About the book:
The drama of the Civil War unfolds through the eyes of two very different Northern girls. Lovely Julia Hoffman has always enjoyed the carefree life of her well-to-do family, but when she fails to attract the attention of Rev. Nathaniel Greene, a fierce abolitionist, she determines to bring meaning to her empty and shallow existence. When she becomes a Union nurse, her eyes are opened to the realities of war and suffering. She also meets Phoebe, who has entered the army under false pretenses--and whose journey to understanding herself, as well as the tumultuous world about her, is revealed with sensitivity and drama.
Book 2 in the Refiner's Fire series by Lynn Austin. It is not a sequel to the first book, Candle in the Darkness. Rather, it goes back to the beginning and tells the story of the Civil War from the viewpoint of two different Northern young women. One of whom, Julia, is related to Caroline of Candle in the Darkness. Julia is the spoiled socialite daughter of a wealthy Northern family. She sets her sights on Nathaniel Greene, a preacher and strong abolitionist. He views her as shallow and selfish and she sets out to prove him wrong. She becomes a nurse for the Union Army and as the war unfolds, Julia finds herself and her faith.
She soon meets Phoebe, a poor girl from the back woods of West Virginia, who impersonates a man to join the Union Army, just as her brothers have done. Phoebe, too, finds herself and her faith and strength she didn't know she possessed.
The two women each embark on a dramatic adventure, and along the way, their lives become intertwined as they learn to serve others as they serve God.
I enjoyed the first book more, but this story was just as compelling. Each girl learns that the life God has in store for her is much different than what she set out to find.
It's a bit preachy and somewhat predictable, but these two characters are endearing and Lynn Austin has a remarkable grasp of people.
A definite must-read.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can purchase your own copy here.
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