Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund

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.

My Thoughts
What I knew about John Newton could be summed up in this one sentence. He was involved in the slave trade, had a near death experience on a boat that brought him to God, and he wrote Amazing Grace. But Jody Hedlund brought the whole of his story to life in an absolutely beautiful way.
Newton had charm but otherwise there wasn't much to recommend him. He was irresponsible, angry, and had pretty much all of the stereotypical bad habits of a sailor. But something about the wholesome Polly Catlett was enough to make almost all of that go away at least when he was actually in her presence, sadly as soon as he was away from her he went back to his sinful ways. Despite the fact that Newton really was the "wretch" he later called himself the author wrote him in such away that you were rooting for him the entire time, and it didn't hurt to have previous knowledge about the fact that he did become a changed man.
Polly was sweet and innocent, pretty much the antonym of John Newton. But she was exactly what he needed. Without the seeds she planted time and time again and without the thought of seeing her again to pull him home, John Newton probably would have just stayed on his destructive path, wouldn't have realized his desperate need for God, and we wouldn't have one of the most well known and powerful hymns.
This book takes place over several years of Newton's life but it flowed seamlessly and each word was brilliantly crafted to weave this beautiful tale of God's amazing grace! This hymn has a special place in my heart, since it was a favorite of my grandma's, whose name was Grace and went to be with the Giver of amazing grace earlier this year. So it was really special to see more of the story behind the song! I definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

Meet the Author
Jody Hedlund is a CBA best-selling and award-winning author of fourteen books. Among a variety of genres, she especially loves bringing long-forgotten women of history to life. She is the author of Luther and Katharina, which was awarded the ECPA Book of the Year Award in Fiction. Her other novels have won the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Christy Award. She resides in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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