Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Newton & Polly, by Jody Hedlund

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Jody Hedlund's writing. Here are my reviews for Unending Devotion, A Noble Groom, Rebellious Heart, and Captured by Love.

I love Jody's storytelling ability. Her words are effortless to read, the love story flows naturally, and the conflict is so intricately woven into the story, it feels authentic and realistic. To date, my favorite of Hedlund's stories are the ones inspired by real couples from history, with Rebellious Heart at the forefront (the story was inspired by John and Abigail Adams).

This week I picked up Newton & Polly, A Novel of Amazing Grace. The story is inspired by the true love story of John Newton & Polly Catlett. I made the mistake of "just peeking inside" when the book arrived at my house. I'm on a tight deadline and had told myself I couldn't read it until my story is written, but Newton & Polly grabbed my attention and I couldn't stop reading. Literally, last night at about 10 p.m. I told myself I'd just read a couple chapters before bed. I became so engrossed in the book, I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish it! I was shocked when I rolled over and looked at the clock.

Despite the fact that I only had four hours of sleep last night, I'm not disappointed that I stayed up to finish the story. There were several things I loved about Newton & Polly. First, it's inspired by a true story--and it's an incredible one at that. I knew a little about John Newton, but I had no idea how deep his tale of redemption went. The ending is so worth the wait. God's amazing grace met John Newton and the world was never the same. He went on to write the most powerful hymn of all time, which also happens to be my personal favorite. Second, the attention to detail in Jody's book was masterful, without being cumbersome. I felt everything these characters felt. I lived through all the toils they endured. It was almost exhausting, but in a heart-pounding kind of way. Third, the emotional depth to this story is remarkable. Not only because it's John & Polly Newton's story, but because Jody does a superb job of bringing it to life and helping us understand how John could continue to make the decisions he made--and see how truly powerful his redemption was.

This is an excellent book. I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves romance, history, and the story of God's unending love.

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.

About the Author:

Winner of 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.