Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace

Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace

by Jody Hedlund


$13.49 $14.99 Save 10% Current price is $13.49, Original price is $14.99. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Wednesday, October 24?   Order by 12:00 PM Eastern and choose Expedited Shipping at checkout.
    Same Day shipping in Manhattan. 
    See Details


Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund

Uncover the true love story behind the famous hymn that stirs the hearts and ignites the faith of millions around the globe.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found…

Now remembered as the author of the world’s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father—until the night he hears Polly Catlett’s enchanting voice, caroling. He’s immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.

An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John’s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781601427649
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 411,637
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is a CBA best-selling and award-winning author of more than a dozen books. Among a variety of genres, she especially loves bringing long-forgotten women of history to life. She is the author of Luther and Katharina, which was awarded the ECPA Book of the Year Award in Fiction. Her other novels have won the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Christy Award. She resides in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.

Read an Excerpt

December 1742 

Excerpted from "Newton and Polly"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Jody Hedlund.
Excerpted by permission of The Crown Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Anonymous 17 days ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction, which truly sounds like historical truth with a tiny bit of embellishment. Polly was a Christian with the same flaws many of us have, and Newton was a confident wild boy, which many of us have experienced. The characters were written so wonderfully that I kept getting mad at Newton for his foolishness! I came to really care about their lives and the outcome of this novel.
Anonymous 23 days ago
Very interesting to know exactly what John Newton went through before and after he found God.
13835877 More than 1 year ago
I was provided an ARC of Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund in exchange for an honest review. When I first started Newton and Polly I was very hesitant and didn't think that I would enjoy this story. Boy was I wrong. Newton and Polly takes place in England in the 1740's. England and France are on the brink of war, the slave trade is booming, and the smuggling of goods is plentiful. Jody Hedlund's beautiful prose brought 18th Century England to life. Jody had me laughing, crying, and yelling with frustration throughout John Newton's story. I felt John's pain as he struggled with his faith, with his love for Polly, and with trying to figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. I highly recommend Newton and Polly to anyone who loves an historical romance or is a fan of Jane Austen.
GrandaddyA More than 1 year ago
God’s amazing grace is revealed in the pages of this beautiful novel about the love story of John Newton and Polly Catlett. Anyone who has lived for very long has heard the song, Amazing Grace, or at least the music to it. Though the book is a work of fiction, Jody Hedlund has done a considerable amount of research in writing it so that the reader will gain a fuller appreciation of the events in John Newton’s life that led to him penning the song. There is a saying about there being a good woman behind every good man. If more men had a woman like Polly behind them, this world would probably be a much better place. One thing I found quite interesting were the two aspects of Polly revealed in the story. She appeared to others to be a very strong Christian, but she seemed to struggle with a lot of doubts in her early life witnessed by her hours spent in prayer only to fight the thoughts of uncertainty about whether her prayers were doing any good. Do you know anyone like that? Maybe you have similar struggles, always wondering if you are getting it right. I believe this book will help to strengthen your faith as you follow the story and see God’s hand at work in the lives of both John and Polly. I highly recommend the book for the light shone on the amazing grace available to all of us who seek Him earnestly.
