Book Review: Amazing Grace How Sweet The Sound…

Newton & Polly

A Novel of Amazing Grace

By Jody Hedlund

That famous hymn sung around the world in Christian services comes to life in Jody Hedlund’s latest Christian Historical. The tale of John Newton and Mary “Polly” Catlett Newton, as the story unfolds of their meeting, courting, and hymn writing to their happily-ever-after.

There is tragedy, bribery, corruption and danger as we follow along the stirring romance between these two beloved characters. Just as the hymn states John was a wretch but redeemable. Polly continued to see the good in him and waited for him to return to her even after she was told he was dead. This heartfelt story proves that love can survive even after the deepest sin. 

John Newton grows from an entitled young man, into a man of honor. He finds his faith in a time of despair when he truly thinks all is lost. As a young man John skirted responsibility and eschewed all Christian values. He fell into debauchery and drinking among other sailors. Eventually he visited his mother’s relatives where he met Polly and fell in love. With Polly inspiring him to find adulthood, he wished to become respectable for her. He wanted to be worthy of her love and to be worthy of her.

Because of his anti-authority attitude John found himself in trouble at every turn. He finally believes he is not and will never be worthy of Polly. When he humbles himself before God, he realizes the mess he has made of his life. About to lose his life at sea during a horrible storm, his prayer is answered and miraculously the ship is saved. He too is saved returning to Polly as a humbled man.

While it is a story of love, Newton and Polly is not a romance novel. It is a Historical fictional telling of the strength of the woman beside John Newton. She was his inspiration to be a better man, to be a humbled human. It is the story of his redemption and his return to find Polly waiting with open arms full of love. 

Author Jody Hedlund has a rare talent to capture a time period in her novels. When you open the first page of her books, you are at her mercy as she leads you back in time; as she leads you into the world where her characters live. 

Newton & Polly is one of those novels. You lose all sense of the present day as you are immersed in the world of 1742 England. John and Polly come to life again as they were so many years ago. Knowing how the hymn came to be, because of this man, makes the pleas within the hymn ever more poignant. 

Be sure to visit Jody Hedlund’s website for book club collections and a playlist to accompany the novel.


FTC Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this title by Waterbrook publishing and author Jody Hedlund for review purposes only; no other compensation was awarded me. 


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