This novel unfolds the developing relationship of John Newton with the young woman who stole his heart, Polly Catlett. Based on actual events, this life story takes readers along on a journey dealing with slavery and love, both human and spiritual. Some may be surprised to learn of the depravity of the author of the world's most loved hymn before he turned his life over to the Lord. There's plenty of tension and suspense too.
Newton & Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace" by Jody Hedlund is one of the sweetest love stories you will ever read. The novel follows the romance of John Newton and Polly Catlett from the start of their relationship. John is the heroic bad-boy, full of adventure and nerve. Polly is the calm that gives him peace; grounded in her faith and music. You may of heard of John. He's the author of the most famous hymn, Amazing Grace. Though there is little physical content in the book, it never comes across as corny or unrealistic. There is adventure and quite a bit of danger is this novel so don't take it as G rated. I loved these two and their love story. I highly recommend it. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Waterbrook Publishing.
Powerful. Intense. Awe-inspiring. All the more so because this is real life! Hedlund captures the spirit of Amazing Grace in the lives of John and Polly. Lifting doubt to faith, despair to hope in an emotional biography that reads truer than fiction.
I've always been immensely moved by this beloved hymn and I knew a little bit of the background around its conception but after reading this novel....wow -- I don't know if I have the words to convey my emotions. Amazing grace indeed.
One of the things that really struck me was the role Polly played in John's life. It had me wondering if Amazing Grace would ever have been written without her influence. She was a constant, steady beacon of faith beckoning John away from his life of degradation. The Spirit worked within her to bring him back to the fold. I'm not sure he would have ever made the changes he did without her steadfast encouragement. Such a powerful redemption story. And encouraging for those who stand in the gap for people they love in these modern times.
Hedlund's inspired words deliver a transforming love story that changed history and still touches us all.
Jody Hedlund's latest foray into biographical historical romance takes us to the early years of Amazing Grace writer, John Newton, at a time when he lived a distinctly non-Christian life. He was still a teenager when he met his distant relation, Polly Catlett, but he was immediately taken with her. He stayed numerous times with the Catlett family, but it was after one of these visits that he was pressganged into serving with the Royal Navy. Newton and Polly focuses on the period before and after this event, including John's misdeeds.
What I knew of John Newton before reading this book was extremely limited. I knew he was involved with the slave trade, but not to what extent. I didn't know that he was learned but uncouth, charming but without ambition. He was often absence without leave from the vessels on which he served. Even after falling in love with Polly, he appeared to lack the maturity to live the steady life required of a man looking to marry. I understood why Mr. Catlett didn't readily approve of him. It was only after five years of indenture and near death in a storm that he realized that, like Jonah, he'd been running from God and turned his life around.
Jody Hedlund's novel appears to stay true to what I've since read about John Newton's life, although she admits to altering some minor detail and creating a subplot involving smuggling. It's an ugly story at times. There are brief passages of violence, references to dishonorable behavior, and descriptions of ill-treatment of slaves. And, although there are references to the lyrics of Amazing Grace, the writing of the song itself isn't included since that happened many years later.
Thank you to Waterbrook and Blogging for Books for my complimentary copy of Newton and Polly, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
I have loved every book I have read by Jody Hedlund. At first I wasnt sure if I would love this one as much as the others, it did take me until about chapter four before I was hooked and didnt want to put the book down.
Jody can write romance like no other, the tension she builds is so real and I feel it in my heart.
This is a beautiful story of how Polly and John Newton couldve fallen in love. I enjoyed thinking about the path they could have taken that lead to John writing beautiful hymn Amazing Grace and the meaning behind the words.
It was not an easy journey, as every good love story goes. But love does prevail and Gods amazing grace.
If you enjoy a good historical romance this is a great one to read.
A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.