Review of Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund

Leah Courtney
Several years ago I came across author Jody Hedlund when I read her book A Noble Groom. I loved the book- her writing style, the character development. I've since reviewed two of her other books- The Preacher's Bride and Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion. I've loved each one and recently had the opportunity to review another- Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace. It's the story behind the author of one of my favorite hymns of all time- "Amazing Grace."

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From the book's description:

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.

Historical fiction is one of my very favorite genres. When it's well-done I can envision the time and people well. But for me to really appreciate historical fiction, I want the story to be true to known facts. This can be a little dicey when authors write about real people as the main characters of their stories.

Jody Hedlund does this well. In this book as well as The Preacher's Bride and Luther and Katharina, the main characters are real people. And Jody Hedlund has taken what's known about them historically and has given the reader a look into the relationship they had with their wives. She stays true to the historical information available, and she makes the men and their wives real, believable people for the reader to "meet."

In this book, Polly and John are both well-developed characters.  The theme of God's grace runs throughout- not only in the life of John, who decidedly needs God's grace to change a life that's gone astray, but also in the life of Polly, who thinks that she has to work to earn God's love.

Needless to say, I give this one five stars. I loved it, and I'll be looking for others by the author. You can find Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace on Amazon here. You can read a Kindle preview of the book below.

Review of The Preacher's Bride

Review of A Noble Groom

Review of Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion

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Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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