slm76 More than 1 year ago
Jody Hedlund’s latest foray into biographical historical romance takes us to the early years of Amazing Grace writer, John Newton, at a time when he lived a distinctly non-Christian life. He was still a teenager when he met his distant relation, Polly Catlett, but he was immediately taken with her. He stayed numerous times with the Catlett family, but it was after one of these visits that he was pressganged into serving with the Royal Navy. Newton and Polly focuses on the period before and after this event, including John’s misdeeds. What I knew of John Newton before reading this book was extremely limited. I knew he was involved with the slave trade, but not to what extent. I didn’t know that he was learned but uncouth, charming but without ambition. He was often absence without leave from the vessels on which he served. Even after falling in love with Polly, he appeared to lack the maturity to live the steady life required of a man looking to marry. I understood why Mr. Catlett didn’t readily approve of him. It was only after five years of indenture and near death in a storm that he realized that, like Jonah, he’d been running from God and turned his life around. Jody Hedlund’s novel appears to stay true to what I’ve since read about John Newton’s life, although she admits to altering some minor detail and creating a subplot involving smuggling. It’s an ugly story at times. There are brief passages of violence, references to dishonorable behavior, and descriptions of ill-treatment of slaves. And, although there are references to the lyrics of Amazing Grace, the writing of the song itself isn’t included since that happened many years later. Thank you to Waterbrook and Blogging for Books for my complimentary copy of Newton and Polly, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Writer4God More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Jody Hedlund's story of Luther and Katharina, so I was excited to get my hands on this book! I'm not sure I liked it as well as the other, but it was still a very interesting story. It was neat to learn about John Newton and all that he went through in his life. I do feel that the story was just a tad bit repetitive with John seeing Polly, then going out to sea, then seeing Polly, and so on, and I also felt that there could have been a bit more with Polly, but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless. Perhaps a bit slow at parts, but then there were the more fast-paced parts that grabbed my attention. A 4 out of 5 from me, and I look forward to reading more by this author! I was provided a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review.
amvkv More than 1 year ago
After posting 5 stars for this book, I discovered that I have given 5 stars to every book I have read by Jody Hedlund. I feel this is my favorite, but I probably felt that after reading each of her books. NEWTON & POLLY filled in the pieces of the story of not only the man who wrote "Amazing Grace", but of his wife, Polly. Like many other church going people, I had heard that Newton had dealt in the trade slave, but after reading this book I realized there is so much more to the story than that and I am so thankful that Hedlund has researched extensively to write a book which shares the moving story of John and Polly Newton. John's mother died while he was young, and then he felt abandoned by his father. He was captivated by Polly when he first saw her and heard her singing. Newton was very intelligent as was Polly. More often than not, circumstances kept them apart and John had a great deal of changes needed before Polly would become his wife. Yes, he continually lost his job and was impressed into England's Royal Navy. He suffered lashings and punishments for wrongdoing. Now, we abhor slave trade, but few people did in those days and Newton worked in it hoping to get rich enough to be worthy of Polly. Polly was a woman of faith whose father was a man of faith and integrity who counseled her to move forward in life and forget John because he not only lacked faith but was also too wild. Polly had deep feelings for John, but came to realize she must relinquish thoughts of John and any hope for a future with him. She prayed for help to move forward with her life. Meanwhile, John's love for Polly while being absent from her never lessened, but he still was living a life far removed from God. He drank, gambled, and when ashore he even went with women to satisfy his lusts. At times he hated God as he hated his father and thought they both had deserted him. Months and years passed in this manner between visits to Polly and the deep feeling between them was never extinguished. The author's notes relate that most of the information and the characters in this historical fictional are true, and the few exceptions are explained. I am so thankful for this book. It is absolutely superb and I highly recommend it. I received this book from BLOGGING FOR BOOKS for this review.
