What an amazing story! This book really did not deserve to languish in my TBR pile for as long as it did, because I was spellbound from the moment I picked it up. I have no hesitation in saying this is the best I have read of Jody Hedlund!
I had a vague idea that Newton had been a bit of a reprobate in his younger years, but until I read this story I didn’t fully appreciate just how lost he had been. And I had no idea about the woman who inspired him. This, then, is the story of a passionate love, but also a painful love for many years, both for Polly and for Newton. In all honesty, if John Newton had been a fictional character—or, more to the point, if I hadn’t known how his story turned out—I would have been tempted to throw my iPad at the wall at the way he continually sabotaged himself. Even so, I was holding my breath until the end, never fully convinced that things would turn out the way I wanted them to until I read the words with my own eyes.
Such a powerful story is no doubt a significant part of what made this novel so incredible, but full credit also needs to go to Jody Hedlund for the way she wove the story together. The writing was excellent, and she did a great job of showing the emotional bond that grew between Newton and Polly, but also contrasting it with their individual struggles: Newton rationalising his poor choices, and Polly struggling to reconcile her head and her heart. Part of Polly's father's advice will always stay with me:
“If we hold true to God’s Word and walk according to his way—no matter how tempting it is to take the easy path—he’ll bring us to green pastures eventually.”
Newton’s journey, on the other hand, is truly summed up best in his own words:
“Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”
It can’t be said strongly enough: This is a truly memorable must read!