Saturday, September 17, 2016

Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund [Review & Giveaway]

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound 
that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost, but now am found 

My thoughts: Many in Christian circles consider "Amazing Grace" to be one of the most moving hymns ever written. Also, many know some of the story behind the life of the hymn's author, John Newton, and how he penned the words after surviving a virtually unsurvivable storm at sea and coming to the relization that his survival was in accord with God's amazing grace. But few know about his life leading up to that event and the lovely young woman who powerfully and graciously influenced his life, Polly.

This is Polly's story, but the main character is surely John Newton. The book opens when John is 17 and Polly a bit younger. He is smitten with her. But being so young, unemployed, and not a man of faith, he is definitely not suitable material for marrying the sweet Polly - at least in Polly's father's opinion.

John's adventures have him avoiding gainful and respectful employment, being kidnapped (by a press gang - for the King's navy), traded for a better seaman, a slave and in chains along with the Africans who he had previously enslaved. He was brutally beaten and then whipped on ship for his punishment. Still God pursued him.

Told in Jody Hedlund's beautifully written and flowing story style and painstakingly researched for authenticity, Newton and Polly is a book you won't want to miss reading. It's a good book. But not only is the story enthralling, it brings to us the story of God's redemptive powers and his amazing grace in the pursuit and protection of sinners. Newton's story is that we can not sink so deep into sin that God's grace can not lift us in redemptive power.

I heartily recommend this book.

About the book: 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 is 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."
Begins September 17
ENDS October 9 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate this review of my personal opinions. I received no compensation. Winner's giveaway copy is to be provided directly to the winner by the author or publisher.


  1. Do you enjoy biographical historical fiction? YES I LOVE IT!

    Do you believe you can get an authentic picture of who the biography is about?
    If things are well researched definitely yes. It's always nice to see a bibliography to show references, when possible.

    Does reading biographical fiction encourage you to research further into the person/s about whom the story is written?

    For myself, yes, I am a genealogist. It's my thing!

  2. Yes, Definitely it encourages me to find out more information. Have done much on my maternal genealogy.

  3. I enjoy historical fiction and I think you do learn about the person highlighted in the book. If a book really grabs my attention, I will look up more information on the subject.

  4. I enjoy historical fiction and I think you do learn about the person highlighted in the book. If a book really grabs my attention, I will look up more information on the subject.

  5. I don't believe any biography is 100% authentic, even if it is an autobiography, because the writer is certainly going to have some biases, even if he or she is not aware of them. But some can be more authentic than others.

    If the biography answered my curiosities, then no, I would not read any others, however, if there are still things that I would like to know, then, yes, I would look into reading more about that person.

  6. I do enjoy biographical historical fiction - means so much more when it is a "real" person!

    I think it would be hard to get a completely authentic biography, as if the person is no longer alive, s/he couldn't answer specific questions or even remember exact conversations. Many historical figures, however, did much journaling or kept diaries, so there is much that can be learned decades or centuries later.

    It would depend on the how thorough the biography is, or how many questions I had that were unanswered - or how interested I am in the person as to whether I would pursue more biographies.

    Oh, thank you for this chance to win!! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

  7. I do enjoy biographical historical fiction! The Doctor's Lady by Jody is one of my early favorites of hers.

    I don't normally do more research on my own, but do enjoy learning about this real people!

  8. I do enjoy biographical historical fiction. Another author who does a fantastic job of writing in this style is Jane Kirkpatrick. Her books do sometimes cause me to do further research about the person, events, or settings of the books. The authors I read do a tremendous amount of research so I trust them to give an accurate picture of the subject.

  9. I love biographical historical fiction! Yes, it does give me a better picture of who the story is about. Reading it does make me want to know more about the person. Thanks for the giveaway! Meganleigh844 (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. I love biographies, both fictional and nonfictional. As for accuracy, I think that it entirely depends on the subject. The further you delve into the past, the harder it is to find accurate records, unless your subject is extraordinarily famous! Lol

    After reading a good biography, I usually go searching online for pictures and stories. Biographies just whet my appetite for history!

    mylittlebirdie (at) yahoo (dot) com

  11. Do you enjoy biographical historical fiction? LOVE IT!

    Do you believe you can get an authentic picture of who the biography is about? VERY MUCH SO.

    Does reading biographical fiction encourage you to research further into the person/s about whom the story is written? MAKES ME WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT PERSON/S WHOM THE STORY IS WRITTEN.

  12. Yes, definitely enjoy biographical historical fiction. Also, I frequently wind up going to the library and further delving into the region/event/persons involved.

  13. Do you enjoy biographical historical fiction?

    Yes, it's one of my favorite genres to read!
    Do you believe you can get an authentic picture of who the biography is about?

    Yes, I the prose added by the author makes it come alive

    Yes, I generally do more research after reading a biographical fiction book.

  14. I am drawn to the biography. I find myself among those who enjoy further reading to get as much information about a person or place I have read about. In reading Jody Hedlund I have frequently researched up the places and events in her work. This book is calling to me and I am sure it will have an impact on me.

  15. Yes! Reading fictional books about real people gets me curious and, more often than not, when the books done, the research begins!😃

  16. I love biographical fictional books!

  17. They make me wonder if it could have happened that way.

  18. I do enjoy biographical historical fiction. It gives insight into how someone might have lived and makes history come alive. Thanks for writing Newton and Polly.

  19. I do enjoy reading biographical historical fiction. Whether you can get a true picture of the subject depends on the author's depth of research about the person as well as their skill as an author.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  20. yes, I do enjoy biographical fiction of the historical nature. It gives you an idea of how this person spent his/her life.

  21. 1. I enjoy biographical historical Christain fiction.
    2. Yes we can get an authentic picture of who it is about.
    3. Yes it does.

    Blessings, Tina

  22. I've been hearing good things about this book. Thanks for linking up this week at Booknificent Thursday on! Great to have you!

  23. Yes I do like reading biographical historical, I like learning how they lived , and what they pass on to there kids


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment here at Chat With Vera. If you need to contact me directly, please use the email associated with this blog and posted in the sidebar.