Title: Newton & Polly, A Novel of Amazing Grace
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
My rating is 5 stars.
This is the fictional account of the early life of John Newton, the author of the hymn Amazing Grace. The story mostly takes place in a small shipping town called Chatham, England in the 1740s. John Newton is 17 years old and traveling back to accept a position his father has obtained for him to take a ship to a Jamaican plantation where he will work and oversee things for the plantation owner for the next five years. On his way back, he decides to stop and visit his mother’s cousin whom he has recently received a letter from. While there, he is introduced to his cousin’s daughter Polly Catlett and is immediately drawn to her. She is a young teenager of 15, but seems to feel the same attraction. He decides he doesn’t want the job his father has arranged for him because he doesn’t want to spend five years away from Polly. He just knows she is the one for him.
As events unfold, John makes several poor choices that lead to his being forced to leave Chatham and the woman he loves. She is devastated as well, but her father has told her that John doesn’t have the character of a husband that her father wants for Polly. Polly agrees that John struggles with his faith and responsibility, but she still loves him. As months pass, Polly tries her best to forget John and go on with her life. Years pass when she receives an unexpected visitor…John’s father. He has come to her parents’ home to tell them that John is alive and a changed man. Can Polly give him another chance? Is John really changed or is he just putting on an act to please their parents? If he really has changed, how has this change manifested itself?
This is a fantastic story! I couldn’t put it down. This is one of my favorite genres as I learn about history as well as get to enjoy a good romance! The author’s note following the story is very interesting and I liked reading about what was real in the story and what was fiction. I never knew the story of young John Newton and how his life was changed and how he lived out the rest of his life after his change. The scenes at sea put me right there on the ship with John. His realization of how God had saved him over and over again in his life and God’s love for even a sinner like him brought tears to my eyes. Don’t miss another wonderful story by Jody Hedlund!