All Things New
by Lynn Austin
Bethany House Publishers
In the aftermath of the Civil War, Josephine Weatherly and her mother, Eugenia, struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives when they return to their Virginia plantation. But the bitter realities of life after the war cannot be denied: their home and land are but shells of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken. The privileged childhood Josephine enjoyed now seems like a long-ago dream. And the God who failed to answer any of her prayers during the war is lost to her as well.
Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival --- and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine's mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak...but a bitter hatred fuels her.
With skill and emotion, Lynn Austin brings to life the difficult years of the Reconstruction era by interweaving the stories of three women --- daughter, mother, and freed slave --- in a riveting tale.
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1. At the beginning of the novel, what do Josephine, Eugenia, and Lizzie want most now that the war has ended? Did each of these women get what she’d hoped for?
2. In what ways did each woman change throughout the course of the book? What particular events brought about these changes? Which woman changed the most?
3. What does the novel say about the effects of war on people’s lives? How did the war change Alexander Chandler, Daniel Weatherly, and Harrison Blake?
4. Which character in the book had the strongest faith? How did he/she develop that faith? How was it tested?
5. Why do you think Harrison helped Josephine to rescue Lizzie’s children?
6. Do you think Daniel will keep the agreement he made with Alexander Chandler at the end of the story? Why or why not?
7. What were some of the ways the chaos and lawlessness of the Reconstruction era were shown in the novel?
8. If you could write a sequel to All Things New, what do you think will happen to Josephine and Alexander? To Lizzie and Otis and their children? To Eugenia and Dr. Hunter?
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