Book Review: Jody Hedlund’s ‘Newton and Polly’

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I always find it interesting to learn about the history of real people. In this case, it’s the fictional story of John Newton, who wrote the wonderful hymn, Amazing Grace. I saw the film ‘Amazing Grace’ and this really made me want to learn more. It’s such an incredible story. When Newton was just a teenager, seventeen, his father arranged a job for him to oversee a plantation in Jamaica. During his travels, he decides to stop in to see his mother’s cousin. She had written him a letter that piqued his interest. He first sees Polly Catlett as she is using her beautiful voice and caroling. All of the sudden, her cousin Susanna grabs Polly and says, ”Run!” Susanna had involved Polly unknowingly in a plot to free slaves. As the women were hiding, Newton comes along and sees them, but when the men chasing them come by, Newton pretends he hasn’t seen them and they go about their way. And thus begins a beautiful romance, although there are many bumps along the way. As Newton makes his way to visit his mother’s cousin, who greets him at the door but Polly? Coincidence? Or Fate? Or God’s hand? (I prefer to believe it’s God’s handiwork). As John and Polly’s relationship deepens, he decides he doesn’t want the job that his father has arranged because it would take him away from her for five long years. But then he does some things that are not smart (I won’t give it away) and he is forced to leave anyway. After some time has passed, John’s father visits Polly and gives her the astonishing news that not only is he alive, but he is a changed man. And now Polly has a dilemma. Has John really changed? Could he be a good husband and spiritual leader for her and any children they may have? You’ll have to read the book to see what happens, but it’s a page turner.

You can get a copy here on Amazon.

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