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

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  6,410 ratings  ·  718 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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Best Christian Historical Fiction
11th out of 824 books — 890 voters
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Community Reviews

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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 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
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 one 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 t
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
Revised rating: Huh! 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.As
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
Jeannette Garcia
Oh! This book blew me away! First off, Lynn Austin has become one of my favorite authors. Her talent for writing and telling such vivid stories just oozes out of the pages... or the kindle screen in my case. I knew I would love this story. A tale of romance, espionage, justice, and God's prevailing love and will... there's no losing in a story like this! I've never really been interested in the Civil War until watching Hatfields & McCoys, but this just brings the war back to life. Austin's r ...more
This is an historical novel set in the Civil War Richmond, VA. I have read many of Lynn Austin's books and she always gives me something to think about- usually in tears. This deals with the issue of slavery and how one woman saw the act as God wanted her to see it, as a horrible thing to do to someone. It was her struggle of truly loving the slaves her father owned and not betraying the love of the man she loved who was fighting to keep slavery. I didn't realize it was a series and so I felt th ...more
Carol Preston
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
This was definitely an eye opener for me. I would think that I would have been just like Miss Caroline had I been in her situation. She has a lot of courage and a lot of faith and a very kind heart. Definitely one of my favorite characters that I've ever encountered while reading.

This book not only sucks you in on the first page, but it keeps you sucked in! I couldn't put it down! Took me only 4 days to read the entire thing. Definitely worth it. I loved every word. It's worth the read and wort
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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...
Gods and Kings (Chronicles of the Kings, #1) Fire by Night (Refiner's Fire, #2) While We're Far Apart Song of Redemption (Chronicles of the Kings, #2) A Proper Pursuit

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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.” 66 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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