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
I have loved every book I have read by Jody Hedlund. At first I wasn’t sure if I would love this one as much as the others, it did take me until about chapter four before I was hooked and didn’t want to put the book down. Jody can write romance like no other, the tension she builds is so real and I feel it in my heart. This is a beautiful story of how Polly and John Newton could’ve fallen in love. I enjoyed thinking about the path they could have taken that lead to John writing beautiful hymn “Amazing Grace” and the meaning behind the words. It was not an easy journey, as every good love story goes. But love does prevail and God’s amazing grace. If you enjoy a good historical romance this is a great one to read. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
swimreadbreathe4JC More than 1 year ago
Newton and Polly is a standalone novel by Jody Hedlund, and I personally think it’s her best work to date (at least of what I’ve read from her). Newton and Polly is an amazing tale of enduring love, hardships, and God’s grace. Polly Catlett is a sweet young girl who hangs out with her abolitionist cousin in the height of the slave trade business in England. One night while caroling (and covering the escape of slaves nearby), Polly has a close call, and out of no where this stranger comes to her and her cousin’s rescue. John Newton is immediately captivated with Polly’s voice, and is even more delighted to find ways to be with her more, but Polly’s father isn’t too fond of John’s influence, considering how John is a sailor and isn’t know for his character. I could hardly put this book down! I loved watching Polly fall for John and watching how her love made him want to become (and eventually become) a better man. I loved seeing Newton grow in his relationship with God and come to realize what amazing grace is so freely given to us. Newton and Polly was truly a life-changing read, and one I would highly recommend! Thank you, Mrs. Hedlund, for putting Newton’s story down in a way that is easily read and accessible to readers (especially of fiction). Thank you so much to the author for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
Sprinkle23 More than 1 year ago
John Newton is a youthful, adventurous sailor when he first encounters Polly Catlett. Her sweet voice and pretty face draw him, but it is her personality that captivates him. Devout and responsible, Polly is Newton's opposite in many ways. As they interact, attraction and passion begin to bind them together. But Polly's concerns regarding Newton are realized when his drunkenness gets him caught and impressed into the English Navy's service. As time passes, Newton's waywardness intensifies and Polly must choose to lay aside her hope of a joint future with Newton. Will Newton and Polly spend their lives pursuing desires that keep them apart from each other? Or will they embrace an amazing grace that can bring love and restoration into darkness and shame? Read more in Newton & Polly by Jody Hedlund. Newton & Polly by Jody Hedlund snagged my attention at the beginning and carried it along a path to the depths of human depravity and the heights of miraculous, life-altering grace. The journey was unpleasant at times. Newton's irresponsibly was annoying and his later actions were disgusting. Even after his conversion, I found it difficult to really like him. That being said, I appreciate that Hedlund stuck reasonably close to the known historical facts and didn't gloss over Newton's behavior to make him more palatable. Some elements of the story that I enjoyed were: the humorous banter between Newton and Polly, Polly's character development, Newton's conversion, Mr. Catlett's stand for moral integrity, and the spiritual themes of grace triumphing over sin. While Newton & Polly is not my favorite book by Hedlund, I do think it is well-written. I'm sure there are some readers who can can stomach Newton's descent into depravity better than I did and I don't seek to dissuade anyone who enjoys reading historical romances from reading Newton & Polly. My dislike of the story is based more on Newton's character than Hedlund's writing. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
kristine-morgan More than 1 year ago
Amazing Grace has always been one of my favorite songs and it is great to finally know the back story to the man who wrote the song. John Newton was clearly not a saint but his life story reveals how G-d can redeem all of us, we only need to ask. G-d will allow you to hit rock bottom if need be to get your attention. I love how Ms. Hedlund brings historical characters to life. She does an amazing job of taking the bare bones of history and clothing said bones with rich details of what might have been. I always look forward with great anticipation to Ms. Hedlund's books. I am never disappointed. I was given this book by All thoughts are my own. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found Now remembered as the author of the world s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father until the night he hears Polly Catlett s enchanting voice, caroling. He s immediately smitten and determined to win her affection. An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves? Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe." Jody Hedlund Jody Hedlund Goodreads Author Website TwitterJodyHedlund GenreHistorical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult Member SinceMay 2010 edit data Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults. Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!). When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This novel made me laugh and cry. It was a great love story between Newton and Polly. This was a story that showed how love can endur even through tough times. Watching the one you love go off to the sea would be very hard to do. Both Polly and Newton mature over the times that they are apart. They learn what faith truly is. This helps to explain how he wrote such a beautiful song. I received this book from blogging for books for a fair and honest opinion.
Zelma More than 1 year ago
Wow such a wonderful book. This book captivated me from the first chapter until the last. A great story of love that surpasses any trial or storm that may come. Even if years separate them their love is still strong. Polly a lively woman who tries her best to stop the smuggling of goods and people when John comes into her life. John is there for her even when their lives are threatened. John was pushed away due to his actions but he never stopped loving Polly. Even through being stolen by the royal guard, beaten by cat of nine tails and sold into slavery. What does it take for John to come to the Lord? What kind of storm would bring him to his knees and change his bad ways. What would John do to get back to Polly. There are so many great meanings in this story that we all could relate to. It is a must read and I highly recommend this book to all. I was sad when it was done I would like more haha.
