Monday, May 21, 2012
Although she's a child of privilege in the antebellum South, Caroline Fletcher is unable to accept the concept of one race enslaving another. The Negroes in her parents' home are her friends, not her slaves.
A visit to Philadelphia exposes her to anti-slavery societies, and she eagerly embraces their philosophy. When the time comes for her to return to her home in Richmond, Virginia, she brings her abolitionist views with her, although she soon learns to keep her opinions to herself.
With the nation on the brink of Civil War, she falls in love with a man from a wealthy Virginia family. Their time together is cut short by the attack on Ft. Sumpter and the secession of the southern states from the Union.
Caroline is thrilled at President Lincoln’s intention to abolish slavery, but at the same time fearful for the lives of the southern men she loves who have marched off to war. She lives in the South, but her loyalties are toward the Union. The choices she makes during the war years will keep the reader turning pages late into the night—at least I did. Candle in the Darkness is a gripping portrait of one woman’s convictions put to the test under extreme conditions.
In my opinion, Candle in the Darkness is historical fiction at its best. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I recommend the other two books in Refiner’s Fire series as well—Fire in the Night and A Light to My Path.
There are some strong scenes in these books, both about slavery and warfare. These novels are best suited for older teens and adults.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
When Margaret Macy’s mother remarried, she unwittingly married a man who has designs on the fortune Margaret is due to inherit on her next birthday. Margaret's stepfather brings his unscrupulous nephew into the family home, and urges the nephew to press Margaret to marry him--by whatever means necessary.
When Margaret learns of the plan, she disguises herself as a housemaid and flees. However, she never thought she'd end up actually employed as a maid. Margaret finds out quickly what life "below stairs" is all about. To her chagrin, she realizes how poorly she treated the servants in her parent’s home.
While Margaret strives to hide her identity, she finds herself attracted to the master of Fairbourne Hall—a man she once rejected.
Klassen has woven an entertaining story of life in the early 1800’s, her specialty. I enjoyed this novel, but not as much as her earlier ones. For me, the ending felt too crowded with secondary plot lines. Having said that, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is still a fun read, one Jane Austen fans should relish.