Waves of Mercy (Waves of Mercy, #1)
Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she's asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love. At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her. Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends. 

Waves of Mercy (Waves of Mercy, #1) Details

TitleWaves of Mercy (Waves of Mercy, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 4th, 2016
PublisherBethany House
ISBN-139780764217616
Rating
GenreChristian, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance, Christian Historical Fiction

Waves of Mercy (Waves of Mercy, #1) Review

  • Dawn
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. This is one of those books that lingered after I finished reading it. I've read a lot of Lynn Austin's books over the years, my favorite being Eve's Daughters. This book reminds me a lot of Eve's Daughters in how rich it was. For anyone wanting a historical romance, sorry, this one's not for you. There are layers upon layers to both Anna and Geesje's stories. And yes there is some romance, especially as Geesje shares her story. But what I loved about this I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. This is one of those books that lingered after I finished reading it. I've read a lot of Lynn Austin's books over the years, my favorite being Eve's Daughters. This book reminds me a lot of Eve's Daughters in how rich it was. For anyone wanting a historical romance, sorry, this one's not for you. There are layers upon layers to both Anna and Geesje's stories. And yes there is some romance, especially as Geesje shares her story. But what I loved about this book was how both women searched for answers. I loved how their journeys were similar in their searches. There was a depth to these characters that has been missing from the books I've enjoyed lately. I received this book for free as a part of Bethany House's blogging program. I was not required to like the book, only to give my honest opinion of it. My thoughts and opinions are my own.Recommended to fans of Jody Hedlund, Laura Frantz, Joanne Bischof, historical fictionRating - 5 stars
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  • Joyce
    January 1, 1970
    Public library copy. I've read many books by this author. This is one of many I've given a 5-star rating. This book is a love story without the romance. It is written from two points of view, three I suppose, but it blends beautifully into one story. I can't recommend this book enough. It's a timeless story, beautifully told by believable characters. Best of all the reader finds herself wanting to learn how better to love God and others.
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. Lynn Austin writes such great fiction. Her characters are deep with real feelings and problems. I loved to see the growth that all of the characters went through. This book had lots of family secrets that kept me guessing. It also has strong themes of faith, loyalty and the importance of obedience. I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and family drama. I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of review.
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  • Staci
    January 1, 1970
    What a lovely novel. Waves of Mercy blends the stories of Anna Nicholson, Derk Vander Veen and Geesje de Jonge in 1897 Holland Michigan while also sharing Geesje's memories going back 50 years in the Netherlands. It's a beautiful journey about faith and God's will. The prevailing message is that God's will for your life may not match the one you have in mind. While I find this can be frustrating in real life, it was also frustrating at points in the novel. Thankfully, God does know better than w What a lovely novel. Waves of Mercy blends the stories of Anna Nicholson, Derk Vander Veen and Geesje de Jonge in 1897 Holland Michigan while also sharing Geesje's memories going back 50 years in the Netherlands. It's a beautiful journey about faith and God's will. The prevailing message is that God's will for your life may not match the one you have in mind. While I find this can be frustrating in real life, it was also frustrating at points in the novel. Thankfully, God does know better than we do what is best for us.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    If you take a quick peek at my blog header, you’ll see a nod to Lynn Austin because she’s oh, just one of my favorite authors ever! Every single book I’ve read of hers, I’ve enjoyed and she never fails to capture my history loving heart. Waves of Mercy was no different!The stories of both of these women had me fully hooked. Both Geesje and Anna’s stories weren’t all I expected and I love the book all the more for it (but I want the story to continue too. Please Lynn? PLEASE!). The story of Geesj If you take a quick peek at my blog header, you’ll see a nod to Lynn Austin because she’s oh, just one of my favorite authors ever! Every single book I’ve read of hers, I’ve enjoyed and she never fails to capture my history loving heart. Waves of Mercy was no different!The stories of both of these women had me fully hooked. Both Geesje and Anna’s stories weren’t all I expected and I love the book all the more for it (but I want the story to continue too. Please Lynn? PLEASE!). The story of Geesje – y’all wow. So much happened and while not based on a true person, I know much of what happened did happen to those who immigrated to the US. But the history of the town and events? All true. Wow. Then with Anna – a young girl searching for the right answers and holding on to a new faith. Both done so well and many a times some tears were shed.Generational stories never fail to get to me. So much of what we do, the daily decisions we make, the advice we give, all of it shapes our future and sometimes affects lives we might not even think of. Austin is a master of these types of stories. Plus, this didn’t end in all the ways you expect (thus my want for more!). Add in her beautiful themes of restoration and redemption and I’m in. If you are a fan of historical fiction, be sure to give this one a shot.For my fans of Lynn Austin, what’s one of your favorite books?(Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)Originally posted at http://booksandbeverages.org/2016/11/...