Faye_reviews More than 1 year ago
John Newton is smitten when he hears the angelic voice of Polly Catlett caroling with her cousin Susanna. He follows her home and discovers that he is her cousin, despite having a job lined up on a ship destined for Jamaica, he lingers with the Catletts, each day making it harder to leave Polly behind him. John is reckless and godless, with very little motivation to work and make something of himself--constantly dismissing opportunities for career advancement. But when John finds himself impressed into service upon a Navy vessel, he begins an arduous journey that will change his life forever. A inspiring and passionate tale of a prodigal's flight from God, his redemption, and the woman who loved him. Before reading this book I'd never really heard much about Polly Catlett, besides the fact that John Newton was a married man and that she was his wife. Oh, how little I knew! I was riveted by this passionate tale of redemption and enduring love, and Amazing Grace. Polly is a beautiful young woman inside and out, with a kind heart, and a bent for following rules to the letter. When impulsive and reckless John comes into her life, she is drawn to him, and finds him unlike anyone she has ever known before. When her father urges her to give John up, do to his lacking character, she struggles to obey her father, but finds that John is a man hard to forget. John Newton is irresponsible and careless, letting important deadlines pass without more than passing acknowledgement. He has a chip on his shoulder, and a bent for undermining authority. He challenges those around him with his contemptible attitude and godless ways. I liked that this book didn't shy away from the gritty truth about the things that John was involved in, and I thought that Ms. Hedlund captured his youthful, disregard for authority and responsibility well. I loved seeing how in hindsight, so many of the experiences in his life set the stage for future blessings. Overall, a riveting, gripping read that took my heart on a roller coaster of emotions. A tumultuous and dramatic tale of redemption and God's boundless grace. Highly recommend! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."
SouthernGalLovestoRead More than 1 year ago
Newton & Polly is my first read by Jody Hedlund, but I don't plan for it to be my last. The fact that Amazing Grace is my all-time favorite hymn drew me to the story. I knew a little of the background of John Newton but had never heard of Polly who helped guide him to a knowledge of the love and care of a gracious God. "It sounds to me like God has intervened in your life in each of the occasions, miraculously saving you from death. Perhaps he deemed that your time on earth isn't finished, that he has more in store for you yet in this life." In a note at the end of the book, Jody shares that her story is based on extensive research and contains a great amount of factual information. It is a work of fiction, however, and has been written with creative license to craft an engaging story. The characters and events -- both real and fictional -- keep the story moving at a very enjoyable pace. The details give interesting insight into the time and place where John and Polly lived. Fans of great historical fiction should enjoy this intriguing story behind th well-known hymn. Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing a copy of the book. The comments in this review are my own thoughts.
