Internet. Let me tell you. I mean this when I say, this is Jody Hedlund’s best. With such a powerful and incredible story of redemption, you can’t help but be changed by this story. Y’all – there are so many truths I was reminded of while reading this; that God is always at work, that He can make the seemingly impossible happen and that He is faithful. And as a bonus? It’s an incredible true love story. I never knew about John Newton’s wife and I agree when Jody said, this is a story people need to know!
Now remembered as the author of the world’s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father—until the night he hears Polly Catlett’s enchanting voice, caroling. He’s immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.
An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John’s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves?
Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.
First internet, you need to know that Jody knows how to research and research well. On top of that, she is able to weave said research into a novel without becoming a history text book (although, history nerd here would still read it ;). I learned so much!
I also thought the balance of describing the depths of depravity John experienced and took part in were done without overwhelming the reader. Details of the slave trade and John’s actions are important for the reader to know, but it wasn’t to a point where the reader would have to put the book down.
With that, the story of John’s redemption is even more powerful. It reminded me that no one, no matter what they have done, is beyond the redemptive and powerful hand of Jesus. Stories of the prodigal get me every time and after reading this, I’m encouraged not to give up the fight on praying for those who have turned away or have yet to experience the saving grace of Jesus. If the Lord can change someone like Newton, He can change the people I’m longing for to experience Jesus.
I love a story that draws you in and captivates your heart. I wonder what Mr. Newton and Polly would think, that hundreds of years later, their story was still impacting people’s lives? I don’t know if they would be so shocked though – not after all they experienced with God working in their lives!
What’s one of your favorite hymns?
Also, there’s a really encouraging campaign for people to share their Amazing Grace Moments. If you’d like to join, you can find all the details here!
(I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)