If you take a quick peek at my blog header, you’ll see a nod to Lynn Austin because she’s oh, just one of my favorite authors ever! Every single book I’ve read of hers, I’ve enjoyed and she never fails to capture my history loving heart. Waves of Mercy was no different!
Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she’s asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love.
At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.
Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.
The stories of both of these women had me fully hooked. Both Geesje and Anna’s stories weren’t all I expected and I love the book all the more for it (but I want the story to continue too. Please Lynn? PLEASE!). The story of Geesje – y’all wow. So much happened and while not based on a true person, I know much of what happened did happen to those who immigrated to the US. But the history of the town and events? All true. Wow. Then with Anna – a young girl searching for the right answers and holding on to a new faith. Both done so well and many a times some tears were shed.
Generational stories never fail to get to me. So much of what we do, the daily decisions we make, the advice we give, all of it shapes our future and sometimes affects lives we might not even think of. Austin is a master of these types of stories. Plus, this didn’t end in all the ways you expect (thus my want for more!). Add in her beautiful themes of restoration and redemption and I’m in. If you are a fan of historical fiction, be sure to give this one a shot.
For my fans of Lynn Austin, what’s one of your favorite books?
(Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)