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

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4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  10,219 Ratings  ·  997 Reviews
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 fai ...more
ebook, 394 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)
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Aerykah
Update 2/28/16: Just finished my 5th time through this book and I can honestly say I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, this time through! I'm quite sure I'll be reading it again in the future. :)

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
...more
Hannah
I had a 1,000 word review written and was about to post when my battery crashed. Though I am seeing stars right now, I am going to try to recreate it. Hopeless. I promise, I phrased it much more nicely before I wasted two hours of work on a book I didn't even like.

So, I may come back later and edit it into more of a semblance of what I lost. I had a really nice list of what I liked and why I couldn't stand Robert for being a selfish cad. Only I didn't call him that. Promise. I was nice.

My list o
...more
Anne
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
...more
Beth
Nov 10, 2007 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Nolan
Apr 09, 2009 Nolan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Loraine
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
Naomi Sarah
THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. I love it to bits and pieces - it makes me cry, it makes me THINK - it goes deep and down and it's good and solid and emotional and real. (You got it. IT'S A GOOD BOOK. )

Right so: What I liked:

1. Caroline Fletcher - she is amazing. I love heroines that are actually clever and kind without being soppy. I relate a LOT to Caroline - as a little shy girl and as a mature, responstable lady. She's been put in such HARD situations - I don't know what I'd done if I were her an
...more
Olivia
First time reading: {3 stars}

I've always enjoyed books set during the Civil War. This one was good, especially since Caroline helps her Northern cousin to escape from the South's prison. I found myself, though, throughout most of the book wishing Caroline would meet a different guy to marry. The one she does end up with just seems lacking. Anyway, still a worthwhile read.

Second time reading: {3 stars}

I read a hardback copy for my second reading through. Nothing beats holding a real, honest-to-go
...more
Hana
Oct 20, 2014 Hana rated it really liked it
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
...more
Anita
Apr 11, 2013 Anita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Maria
Jun 29, 2014 Maria rated it really liked it
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
...more
Kendra
Jan 23, 2014 Kendra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rita
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
...more
Sonya
Buddy read with Aery :D
Hilary
Jun 24, 2013 Hilary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Caitlin
Oct 12, 2011 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer
Sep 15, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Allicia
Jan 05, 2008 Allicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Janelle
This book really caught me by surprise. In the early stages I thought it was just going to be another silly romance - girl meets boy, they hate each other, fall in love despite themselves, and bingo, happy ever after, despite the war. But it turned out to be far deeper than this. The author painted a very grim picture of the war, and caused me to think deeply about the nature of freedom and why we value it so highly. The freedom to make basic choices about our lives is precious. We have many fre ...more
Sharon Paavola
Apr 26, 2014 Sharon Paavola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Candle in the Darkness over a year ago yet vividly remember how it touched my heart. I immediately passed it on to my sister-in-law who asked if I had a good book for her to read. The main character, Caroline, raised in the South to believe slavery was a basic part of life is challenged in her long held belief. This may be one of the best stories of that time period revealing the depth of deception people had towards ownership of slaves. I don't want to spoil the book for you. I would enc ...more
Loraine
Another awesome book about the civil war. What a horrible time. But what amazing people came through it. I loved the writing and the plot and the characters. I just didn't like who Caroline ended up with. I think he was a wimp. She should have chosen the other one who loved her. That's all I'm saying. . .
Louise
Mar 23, 2012 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Suzannah
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
...more
Shannon
Jul 30, 2016 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

What an incredible story! It drew me in from the beginning and I couldn’t put it down.

Caroline was the daughter of a wealthy, slave-owning family from Richmond, Virginia. She grew to see slavery for what it was - cruel and unjust - as she watched how those around her were treated despite how tirelessly they cared for her and her family. Her passion to bring freedom to slaves grew stronger as she matured and led to her becoming involved in the abolition movement where she was forced to
...more
Aerykah
Jul 13, 2016 Aerykah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-the-series, 2016
Update 2/28/16: Just finished my 5th time through this book and I can honestly say I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, this time through! I'm quite sure I'll be reading it again in the future. :)

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
...more
Katharine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Abigail Hartman
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
Lyndi
Oct 03, 2011 Lyndi rated it it was amazing
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
Penny
Jul 28, 2013 Penny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...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
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 6 Jan 31, 2015 01:27PM  
Clean Fiction: Discussion of May 2015's "Extra" Book of the Month 2 3 Aug 01, 2014 05:42AM  
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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.” 97 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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