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Candle in the Darkness (Refiner's Fire #1)

4.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,726 Ratings  ·  868 Reviews
Caught in a nation splitting apart. Angered by those who would enslave others. Emboldened by a passion to make a difference. Torn between the one she loves and a truth she can't deny.

Here is Caroline Fletcher's story.
Paperback, 431 pages
Published November 1st 2002 by Bethany House Publishers
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Violet Nope! She is completely fictional. And a pretty epic heroine.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This is undoubtedly one of my favourite books of the year. Just wow. It was totally amazing!

The prologue draws you in, the characters come alive and the writing speaks to you. The story is intense, deep, moving and heartbreaking. Lynn Austin has incredible talent, and I am sorry that I had never read a book by her before. Clearly I have been missing out!

Candle in the Darkness is going to be really hard to review without spoiling anything, so I'm just not going to mention anything at all that hap
I just finished reading this book for the 4th time. Is it possible that it gets better every time I read it? I loved it every time & actually can't wait to read it again! :) This is my favorite series by Lynn Austin and possibly my favorite series of all! I highly recommend these books to all my book-loving friends, especially the ones who like to read about the American Civil War.

This book really made me look at the American Civil War differently than I ever had before. It made me consider
Feb 19, 2008 Beth rated it it was amazing
I had read a Lynn Austin book a long time ago (pre-kids, anyway) and really liked it: Eve’s Daughters, it was called. A recent message-board conversation reminded me of this author and so at the next opportunity, I snatched this from the library.

Ooooh, I LOVE historical fiction! And something about well-written historical fiction like this can really keep those pages turning. It’s thicker than many of the books I’ve taken on recently, but I finished the bulk of it in one long Saturday afternoon
Apr 09, 2009 Nolan rated it really liked it
Well, I tend to be extremely wary of Christian fiction. My personal views differ enough from these authors that their ranting and pulpit-pounding style just does me in within seconds! So I have a personal habit of automatically determining not to read anything labeled religion or religious fiction. Fortunately for me, I saw this in a war fiction category, so I read it. And I’m thrilled that I did.

This author is apparently well known among readers of Christian fiction, having one a Christy award
SUMMARY: 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 t ...more
Revised rating upward: I just downloaded Uncle Tom's Cabin and several books by Frederick Douglass and I ordered Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877, all of which means that Candle in the Darkness had more of an impact on me than I first thought. So...bumping the rating up to 4 Stars.

A very readable, clean romance ideal for Christian teens or possibly younger audiences. Good introduction to the Civil War and life in the South, including thoughtful portrayals of slave life.A
Apr 11, 2013 Anita rated it it was amazing
wow! awesome! whew!

this book makes the Civil War personal. written from the point of view of a real southern lady (Richmond, VA) who, though she loves her southern home and country, loves God more. the old slave, Eli, teaches her that the Bible says " slavery is wrong".

She risks losing absolutely everything to support her beliefs. this story tells WHY she did what she did.

She visits her "northern" cousin first in PA at the death of her mother, then later in a southern prison. She and Eli help h
Another great read by Lynn Austin! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were well developed and the story flowed seamlessly. If I had to find a flaw, it would be that the ending seemed too short. I know this is the first book in the Refiner's Fire series; but, since the others are from different people's perspectives, I'm not sure much, if anything, will be said about this book's main characters. An epilogue would have been great. That said, I still loved this book and highly recommend
Jul 16, 2015 Kathryn rated it liked it
I’ve never read very much about the American Civil War and hadn’t appreciated how much it affected people in the cities. For some reason, in my mind, the Civil War was always fought out on the plains!

It was an interesting insight into life in the South as the war raged on, the demands placed upon slaves and the lack of trust in them with their owners living in fear of an uprising or of their slaves running away. I also enjoyed reading of the struggles of Caroline to do what she felt God was ask
Torn between the loyalty she feels necessary towards her family and the force of the feelings in her heart, Caroline Fletcher finds herself in a very distressing situation after the Civil War outbreak. She knows she must protect her loved ones, but is she ready to sacrifice herself and lose her chance of happiness in order to do that?