bjdoureaux More than 1 year ago
In 1742, John Newton is a young sailor. He is preparing to sail to a new job, secured by his father, when he meets Polly Catlett. Her beauty and voice mesmerize him, and he becomes determined to win her heart. But Newton’s wayward and reckless behavior, and his questioning of God and faith, are concerns for the pious Polly, as well as her parents. However, with John’s seafaring background, and a war between England and France on the horizon, more than Newton’s failing of character threaten to keep the pair apart. I loved every moment of this novel. I devoured it. I admit that I knew nothing of John Newton’s life and the events that led to his salvation, and likely the penning of Amazing Grace. In this novel you will get both earthly romance, and a sense of God’s grace and love. Hedlund tells the tale vividly, and makes the story and the characters come to life. I can see myself reading this book again with just as much fascination as the first time. In her author’s notes, Hedlund gives the names of the books she relied on in her research, and explains what in her novel was fact, and what was embellished or entirely of her own creation. I hope to read more about John Newton’s life. And I will surely read more from Jody Hedlund. I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
Britney_Adams More than 1 year ago
A true love story like no other! Jody Hedlund brings her characters and their stories to life, and I was captivated by John Newton and Polly Catlett. A powerful story of redemption, their dramatic experiences and emotions were palpable on every page. Impeccably researched and beautifully rendered, Newton and Polly is not to be missed! I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
MJK108 More than 1 year ago
“If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness, he must tell you to make it a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you. For it is certain that whatever seeming calamity befalls you, if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing.” -William Law from A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life Jody Hedlund once again weaves a story around a very real historical man named John Newton, adventurer and philanderer and his wife-to-be, Polly Catlett, a devout and beautiful young woman raised in an upright manner. John meets Polly when he becomes late and is forced to stop at a distant cousin’s home one evening on his way back to the coast. John is an irresponsible person with no real sense of ambition when he initially meets Polly. The story deals primarily with John Newton’s life after meeting Polly. Their story is one of Polly’s loves of music, hymns, and education and John’s struggle to become a person that deserves a girl like Polly. The characters in the novel, particularly John, undergo transformations as they mature and undergo life altering circumstances. From deckhand to writer of one of the most beloved hymns of all time, Amazing Grace, John grows and develops into a devout, Christian man. As a young man John tended to make the same mistakes over and over before he finally learning some valuable lessons. One of these lessons was the quote at the beginning of the review. This becomes one of his life mantras by which he learns to live. The message carried throughout the storyline is that God loves us absolutely regardless of what we do and how we behave. The story also carries the underlying theme of the prodigal son, acceptance and forgiveness. This book will appeal to serious readers of Christian fiction and inspirational historical fiction. The story starts out a little slow, but gains momentum as it progresses. I liked the book and very much enjoyed the historical notes and details at the end of the novel. This ARC copy was received from Waterbrook and Multnomah and in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own. 4/5
gatorade635 More than 1 year ago
What I knew about John Newton could be summed up in this one sentence. He was involved in the slave trade, had a near death experience on a boat that brought him to God, and he wrote Amazing Grace. But Jody Hedlund brought the whole of his story to life in an absolutely beautiful way. Newton had charm but otherwise there wasn't much to recommend him. He was irresponsible, angry, and had pretty much all of the stereotypical bad habits of a sailor. But something about the wholesome Polly Catlett was enough to make almost all of that go away at least when he was actually in her presence, sadly as soon as he was away from her he went back to his sinful ways. Despite the fact that Newton really was the "wretch" he later called himself the author wrote him in such away that you were rooting for him the entire time, and it didn't hurt to have previous knowledge about the fact that he did become a changed man. Polly was sweet and innocent, pretty much the antonym of John Newton. But she was exactly what he needed. Without the seeds she planted time and time again and without the thought of seeing her again to pull him home, John Newton probably would have just stayed on his destructive path, wouldn't have realized his desperate need for God, and we wouldn't have one of the most well known and powerful hymns. This book takes place over several years of Newton's life but it flowed seamlessly and each word was brilliantly crafted to weave this beautiful tale of God's amazing grace! This hymn has a special place in my heart, since it was a favorite of my grandma's, whose name was Grace and went to be with the Giver of amazing grace earlier this year. So it was really special to see more of the story behind the song! I definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone! I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
