Monday, December 20, 2010

Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin

Candle in the Darkness is another book that I randomly grabbed off the shelves of the library. It is a historical novel about a girl who grows up in Richmond, Virginia during the time of slavery. She begins to find herself, as well as love, just as the Civil War starts. It is a story about love, hate, hope, struggle, sacrifices, and faith.

This novel took me a while to get through. It wasn't because I didn't like it, but because I have less time to read now and it is not necessarily a light and quick read (at least not for me). But I enjoyed every moment of this book and was a bit sad when I finished it.

I have read quite a bit of history about the Civil War and there tends to be debates about why the war happened, why the war ended, whose fault it was, etc., etc., But this book really put the war and that time period in perspective for me, and through the eyes of someone around my age.  It was a time of hard decisions, loss, and hatred. People on each side felt that their cause, and/or beliefs,  were more just than the other sides, whether they were or not. It happens in every time period and is the cause of many wars. I have just been getting into historical novels and have really enjoyed the perspective they give me, without having to read just hard cold facts. It is as if I am there. As if I can touch, feel, and taste what is going on.

Something unique about this novel, compared to the other historical novels I have read, is that is has a religious overtone to it. I quite enjoyed it. It talked a lot about God and Jesus Christ and the role they play in our lives. It made me ponder how often I put all my trust in God and give myself to him, rather than tell him how I want my life to be. It made me want to have more hope and faith, something I am always struggling with.

I am not a good critic of great writing but I do feel this book was well written. It flowed well, it fit the time period the story took place during, and it was descriptive without being too much so. I also thought the author did a good job in letting us get to know the different characters through their roles in the story, as well as through the dialogue. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to any girl/woman who likes historical novels and wouldn't mind the religious overtones of the book. It really gives the reader an interesting perspective of the Civil War.

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