Sunday, March 25, 2012


Story Description: 

Book 2 of Refiner's Fire. 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. 

My Review: 

Lynn Austin continues to be one of my most favourite authors. Her novels are well written with such depth, and the characters are always well developed. The story lines are memorable and the message in each novel leaves us with important lessons. 

This is a beautiful story set during the American Civil War. Julia Hoffman, the daughter of a Judge, lives an extraordinary life in a mansion in Philadelphia with maids and dressers at her beck and call. Julia desperately wants the new young and handsome minister, Nathaniel Greene to notice her with the hope of marrying him some day. After overhearing Nathaniel having a private conversation in her father's study, she hears Nathaniel describe her as selfish, self-centered, immature and that she thinks of no one but herself. Julia is crushed but sets out to try and prove to the new minister that she is just the opposite. 

Julia runs off and enlists in the army as a Nurse but soon finds out that she has no idea whatsoever what she was going to have to face and do. Men and young boys coming into the hospital by the truckload with missing limbs, burned faces beyond recognition, and holes in their bodies the size of grapefruits.
Phoebe Bigelow, “Ike” is overly tall, plain, and homely.  After her parents die and her brothers enlist in the war, Phoebe doesn’t want to be left alone to babysit a neighbours children for the rest of her life.  She decides that since she is so homely, no man will ever marry her anyway and disguises herself as a boy and enlists in the war.  She meets a fellow private, Ted Wilson and together they forge a bond of friendship like no other.  One day Ted discovers that “Ike” is a girl and their close friendship comes into question.
Can Julia continue her nursing and prove to Nathaniel that she can think about others and do for others?  Does Julia get the man of her dreams in the end?  What about Phoebe, where does she end up?

 I couldn’t put this book down and at 429 pages, I finished it one day!

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