Friday, June 16, 2017
Book Review: All Things New
All Things New is a post-Civil War novel set on a Virginia plantation. With their slaves newly living as freed men, Josephine Weatherly's family must confront the chaos from the wake of the war. Her father and brother are dead and her brother, Daniel, has returned a fractured man, intent upon scaring his former slaves into submission. Josephine's mother has her own worries. Unsure whether her son is up to the challenge of running a plantation his brother was groomed to run, and troubled by some distressing heart issues, she must regain the control she wielded during the war.
In the face of her intense losses, Josephine has cast off her belief in God. Then, she meets a Yankee who has been sent to help the freed slaves establish working relationships with their former plantations. Despite her family's distrust of the Yankee, Josephine desperately clings to his friendship and contemplates the deeper issues he draws to light. But, her mother has other plans for her daughter. She wants Josephine to marry Harrison, the son of her best friend, a man who returned from the war a legless, bitter shell of his former self. He is sure that God is punishing him for his sins. Josephine tries to reach out to Harrison as the Yankee reaches out to her.
I thought the story was very engaging and realistic. The spiritual applications offered up in the novel arose naturally from the story, without being forced upon the reader in a heavy-handed way. The trials highlighted God's ability to work blessing from unbearable burdens and triumph from seeming tragedy. The book reminded me that "God will make a way where there seems to be no way."