In Lynn Austin’s novel, Waves of Mercy, 67-year-old Geesje de Jonge is asked to write some of her experiences immigrating from the Netherlands for Holland, Michigan’s 50th anniversary celebration. She’s reluctant to delve back into the hardships and struggles of faith that accompanied her journey, but her son and neighbor finally persuade her to.
Meanwhile, young socialite Anna Nicholson had accidentally stumbled into a Chicago church that was unlike any she had known before, which stirred up questions about faith and God. But her fiance had not approved of this new church and forbid her to go back to it. Their disagreement was so severe that they broke up. Anna gets away to a hotel on Lake Michigan with her mother to think and recover. A storm on the way causes a recurring nightmare to resurface in which she and her mother fall into the sea during a storm.
On her long walks on the beach, Anna meets a young seminary student who tries to answer her questions. Her mother is no help at all, since she doesn’t think polite people talk about such things as religion. Her fiance wants to get back together, and her parents encourage their reunion. But Anna feels she needs to get some things settled in her heart first.
As the Amazon description says, “Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.”
I enjoyed this book a lot. The Netherlanders had left their home to escape religious persecution arising from their wanting to pull away from the state church. America was a land of freedom and opportunity. They knew it would be hard to build a community from scratch, but they were willing to work for their and each other’s freedom.
However, they had no idea the difficulties and heartbreak that would be involved. Anna often struggled with despair, even rage. While I agree that we can be honest with God about our feelings, doubts, and questions, I disagree with Geesje telling someone who had suffered a loss, ““You have every right to be angry with God right now.” However, she does go on to tell this person, “No matter what, don’t ever stop trusting Him. I believe that God is as grieved . . . as we are.”
I enjoyed Anna’s story as well. She’s often tempted to give up her questions and go along with the pressure of her parents’ and fiance’s expectations. But something keeps propelling her forward.
The sequel to this book, Legacy of Mercy, continues Anna and Geesje’s stories. I’m putting it on my birthday wish list!
(Sharing with Global Blogging, Senior Salon, Books You Loved, Booknificent Thursday.
Links do not imply 100% agreement)
Barbara, This sounds like a good book. Thanks for introducing it.
You’re welcome, Deb. Thanks for stopping by!
This sounds good. Lynn Austin writes wonderful stories.
She really does,
Sounds like a good read! Thanks. #SeniSal
Thanks for stopping by!
I love a good tangling of people’s stories. Glad you get to look forward to a sequel!
It’s amazing to me how an author can keep separate story lines going and unfold a little at a time about how they relate to each other.
Interesting choice – I’ve not read any ‘faith’ based fiction…something new to try! .#globalblogging
There are lots of good faith-based fiction books out there! Lynn is one of the best Christian fiction authors.
Well I say I’ve not read any Christian fiction books – and realise that’s not strictly true as I’ve read a number of the classics – from Pilgrim’s Progress on….it’s probably time I came into the 21st century! Will add to my reading list 🙂
Sounds like a page-turner, Barbara. I love reading personal stories about people’s thoughts on God, even if the stories are fiction. We can learn a lot from a good fiction book!
I agree. Sometimes it’s easier to comprehend something through a story than instruction–which may be one reason Jesus told so many parables.
I like the premise of the reminiscences and memories of other communities and I hope you enjoy the sequel. Thanks for inking up with #globalblogging
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