“We have been fighting for six long days. When I close my eyes at night it’s very difficult to erase the horrifying sights and sounds from my mind. And so I curl be
Jan 23, 2014 Kendra rated it liked it
I love historical romances, especially ones that center around the Civil War or one of the World Wars. At first, I really enjoyed this story but as it went one, I found myself disliking Caroline. She helped the North under the guise of being against slavery yet, she lamented the entire time that she just wanted to do whatever it took to end the war so her fiancé could come home. She struck me at times as completely self-centered and somewhat of a spoiled brat. She wanted her slaves freed but did ...more
Oct 12, 2011 Caitlin rated it really liked it
Lynn Austin is becoming one of my favorite authors. Her books are well-written, her settings and characters are full of interesting historical details, and her plots are driven by actual events and legitimately difficult struggles by her characters. She has all the things I love about the Christian romance genre - an uplifting lack of violence and salacious sex scenes (It's not so much that I'm a prude as that they're excessively difficult to write well and generally end up just being embarrassi ...more
Jun 24, 2013 Hilary rated it it was amazing
A Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin is a well-developed, engaging story of a girl’s personal walk through the most dramatic and horrifically defining times in American history. With sensitivity, Ms. Austin gives voice to the often explosive feelings behind both sides of the Civil War, while leaving the reader empathizing with the individuals and the hard choices they are called upon to make.

We are introduced to Caroline Fletcher, the daughter of a Southern,slave-owning, plantation baron. She
Jan 10, 2008 Allicia rated it really liked it
I picked up this book in the library and I plan on reading the three part series. I enjoyed this book and was excited to get back to it once I set it down. I realized while reading it that it is primarly catgorized as Christian Fiction, but I didn't mind the references to the bible or religion. I like historical type fiction for something to read that distracts me from normal day ongoings, and this book takes place during the civil war and seems to have the backdrop of war time done well and as ...more
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 bo
Oct 19, 2011 Lyndi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed, I had a history lesson as well as a story! Always good when you can get educated as well as entertained. It was nice hearing from both the North and the South sides regarding why they thought they were in a war with each other. I love how Austin gave you perspectives even from the slaves points of view. Some commented that they didnt think Eli was realistic, I felt the opposite. I liked how being a slave he still had a heart for God and not bitter, he really appreciated that hi ...more
Sep 15, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I read this book for our book club. It's Christian Historical Fiction and takes place during the Civil War. I've never read much about the civil war and I've never been to any of the states or sites where so much blood shed took place. But after reading this book, I'd like to. It was interesting to read about the main character's journey from slave ownership as a way of life to abolitionist. And not just in thought and principle, but in action. The risks she took and the danger she faced to put ...more
May 21, 2008 Katharine rated it it was ok
Shelves: drama, romance, christian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Abigail Hartman
Nov 30, 2011 Abigail Hartman rated it liked it
This book hovers between a 3.5 and a 4 star rating. It ranks as one of the few modern novels that I enjoy; I've read it three times now, with good spaces of time in between each reading, and this latest one still revealed some details that I had missed or forgotten. There are a number of things I like about the book: the first-person writing style, the characters, the struggles, the glimpse into the Civil War. I appreciate that the protagonist's stance on slavery is something that grows and is a ...more
Mar 23, 2012 Louise rated it it was amazing
Story Description:

Book 1 in the Refiner's Fire series. 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 confront
Jul 28, 2013 Penny rated it liked it
This is 'christian historical fiction', apparently. It was recommended by a friend.

It is about a Christian, Southern woman who believes the north should win the war and slavery should be abolished. Unfortunately everyone around her disagrees.

