A Novel of Amazing Grace
By Jody Hedlund
His life has been one of the sea, working under his father since he left school. With a five year commitment to work in Jamaica just days away, John Newton is about to throw away all his prospects for the future because of the voice of a young woman. Polly Catlett has unknowingly captured the heart of young Newton while singing.
But John Newton is not a suitable suitor for Polly in her parents' opinion. He has no prospects drifting from job to job. Other than Polly he pursues nothing with passion. And then there are his vices - which aren't suitable for the ears of any young lady. But most glaring of all to her parents is his lack of faith or belief in God.
For Polly he will do anything except bend his will to God's. And if he can't have Polly, his life has no purpose. But God, as Polly told him, "has more in store for you yet in this life." And to get him to the place he needs to be he is about to be broken in ways he never expected.
The story of John Newton and the hymn that he penned are well known, but not much is known about the woman who was a reason for John Newton to want to be more, to want to be worthy of someone who made him want to leave behind the life he was living.
Just as Luther and Katharina brought the unknown story to life so does Newton and Polly. The catalyst that was necessary for John Newton be willing to hear God in his life was the love offered him by Polly. Undeserved yet given freely the gift of God's grace and forgiveness opened his eyes to what he was truly being offered.
The author's note in the back of the book is a welcome addition as it gives details about the facts of Newton's life that were used in this book. Under 400 pages in length this would be a fantastic book club choice (and the author has an assortment of extras that you can use for your discussion). This book is one that you will enjoy drawing out, but it is so good you'll probably keep reading it into the wee hours of the morning.
I was provided a copy of this book through the publisher Waterbrook and the author in exchange for my honest review.
About the Book:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found...
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.