Waves of Mercy

Waves of Mercy

Book - 2016
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Austin Returns with a Multi-Generational Historical Novel

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.
Publisher: Minneapolis, Minnesota : Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, ©2016.
ISBN: 9780764218781
Characteristics: 378 pages ;,22 cm.


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Apr 22, 2019

I feel like a time traveler who’s returned to the present day after a memorable visit to the late 1800’s. Without leaving the comfort of my home, Waves of Mercy brought me across the Atlantic ocean with Geesje De Jonge and her family. They are fleeing the Netherlands with their entire community in search of religious freedom in America. Every aspect of their journey was arduous, and the land that greeted them was untamed. When all manner of affliction assailed their small Dutch colony in western Michigan, they held fast to God — trusting.

1897 is the starting point for Anna Nicholson and Geesje’s stories. Readers gain insight into Anna’s life through her dreams as well as dialogue with other characters, like her mother and a hotel worker named Derk. On the other hand, Lynn Austin cleverly allows Geesje to write her life’s history (for us to read) at the request of her town’s Semi-Centennial Committee.

Waves of Mercy tossed my emotions about like a ship in a storm. In an overtly Christian novel where the people question their circumstance in relation to God’s goodness, His will, and their willingness/unwillingness to obey; the characters were relatable, yet not always admirable. At times I felt the story was about to be capsized by sadness, but my lasting takeaway was how all the trials produced perseverance and maturity of faith. Awash in history, complex characters, and highly emotive writing, Austin’s latest is not to be missed!

I received this book free of charge from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

Feb 27, 2019

Very good book. Provides insight into Holland's history in the mid to late 1800's. Like the twists and turns. Keeps you in suspense.

Sep 21, 2017

I'm currently reading this great book. I recently went on a retreat to Holland, MI. I am really liking the Dutch immigrant and theological themes of the book.

Aug 30, 2017

Excellent book again by Austin. Especially enjoyed the Dutch history which is rarely the focus of novels. Amazing insights into the struggles of settlers even as late as the 1850s. She brings tough questions into play and deals with them in a godly way while acknowledging the struggles involved. Good read.

Apr 07, 2017

A wonderful book about real love and learning to follow God's will, not your own.

Feb 05, 2017

great read, long read as plot rather complicated, but so worth it !! Hope there will be a sequel!! Feel loose ends and questions? Lynn Austin is one of the greatest authors ever!

Librarian_Deb Nov 21, 2016

I found the courage of the characters inspiring and the story enlightening in this historical novel. Geesje came to America from Holland to escape religious persecution. Anna feels like she must choose between her fiance and her quest for faith and for answers. Each woman shows great strength and each story has a lot to teach us. Until I heard Geesje's story about how her family was hounded by their neighbors, I didn't know that religious persecution had happened in Holland. I was startled to learn that those who separated from the state run church in Holland were persecuted, and that some of them came to America so that they could worship freely. I admired their bravery and I felt for Geesje every step of the way, as she endured the long ocean voyage She and her family tried to carve out a new community named Holland out of the Michigan wilderness. But it was the personal challenges that she faced that truly made her an engaging character, as separation and hard choices made finding her way to true love and happiness difficult. That personal journey is what connects her to Anna, a young woman from a high society family who comes to the resort near Holland to rest and think after her engagement is broken off. She wonders why she feels so drawn to the church she visited, why she has strange dreams and memories, and why her former fiance does not understand her need to ask questions about her past and about God. As she delves into the past, she learns to stand up for herself and I truly enjoyed watching her character grow, even as I wondered how the pieces of the puzzle would connect and tie her story to the Geesje's. I couldn't wait to get to the end of the story and have all my questions answered.
The characters in this book are asking some tough questions, as they face many heart wrenching losses. If you read this book, be prepared for an emotional roller coaster as you follow them through their ups and downs! Fortunately there are characters who speak words of wisdom from the "good book" into their lives during these struggles. Still, Geesje in particular worries that the questions she asked while her heart was broken will discourage those who hear her tell it. On the contrary, Gessje, I found your honesty made your story all the more encouraging and helpful. And I appreciated learning about all that these brave pioneers had to go through in to live out their faith the way that they wanted to.
I recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction, especially about the early settlement of America, and to those who enjoy uplifting stories which illustrate how Biblical wisdom can be applied to real life.

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