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  • Paula Vince
    January 1, 1970
    I've read enough Lynn Austin novels to know they'll surely be a good quality read. Her cross-cultural stories are always really thoroughly researched, and this is no exception. It's a dual timeline which gradually draws together.The younger protagonist, Anna, has accompanied her mother to a holiday resort, but she's preoccupied. Not only has her fiance recently jilted her, but she suffers strong nightmares about drowning at sea, and lately she's beginning to wonder how she can understand foreign I've read enough Lynn Austin novels to know they'll surely be a good quality read. Her cross-cultural stories are always really thoroughly researched, and this is no exception. It's a dual timeline which gradually draws together.The younger protagonist, Anna, has accompanied her mother to a holiday resort, but she's preoccupied. Not only has her fiance recently jilted her, but she suffers strong nightmares about drowning at sea, and lately she's beginning to wonder how she can understand foreign words she's supposedly never heard before.The elderly protagonist, Geesje, has been challenged to write her personal history for a book about the district's 50 year anniversary. Her past is full of anger and bitterness which she's not sure she ought to share, but as she begins to get it all down on paper, she decides it may be of some value to others after all, and we find out how she migrated from Holland with her family, and the harsh circumstances involved.It's clear that the two stories will converge together eventually, but from the start, the go-between is a young seminary student named Derk. Anna knows him as a friendly part-time worker at the hotel she's staying at, and to Geesje, he's the son of some old friends.It's an interesting read, but not my favourite story by Lynn Austin. I had problems with the way she wrote Geesje's romantic dilemma, and whether she'd end up with handsome, lonely soldier Hendrick or her father's loyal apprentice Maarten. It felt like the character development she gave each young man made it too easy to predict where she was taking the love triangle. Sure enough, Geesje's eventual choice came as no surprise. When character development makes the plot too obvious, then maybe it's a bit heavy-handed. Also, I felt really bad for one of those young fellows, since he was doing all the right things and what happened wasn't really his fault.I thought it might have been nice if we readers had some tips on how to pronounce Geesje's name. It would have been easy enough to have her tell another character, 'This is how you say it.' As it is, I'm sure the way I imagine it spoken in my head is nothing like it's supposed to be.As a family saga, it's an emotional roller coaster with plenty of twists and overdue revelations. But those moments of predictability, plus a bit too much sadness and grief in the back stories, makes it a good read, but not one of my very favourites.Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for my review copy.Find more reviews on my blog, http://vincereview.blogspot.com.au/
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  • Fiction Aficionado
    January 1, 1970
    Some novels leave you feeling so full you don’t have room for your own words. That was the overwhelming feeling I had when I finished this novel – and yet I was desperately scrambling to find more because I wanted Anna’s story to keep going! But Geesje’s story . . . it’s one that will stay with you once you have read it. It will leave an impression on your heart and become part of the ‘experience’ you draw on as you navigate the waters of your own life, through the calm and the storm. It is full Some novels leave you feeling so full you don’t have room for your own words. That was the overwhelming feeling I had when I finished this novel – and yet I was desperately scrambling to find more because I wanted Anna’s story to keep going! But Geesje’s story . . . it’s one that will stay with you once you have read it. It will leave an impression on your heart and become part of the ‘experience’ you draw on as you navigate the waters of your own life, through the calm and the storm. It is full of wisdom gained through some of the most difficult experiences and decisions life can throw at you and, to be perfectly honest, is one of the most inspiring stories of faith I have ever read – fiction or not.There are two aspects to this story. The first is the ‘present’ (in this case, 1897), told from the point of view of both Anna Nicholson and Geejse. Anna arrives at Hotel Ottawa after a turbulent crossing of Lake Michigan, nursing a broken heart and weighed down by some of life’s deepest questions. Prior to leaving Chicago she had been secretly attending Moody’s Chicago Avenue church – a church that feels very familiar to her, even though she cannot remember ever having attended before. It is here that she hears the minister speaking about Jesus as if He was his best friend; words that touch a deep, empty place in her soul. Even when her fiancé, William, forbids her from attending, she cannot help but be drawn back to learn more. When he learns that she has defied him, he ends their engagement.Derk Vander Veen mistakes Anna for someone else when he sees her sitting on a bench near Black Lake on her first morning at Hotel Ottawa, but it’s a mistake that leads to a tentative friendship when Anna discovers that Derk is studying to become a minister. Although she knows her mother would frown upon her spending time with a hotel employee, Derk listens in a way that no one else has, and she finds herself sharing her desire for the freedom to explore the differences between the formal religion she has grown up with, and the Christian faith that seems so . . . real.Geesje knows just how much is sometimes sacrificed for religious freedom. Although she and Anna do not meet until towards the end of the book, it is her wisdom that Derk seeks as he and Anna grapple with questions of faith, and of love. And it is her memoir that provides the second aspect to this story, a