Showing posts with label redemption. Show all posts
Showing posts with label redemption. Show all posts

Monday, June 4, 2018

When Through Deep Waters by Rachelle Dekker– A Review

I’ve read a lot of books.
Few like this.

I’ve read books that wowed me with the twist at the end. I’ve read books that were so-so yet had enough entertainment value to rate them worthwhile—and books that didn’t. I’ve read books that were of significance in the societal story they told. I’ve read books that made me laugh, books that made me cry, books that swept me away to a make-believe existence. But every once in a very long while, I read a book that grabs something inside of me and shakes it—grabs and won’t let go, pulling me into the life of a character so completely that I’m somehow melded with them in their struggle. 

To say I was invested in this character is a gross understatement. This is the kind of investment for which authors strive. Alicen McCaffrey begins her story quite unlikeable. A self-absorbed well-to-do, shallow, detached . . . Alicen quickly became someone I felt deeply sorry fornot just sympathetic, but my heart broke for her as I shared in her unbearable grief and resulting sickness. 

Having a brother with severe mental illness likely pulled me even stronger into this story. Witnessing his schizophrenia, it’s not hard to picture a non-existent world so real that you not only can touch it but be threatened by it—even to the point of death. Stay away if you are uncomfortable with a close-up story of grief and delusions. There were a few times early in where I wondered if this book would haunt me, leaving a scar on my sanity. Happy to say it didn’t. It just left a mark on my heart of a character so real I prayed she would make it through the darkness.

One minute I believed this was happening. A page later—no, it’s that. (Avoiding spoilers here.) The author is skilled at keeping me guessing throughout. The further I ventured, the harder it was to put down. I lost sleep. I love that about a book.

After finishing the last page (very late), my mind filled with tags: freaky, crazy, emotional, spiritually lifting, joy, grief, light, darkness, evil, goodness. Everything. Every emotion rolled into a very involved and evolving battle. I am desperate to forget everything about this book so that I can read it again with the same hope, fear, heartache, joy.

In other words, I really liked it. I give this book FIVE stars (because that’s the max.) I can’t wait to get my hands on another by this author. I guess I should ad that it’s well written and edited, and that the characters are well developed.

Available for pre-buy now, When Through Deep Waters releases on July 3.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Newton & Polly--A Novel of Amazing Grace

Author Jody Hedlund plunged into the Historical genre with the wonderful Luther and Katharina. (Reviewed here.) I wondered if this book could ever live up to her previous story. I don’t know why I ever doubted.

In Newton & Polly, Hedlund tells the story of John Newton—the writer of the infamous hymn Amazing Grace—and the love of his life, Polly Catlett.

When the old hymn speaks of “a wretch like me”, it was spot on in describing John Newton. He was not the kind of man a father desires for his daughter—and Polly’s father was no exception. Not only was Newton a lover of the pubs, but he was lazy scamp, with very little chance of being able to adequately provide a good future for a wife of Polly’s stature. Even John’s own father had grown frustrated with his rapscallion ways. And to top it off, Newton mocked God!

Though Polly was a God-fearing woman, John did not share her desire to please the Lord. He had been raised for only a few years by his mother, a woman of devout faith. After her death, Newton grew to not only doubt the existence of God, but to ridicule those who clung to their trust in the Lord.

I must admit, much like the fathers in this story, I had also grown tired of Newton’s ways. Well into the book, I wondered how much more I wanted to read about his silly antics and irresponsibility. Perhaps it was due to having little time to read and having to grab a few moments here and there. Or perhaps Hedlund expertly described how very much a wretch was John Newton! It isn’t typical to dislike one of Hedlund’s main characters—but I did in fact dislike him. At the same time, I could identify with him.

Newton’s story is much like the prodigal son of the Bible. I was once lost, and like John, I lived as I pleased—and it left me every bit as empty. I will forever remember the moment I first experienced God’s amazing grace. If not for Polly Catlett, John Newton would have had no ambition to leave his reprehensible life and return home, and thus would not have experienced his own life-changing event that inspired him to write the beloved hymn.

Newton’s undying love for Polly was the driving force that made him want to be more than he was—his feelings for her never wavering. And just when Polly was ready to move on, God moved in a gargantuan way.

This book belongs on your shelf. It is a love story as great as any.

As far as the writing, the pace, descriptions, character depth, etc…
It’s Jody Hedlund, so of course it’s wonderful.

Come back next week for my interview with Jody Hedlund about her writing process!