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Historical fiction at its best: "Waves of Mercy" by Lynn Austin
about the book....
Haunted by the Unknowns of Their Pasts, Two Women Search for Answers Along the Shores of Lake Michigan Chicago socialite Anna Nicholson retreats to the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan, after breaking her engagement with her wealthy fiancé. Filled with questions about her newfound faith and troubled by a recurring nightmare, Anna finds solace in Derk Vander Veen, a seasonal hotel worker who plans to go into the ministry.
Prompted by a request from her son, Geesje de Jonge begins to sift through memories of emigrating from the Netherlands almost fifty years ago. As she writes them down for the Semi-Centennial anniversary of the town's settlement, her story takes on a life of its own as she honestly and painfully recalls her regrets, doubts, hardships, and joys. Her story captivates Derk, who sees similarities between Geesje and Anna, and wishes to bring the two together.
Past and present collide as Anna and Geesje seek clarity, but neither expects the revelations that await them.
Weaving multiple storylines together into a riveting whole is a skill Lynn Austin has shown time and time again, and "Waves of Mercy" is no exception. More than with any other novel by Austin that I have ever read, she has succeeded at taking two people's lives and joining them together in totally unexpected ways. I'm not sure which character I loved more, whether the Anna of 1897 in Michigan, or Geesje both from 50 years prior as well as in 1897. Each of them have such tragic moments in their pasts that I couldn't help but feel a deep fondness for each. For the first half of the book, I simply found myself captivated by the story and unable to stop reading. But I have to say that there was a point half way through the book where a twist in Geesje's life actually made me throw the book down! Geesje makes a heart-breaking choice with conequences she could never have anticipated, and at first I was actually angry at this twist in the story (revealing, of course, the incredible gift Austin has to make you truly care about her characters!) But as I kept devouring the chapters that followed, I came to realize that Austin had demonstrated an incredible truth, that God can take the most difficult of circumstances and bring a profound and lasting good. I closed the pages of this novel so very encouraged by the character's faith, forged through tragedy and a loss that would be so very hard to walk through. It would be impossible to read the story of Geesje in particular and not be inspired by her courage!
Austin has crafted a novel that will not only engage your emotions, but will stir your faith at the same time. Her writing is absolutely beautiful, and the blend in times from the mid 1800's to the end of the 19th century made for fascinating reading. "Waves of Mercy" is historical fiction at its best! 5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
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.