Today's review is on Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and the author in exchange for my honest review.
Lynn Austin has been on my radar as one of my favorite authors ever since I read Wonderland Creek a couple summers ago. I haven't been able to read a whole lot by her, but I do want to read all of her books eventually. Waves of Mercy was a great, captivating read, in fact it is probably one of my favorite novels of all time!
The novel takes place tells the story of two women, Anna and Geesje. Anna is staying at the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan after her fiance breaks off their engagement due to her newfound faith. During her stay she meets hotel Derk Vander Veen, who is studying to become a minister, and she goes to him with questions regarding her new faith. Meanwhile, Geesje de Jonge has begun writing her story about emigrating from the Netherlands over fifty years ago for the town's 50th anniversary celebration. However, instead of just writing about what caused her family to move to the United States, she also includes her struggles, regrets and joyful moments of her life over the past 50 years. When Derk reads her story, he decides that Anna needs to meet his Tante Geesje because their stories are so similar.
I don't even know where to start when it comes to my thoughts on this book. First, I loved how it switched between the "present day" of the story, 1897, and went back to 50 years before when Geesje is writing her story. I loved reading about the very real struggles that both Anna and Geesje had to deal with, even though they are fictional characters. Waves of Mercy shows that it is normal for every believer to go through times of doubt, especially during times of hardship, however it also showed how faithful God is even during those times of doubt.
I loved the historical details of the novel, especially since it covered over 50 years of U.S. history. I liked how the author explained and gave some details as to why Geesje's family had to leave the Netherlands. I also liked how it dealt with the effects of the Civil War. I also liked how she talked a little bit about steamboat accidents and she did a great job of depicting the Gilded Age. I think this stood out to me a lot more than it usually does because I am taking a class on U.S. History this semester and we had just gone over this section of U.S. history in the class, so it was still fresh in my mind.
I also enjoyed getting to know the characters, especially Geesje, I loved her story and some of the parallels it had with Anna's story. Anna was also a great character, the struggles she faces over the course of the novel are realistic and I loved how Derk was able to help sort through her questions and mixed emotions, as well as the societal expectations placed on her. I also enjoyed getting to know Derk, however the reader only ever sees him from the perspective of Anna or Geesje, but yet I felt like he was still a pretty fleshed-out character despite this.
Another thing that I really liked about this novel is that the ending wasn't predictable, I did not expect it the way to end the way it did and I loved it. It wasn't cliche, but it was still a sweet ending!
I really loved this book and I loved the characters! I can't think of anything that I didn't like about this book I enjoyed it a lot. I can't wait to read more of Lynn Austin's books, and I can't wait to see what she releases next. I am giving this book 5/5 Stars because it was captivating and I struggled to put it down.
Janelle L. C.
P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)