Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin | My Review

Confession: I was poised to like this book before I cracked the spine open. It's a Lynn Austin novel. An author who, from my girlhood, has dazzled me with her tales of times gone by, twists and turns and romance and so much steadfast faith. She is an author who inspired me to write.
That being said, this book now falls on my Favorites list of hers right beneath her Refiner's Fire trilogy set during the Civil War. And I've read almost every single one of her books now.



Dutch immigrant and woman of faith Geesje de Jonge, in the sunset of her years, is tasked with sharing a memoir of sorts for her town of Holland, Michigan's centennial in 1897. What unfolds is a breathtakingly powerful and faith-filled tale of her girlhood in the Netherlands when she faced religious persecution, a first love, a broken heart when torn away from her homeland following her parents to America--the place they deemed God's will led them to in order to worship freely. The reader gets to watch Geesje grow up, challenge her parents' rock solid faith at every turn, as well as wondering at God's sovereignty when life sends multiple storms--both literal and figurative--crashing over her life. The back and forth between Geesje's past and her present is beautifully done, keeping me guessing up till the very end, so expertly has Austin struck that fine balance of a story within a story.

And speaking of storms, I cannot neglect to mention Chicago socialite Anna Nicholson's half of the story. She comes to a resort on the shores of Lake Michigan to vacation with her mother, nursing a broken engagement and a seedling of faith attempting to take root and grow. Not to mention her nightmares that will not abate, leaving her with more questions than answers both about her past, her future--and the Lord. With every day she is vacationing, the dreams intensify, and she begins to wonder if they are mere dreams, symbolic--or memories. With the help of a handsome seminary student working at the resort for the summer--Derk--Anna wrestles with her doubts, the loneliness only the Lord can fill--and her identity. The latter being quite the mystery that I will just leave at that lest I give away any spoilers.

Ms. Austin has gifted the world with a novel that will speak to generations and stand the test of time in the marketplace. Thanks to her highly effective use of first person POV in this story with two heroines, dual timelines (a feat!), immersive descriptions, riveting mysteries and her brilliant use of the beautiful backdrops of both time and place, I finished this novel in three days. And I already want to reread it again and cannot recommend it highly enough.
Be prepared to have your own faith bolstered as you read these women's stories and how they found the sweetest place to be was following hard after the Calmer of the Seas, the greatest Lover of their Souls.

**Disclaimer: I was given this novel for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All views within are my own **
ABOUT THE BOOK:

Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she's asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love. 
At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.
Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home in western Michigan. Learn more at www.lynnaustin.org.
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Meghan M. Gorecki
Meghan M. Gorecki

Words, history, and grace color my days here in The Burgh where I seek out the perfect coffee and red lipstick.