Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund was an incredible story. I have read all of the author's books based on prominent people and not one of these books has ever been dull or lifeless. Her latest book is no exception. As I read this story, the characters came alive with feelings of love and despair, happiness and bitterness, and contentment and sadness.
John Newton is a rowdy, irresponsible, seventeen year old when he meets quiet, good, kind fifteen year old Polly Catlett. Immediately drawn to each other they try to remain just friends since they are both so young, but it proves futile. Then when John is impressed into the Royal Navy everything changes. Filled with anger and bitterness of the unfairness of his life, John decides to turn one day of Christmas leave into a week because a few hours with Polly is not enough. When Polly's father finds out he tells Newton that he's not welcome in his house anymore. Newton leaves furious, and Polly is devastated. Will they ever see each other again?
I never knew how amazing John Newton's story was until I read this book. Intrigued by how much was true, I immediately checked out his story before I even finished reading the book because I had to know more! I see now why he wrote such a moving, popular hymn, "Amazing Grace", for he truly did live an amazing life and was redeemed by God's free gift of grace. I highly recommend this book to any book lover, and I know you historical fiction fans like me will especially love this story of love, redemption, forgiveness, and grace.