Skip to main content

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

Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Biographical fiction, historical fiction, love story
Pages: 400
Source: I received this paperback book free of charge from WaterBrook and Blogging for Books
Rating: 5 stars for excellent

Christian Book

Link for more information about WaterBrook: Newton and Polly. 

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.


1742, England
John Newton is a young man, a sailor who has spent time aboard merchant vessels. After a long absence, he has returned home to England. He makes a stop to visit relatives, and is taken with an angelic voiced young women named Polly. Through his father's connections, John has a new job waiting for him in the new world. John delays his departure to be near Polly. John and Polly live in different worlds. She is a devoted Christian. He is an independent man of the world. 
Newton and Polly are an unlikely love pair. They are people from opposing views of religion, politics, culture, and standards. 
John Newton is the author of the penned hymn, Amazing Grace. The story Newton and Polly, share the lives of this unlikely pair the years before the hymn.  

My Thoughts: 
I love this story! Several reasons led me to give Newton and Polly 5 stars for excellent. 

  • I loved it that the story is not rushed. Hedlund allows the story and characters to unfold in their own time and way. 
  • The characters evolve. Who Polly and Newton are in the beginning of the story is not who they are by the last page. The characters are chiseled and molded through hard life experiences, sometimes bitter trials, but the master craftsman has a plan. 
  • Tender moments are exchanged between the pair. Even though love is a theme, it is not the dominant theme. 
  • The dominant theme in Newton and Polly, is God is at work in the lives of this pair. His ultimate plan is to bring Newton to a saving faith by believing in Jesus Christ. 
  • A secondary theme is the testimony of Newton and Polly. Their testimony, especially John Newton's, will resound through the ages. 
  • The later half of the book has scenes of ship life. I love reading about life at sea.
  • The vile world of the slave trade in Africa is explored in brief. I am not surprised, and it does not take away from the review, but this part of the story is not described in depth. No, it is not glossed over. It is not downplayed. This is a Christian fiction story, the words and scenes are G rating.  
Links of interest: