STARRED REVIEW
September 20, 2016

Saved by love and amazing grace

By Jody Hedlund
Jody Hedlund imagines the early life of 18th-century preacher John Newton, as well as the inspiration behind his hymn, “Amazing Grace,” in Newton and Polly.
Share this Article:

Jody Hedlund imagines the early life of 18th-century preacher John Newton, as well as the inspiration behind his hymn “Amazing Grace” in Newton and Polly.

Fifteen-year-old Polly Catlett is out wassailing in her small English town with her aunt, but Polly is unaware that her aunt uses their caroling as a cover for rescuing children who were smuggled into slavery. Certain that their actions have been discovered and that they are being followed, Polly and her aunt quickly find a place to hide.

Luckily, the young sailor John Newton has noticed their plight and throws off their shadow. Polly soon learns that their savior is also her cousin when he pays a visit to the Catlett home. As Polly slowly warms up to her rebellious 17-year-old cousin, she also learns that he fell in love with her the moment he heard her voice while caroling.

Polly and John's relationship grows, despite the disparity in temperament between the pious Polly and the rather debauched John. However, a passionate kiss between them creates chaos in the Catlett household. John is pressured to leave and look for employment, and, while drinking away his sorrows, he is pressed into service by the Royal Navy. John is constantly dodging his responsibilities and creating trouble, and his time in the Navy takes him through France's war efforts and the horrors of slave trading. Prompted by these trials, John strives to become the godly man that Polly seeks and deserves, hoping that they will one day be reunited.

Hedlund deftly highlights both the romance and the strained aspects of Polly and John's budding relationship. While Polly is a devout believer, John struggles with his faith. But upon finding love, both with Polly and God, he is inspired to write one of the most beloved hymns in the world. 

 

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

Newton and Polly

Newton and Polly

By Jody Hedlund
WaterBrook
ISBN 9781601427649

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!