Eugenia, struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives when they return to their Virginia plantation. But the bitter realities of life after the war cannot be denied: their home and land are but shells of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken. The privileged childhood Josephine enjoyed now seems like a long-ago dream. And the God who failed to answer any of her prayers during the war is lost to her as well.
Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival–and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine’s mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak…but a bitter hatred fuels her.
With skill and emotion, Lynn Austin brings to life the difficult years of the Reconstruction era by interweaving the stories of three women–daughter, mother, and freed slave–in a riveting tale.
If you love Lynn Austin, then you’ll love this book. And I love Lynn Austin. While it may take a minute to get into the novel, once you’re pulled in, you won’t want to put it down. One of the things I appreciated about this book was that it took place right after the Civil War, such uncharted territory gave the novel originality. Ms. Austin was able to capture three different points of view so well in the persons of Josephine, Eugenia, and Lizzie. Spiritually, Josephine has to learn to let go of her bitterness and to talk to God, Eugenia has to learn that the past was not always glorious, and Lizzie has to learn to let go of her fear…though all of them have good reasons to hold onto their baggage. It just goes to show that no matter how good your reasoning is, God still requires our faith. Such a good book. I already want to pick it up and flip through the pages again. Highly Recommended!