At times this was a pleasant story with enough interest to keep going. The romance and the 'christian' passages rang a little false with me. I thought that there should be more to the faith of the slaves than just keep praying and it will all work out. Towar
joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*
*3.5* some sections i loved, but overall just a pretty decent historical religious fiction read

amazing characterization and development
vivid, sympathetic view of the civil war -- how hard it was on families and how devastating for an entire generation of americans
shows the difficulty of discerning right vs wrong, honesty vs real truth, and loyalty vs compassion
illustrates that actions (especially taken in fear) count for more than just "christian" words

i skimmed some of the preac
Carol Preston
Feb 21, 2014 Carol Preston rated it liked it
3 and a half stars for this story about Caroline, a young woman caught up in the civil war between the north and south of America in the 1860s. Her views about the war and about slavery do not fit well with her family or her community. She must not only stand up for what she believes, and help those she believes in, but she must decide whether she will risk her very life those beliefs. This is a story which gives a close up and inside view about the war. The historical aspects are well presented ...more
May 19, 2014 Caroline rated it liked it
The Civil War forced some Southerners eventually to analyze what they were fighting for. Were they fighting to retain their right to govern themselves by seceding from the Union, or were they fighting for slavery.

In this faith-themed historical fiction, Caroline, our protagonist has been brought up in the lap of luxury, her family's slaves at the ready to do her bidding. When her mother dies, she is sent to Philadephia to live with her aunt and uncle for a couple of years. Her stay in the North
Ann Gabhart
Jan 29, 2015 Ann Gabhart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the story.
Nov 23, 2014 Victoria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
This was excellent.
Trying to type out my thoughts about this book is not going to be easy. I already have a huge heart for abolition and for fighting racism and about standing up for God's kingdom over fighting for the world's opinion of freedom through wars and such, and this book captured all of that so well, that my emotions were overwhelmed with pride in Christ in reading this.

Caroline begins to write down about her life. We sense there is something she did that could get her in trouble. She
Gwendolyn Gage
Oct 13, 2014 Gwendolyn Gage rated it really liked it
"Many people would say I was wrong to think about deceiving my father, taking advantage of his friendship with Confederate leaders in order to help his enemies. They would say I was wrong to mislead Charles and his father about what I did at Libby Prison. But those who've been through a war will understand how right and wrong, truth and lies, can sometimes get confused in the smoke and mayhem of conflict. They certainly were no longer clear to me. What was clear, though, was that in God’s eyes, ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Caroline Fletcher is torn. While in her heart she knows that slavery is a moral evil, her love for her father, cousin, and fiance strangles her ability to choose right from wrong as the Civil War plunders the United States. Ultimately, she must choose...but to say what, how, or why would result in a fearful spoiler.

So I won't. I'll only hint that her choice isn't as clear-cut as it appears.

There's certainly something to be said for Lynn Austin's writing talent. She has a way of implanting her c
Jul 07, 2013 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Caroline Fletcher leads a comfortable life in antebellum Richmond but after her mother dies she is sent to live with her aunt in Philadelphia. While living there she encounters abolitionists and is converted to the anti-slavery cause. She moves back to Richmond when the Civil War starts and hopes to convince her friends and family that slavery is morally wrong. When that fails she is faced with a dilemma-- should she go against her upbringing and continue to support the abolitionists or should s ...more
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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 ...more
More about Lynn Austin...

Other Books in the Series

Refiner's Fire (3 books)
  • Fire by Night (Refiner's Fire, #2)
  • A Light to My Path (Refiner's Fire, #3)

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“Faith don't come in a bushel basket, Missy. It come one step at a time. Decide to trust Him for one little thing today, and before you know it, you find out He's so trustworthy you be putting your whole life in His hands.” 80 likes
“What's it like to fall in love, Tessie?" I asked.
She gazed into the darkness for a long moment, then her smile widened. "Well, when you see that certain man you heart flies like paper on the wind--don't matter if you just see him one minute ago or one year ago. When you with him, ain't nothing or nobody else in the whole world but him. You might be walking down the same old street you walk on every day, but if you with him, your feet don't hardly touch the ground anymore, like you just floating on a little cloud. And, honey, you want his arms to be around you more than you want air to breathe.”
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