BBulow More than 1 year ago
Every time I hold a new Jody Hedlund novel in my hands, my reader heart is just alive with anticipation, and I admit, a bit of trepidation – how, oh how could this new story possibly be as good as the one before? And every time even my tiniest worry is unfounded. Newton and Polly is an utterly absorbing story that captivated me with superb historical setting and details, as well as a love that came to life. The plot flows effortlessly, the characters endear themselves so quickly, and the emotions of the romance are poignant and realistic. Jody just knows how to pen an engaging, entertaining story. My favorite reading experience, particularly with historical fiction, is one that keeps me engrossed in the story, while also making me feel like I’m learning new information. I loved all of the details about the smuggling activities – especially those who opposed it – as well as John’s time spent on ships. The details about sailing and what it took to for such large vessels to travel were fascinating to experience through John’s story. John’s character transformation is one of the best of any character that I’ve read this year. In the beginning, readers only see his potential and feel the same disappointment as Polly at the decisions that he makes. Polly’s reeling emotions are keenly felt, as is the shock at the turn of events in John’s life – events that came about through no one’s fault but his own. Though doubt and despair soon take over John’s life, the story is never without hope. Polly’s character – much like I imagine how she was for John in real life – is the beacon that carries hope throughout the story. Their romance is heartfelt, but never overpowers the plot or character arcs. John comes to realize that no woman’s love can keep his despair at bay, nor provide the answers that he denies that he needs for so long. In a compelling journey of grace and mercy, John’s perspective soon changes from self-seeking to seeking God – Polly being the one who planted the seeds of God’s love and mercy in John's heart before that journey ever began. One thing I have come to adore about Jody’s writing is how she highlights women of history who may otherwise be overlooked or overshadowed by the famous men they loved. In this story, Polly Catlett’s life as a young woman is brought into focus, and although it’s fiction, Jody is respectful of the true events in history. Few liberties were taken with these details, and I appreciate Jody’s effort to stay accurate to what is known about Polly Catlett and John Newton. She also stays true to the unsavory details of the time, of which there were many, and I’m so glad that she chooses not to change or sugarcoat anything for the sake of making things more comfortable or easy for her characters. Jody creates a plausible, realistic story for them, keeping many important details of the beginning of their relationship for authenticity. Through Jody’s story, I can entirely see how the travails of his life before he found God to provide the impetus for penning a song with as much power and emotion as “Amazing Grace.” Fans of Jody will no doubt be captivated with Newton and Polly, and readers new to her books will find a gem of a story. Highly recommended for readers of historical, romantic, sweeping stories. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
Moving historical fiction... Newton and Polly A Novel of Amazing Grace By Jody Hedlund His life has been one of the sea, working under his father since he left school. With a five year commitment to work in Jamaica just days away, John Newton is about to throw away all his prospects for the future because of the voice of a young woman. Polly Catlett has unknowingly captured the heart of young Newton while singing. But John Newton is not a suitable suitor for Polly in her parents' opinion. He has no prospects drifting from job to job. Other than Polly he pursues nothing with passion. And then there are his vices - which aren't suitable for the ears of any young lady. But most glaring of all to her parents is his lack of faith or belief in God. For Polly he will do anything except bend his will to God's. And if he can't have Polly, his life has no purpose. But God, as Polly told him, "has more in store for you yet in this life." And to get him to the place he needs to be he is about to be broken in ways he never expected. The story of John Newton and the hymn that he penned are well known, but not much is known about the woman who was a reason for John Newton to want to be more, to want to be worthy of someone who made him want to leave behind the life he was living. Just as Luther and Katharina brought the unknown story to life so does Newton and Polly. The catalyst that was necessary for John Newton be willing to hear God in his life was the love offered him by Polly. Undeserved yet given freely the gift of God's grace and forgiveness opened his eyes to what he was truly being offered. The author's note in the back of the book is a welcome addition as it gives details about the facts of Newton's life that were used in this book. Under 400 pages in length this would be a fantastic book club choice (and the author has an assortment of extras that you can use for your discussion). This book is one that you will enjoy drawing out, but it is so good you'll probably keep reading it into the wee hours of the morning. I was provided a copy of this book through the publisher Waterbrook and the author in exchange for my honest review.
