Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin

Candle in the Darkness

post written by Emma Filbrun

Candle in the Darkness by Lynn AustinTitle: Candle in the Darkness
Author: Lynn Austin
Series: Refiner’s Fire, book 1
Major Themes: Civil War, Slavery, Virginia
Synopsis: Caroline lives in Virginia, and while her family owns slaves, she abhors slavery during the Civil War.

I had Candle in the Darkness on my ever-growing to-be-read list for several years, and finally started it recently. Suddenly I knew why my daughter had told me I needed to read it—I was sucked in and could hardly put this story down.

Caroline grew up in Richmond, Virginia. She always took her black mammy, Tessie, for granted, as well as her mammy’s son, Grady, who was her best friend, and never even thought about slavery—until the morning that Grady was sold. How could her father do this? And then a whole string of other questions came into her mind—like, who was Grady’s father, anyway?

Over the next several years, as Caroline and her family endured many hard times, she continued to have questions. Then, when she spent several years in the North, and became involved with the abolitionists, she realized how terrible slavery was. Going back to the South, she knew that all she had to do was to show people they were wrong for owning slaves, and things would change—but would they?

When war broke out between the North and the South, Caroline found herself torn. Her father and fiancee were both fighting on the side of the South, but her cousins and a man who loved her were on the Northern side. Should she risk everything to stand true to her convictions that slavery was wrong? What could she do to make a difference?

This is a fascinating account of the Civil War from a unique perspective. A Southern girl who held Northern sympathies, whose family owned slaves but she abhorred slavery—what a combination. If you enjoy historical fiction, you will enjoy this book.

WARNING: Chapters 12, 15, 21, 22 and 27 contain descriptions of kisses. A few of them were a bit more vivid than I appreciate reading, but not too bad. Overall, this is a very clean story.

Age Levels:

Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults


Links to buy Candle in the Darkness:

Amazon: Paperback | Kindle

AbeBooks: View Choices on

Book Depository: Paperback


Civil War, Slavery, Virginia

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