Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My review of Lynn Austin's Waves of Mercy

By Chapter Two, I thought I knew where Lynn Austin’s Waves of Mercy was going. But I didn’t. Really, I couldn’t have imagined, and I’m so glad I did not stop reading what I thought was going to be a predictable romance, not only because of the ending but especially because of this novel’s fascinating, inspiring faith journey.

Lynn Austin writes exceptional historical fiction. This novel’s present is 1897 and its past, the fifty years previous. Current and past stories take place in Holland, Michigan, with some backstory in the Netherlands. When Anna, a beautiful 23-year-old socialite from Chicago, comes to Holland’s historic Hotel Ottawa in 1897 to heal from a romantic breakup, she finds a hotel employee, Derk, willing to talk with her about her newfound interest in the Bible. Meanwhile, his aunt, Geesje, has been asked to write her story for Holland’s celebration of its 50th anniversary. The reader of Waves of Mercy alternately reads the aunt’s story of her family’s escaping religious persecution in the Netherlands and forging their way in the wilderness of Michigan and the socialite’s 1897 story of discovering God and her identity and making right choices, which conflict with her parents’ views.

What I love about this novel is the honesty in Anna’s, Derk’s, and Geesje’s struggles. I could cry thinking about the unbelievable losses, difficulties, and pain faced by Geesje throughout her life. With each, she tells of her temptations to not believe God is good. She is the rare person who admits her gaps in faith and learns from them. I also love the author’s honesty in crafting a plot in which every life decision is seen as a spiritual one. No matter how small, each decision is between the person and God, based on the person’s view of God.

A.W. Tozer said “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” In this regard, Lynn Austin’s Waves of Mercy inspires!

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