Lane_Hill_House More than 1 year ago
Sunday, October 2, 2016 Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund, © 2016 Only God can change the intent of a heart yielded to Him. John Newton's direction is sporadic as he repeatedly tries to follow his inclinations that turn sour and not what he had envisioned happening. Setting out alone, he attempts to circumvent outcomes of peril. Swayed by brawn and exaggerated feats of time, Newton is dissuaded from finding an obstacle to his ventures. Always assuring himself that he will be taken out of his disaster, his vision is narrowed to see factual circumstances; a little bit better than it could be. He wants to do right, to regain the man he could be, but seemingly always faltering. How can an open heart be closed off by others? How can a building love be sequenced and locked away, but longing remain even stronger? To be free, to be truly free, unencumbered by chance. Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And this was a small thing in your eyes, O God. You have also spoken of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have shown me future generations, O Lord God! 1 Chronicles 17:16-17 Author Jody Hedlund has portrayed a man reaching to fulfill his soul's desire to be seen for who he is. Alive, worthy, protected. Never seeming to measure up, he stretches forward to an unknown newness waiting for him. Peace. Love. Honor. Bereft without God, longing for a turning point solacing a heart. This story is very well written and demonstrates deep researching into lives that we may benefit from their example. In fact, in any generation could be viewed character building or degeneration by whom we choice to pattern our life after. An encouragement to go forward with God's amazing grace. ***Thank you author Jody Hedlund for this novel of Amazing Grace! and to WaterBrook for sending me a review copy. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
artsybookworm More than 1 year ago
Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund was an incredible story. I have read all of the author's books based on prominent people and not one of these books has ever been dull or lifeless. Her latest book is no exception. As I read this story, the characters came alive with feelings of love and despair, happiness and bitterness, and contentment and sadness. John Newton is a rowdy, irresponsible, seventeen year old when he meets quiet, good, kind fifteen year old Polly Catlett. Immediately drawn to each other they try to remain just friends since they are both so young, but it proves futile. Then when John is impressed into the Royal Navy everything changes. Filled with anger and bitterness of the unfairness of his life, John decides to turn one day of Christmas leave into a week because a few hours with Polly is not enough. When Polly's father finds out he tells Newton that he's not welcome in his house anymore. Newton leaves furious, and Polly is devastated. Will they ever see each other again? I never knew how amazing John Newton's story was until I read this book. Intrigued by how much was true, I immediately checked out his story before I even finished reading the book because I had to know more! I see now why he wrote such a moving, popular hymn, "Amazing Grace", for he truly did live an amazing life and was redeemed by God's free gift of grace. I highly recommend this book to any book lover, and I know you historical fiction fans like me will especially love this story of love, redemption, forgiveness, and grace. I was given this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.
kp68 More than 1 year ago
On the opening pages of Newton & Polly, the latest novel from Jody Hedlund, you will meet the main characters: John Newton and Polly Catlett. On the evening that Newton first hears Polly singing, he is mesmerized by the beauty and purity of her voice! Newton seems to have fallen hard and fast for this young woman. You wonder what will happen after he must head out to sea. As Newton seems to get into scrap after scrap, you hope he will make it out alive! Wait and see how God finally gets ahold of this young man's heart. After all that Newton will endure, he pens the much loved words to Amazing Grace. A beautiful example of a life redeemed! I received this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for my unbiased review.
GailHollingsworth More than 1 year ago
Jody Hedlund continues to amaze me with her true to life historical novels. Her research is unparalleled in accurately portraying the real characters and what happened with a right on spot timeline. Even with it being fiction it is easy to imagine how the conversations that really happened was so much like the ones penned by Hedlund. The story of how John Newton's love for Polly Catlett kept him coming back to her and trying to woo her took place over a period of at least seven years. It was hard to imagine he wrote the hymn Amazing Grace when reading of his early adult years and his escapades with drinking, gambling, lust and slave trading. But it also shows how God can change the heart of even the vilest sinner. I truly enjoyed reading about the love that carried them over some very real struggles. Polly was even considering whether to commit herself to a man with no means that she loved over a man that could give her anything she desired that she didn't love. The pull of material things is sometimes very strong but it cannot make you truly happy. And I loved the advice that Polly's mother gave her when she was struggling with her decision. This is a wonderful story that will forever stay in my heart and be reminded of every time I sing Amazing Grace. I received this book from the publisher for my honest review which I have given.