story so heart-wrenching at times that I had to put the book down and give myself time to process what I was feeling.I’m not going to share any of the particulars here, but as Geesje encounters hardship, heartbreak, tragedy, and loss through the years, she repeatedly asks, “Why? If it was God’s will to come here, why are we still suffering? If God loves me, how could he allow this to happen to me?” And yet in the face of her anger, her doubts, and her questions, when faced with the most agonizing decision of her life, she goes against every inclination of her heart and obeys God; and discovers that God is faithful. Sometimes it takes many years for our eyes to be opened, but as Geesje says to Derk: “Isn’t that the definition of faith – moving forward through the darkness, clinging to God?”Geesje’s story is also a powerful exploration of love in the context of marriage, which parallels beautifully with the questions Anna and Derk ask themselves and each other as they reconsider their respective engagements and the balance between duty, love, and compromise.It is impossible to read this novel and not come away challenged, inspired, and deeply affected. A truly beautiful story.I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Iola
    January 1, 1970
    Dual Timeline, Dual ImpactIt's been a while since I've read a novel by Lynn Austin, and I'm ashamed to admit I'd forgotten what an outstanding author she is. As you can probably guess, I thought Waves of Mercy was excellent.It's a dual timeline story - I seem to have had a run of these lately, with The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck (excellent), A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas (good), and now Waves of Mercy (outstanding).The present (!) story is set in 1897 that of Miss Anna Nicholson Dual Timeline, Dual ImpactIt's been a while since I've read a novel by Lynn Austin, and I'm ashamed to admit I'd forgotten what an outstanding author she is. As you can probably guess, I thought Waves of Mercy was excellent.It's a dual timeline story - I seem to have had a run of these lately, with The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck (excellent), A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas (good), and now Waves of Mercy (outstanding).The present (!) story is set in 1897 that of Miss Anna Nicholson, who is staying at the Hotel Ottawa on the shores of Lake Michigan to recover from her broken engagement and consider her future. William, her fiance, says he can't marry a religious fanatic like those who attend Mr Moody's church. Yet Anna finds comfort in the church, feels that the words touch and fill an empty part of her soul. She wants to know more about this God they preach about--a God she never hears about in her own upper-class church.This is also the story of Geesje, one of the original immigrants to Holland, Michigan. She and her family left religious persecution in the Netherlands in the late 1840s to seek a new life in America, and that's the more historic part of the story--Geesje's memories of life in the Netherlands, the voyage to the New World, and establishing the settlement of Holland. But it's also her personal life story, and the story of her struggles with God, especially her relationship struggles.What joins the two women is Derk, an employee at the Hotel Ottawa, and Geesje's next-door neighbour. He becomes Anna's confidant, and seeks counsel himself from Geesje, a woman full of godly wisdom:Both stories are fascinating--Anna's, because the search for God is universal, and Geesje's because there is a lot to admire in the early settlers, and a lot we can learn from them. While there are touches of romance, this is more a love story, as both Anna and Geesje are God-seekers, admitedly from different perspectives and from different parts of their lives:We think Christians should do more than just agree with what the Bible says. We should obey it and do things like loving our enemies.Lynn Austin is from Michigan and attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and that knowledge of the setting and the people comes through in the writing. It's not obtrusive in any way, but reading the Author's Note at the end gave me the 'aha' moment that explained how she was able to make the setting come alive.Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
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  • Theresa
    January 1, 1970
    Anna Nicholson is recovering from a broken engagement. Her ex-fiance William has put his foot down. It simply is not acceptable for Anna to continue seeking out her religious questions and attend the unpretentious church in Chicago that has seemed like such a place of safety for her. Anna retreats to a hotel on Lake Ottawa in Michigan to give herself some breathing space. While there, she meets a young seminary student, Derk, who also has his own choices to make. Derk is also hoping to marry the Anna Nicholson is recovering from a broken engagement. Her ex-fiance William has put his foot down. It simply is not acceptable for Anna to continue seeking out her religious questions and attend the unpretentious church in Chicago that has seemed like such a place of safety for her. Anna retreats to a hotel on Lake Ottawa in Michigan to give herself some breathing space. While there, she meets a young seminary student, Derk, who also has his own choices to make. Derk is also hoping to marry the love of his life; however Caroline, his fiance, doesn’t want to be a minister’s wife. She feels it would make too many demands on their family life. Who is right? Should Derk choose an alternate career path? Should Caroline adjust her expectations of Derk?In order to find answers to these questions, Derk turns to Geesje, his neighbor, who practically raised him after he lost his own mother. Geesje came to America from the Netherlands with her parents as a young seventeen year old girl. Fleeing religious persecution, Geesje has faced her own dilemmas with life-choices. Now in her sixties, she is asked by the town of Holland, Michigan, to write her memories as one of the town's first immigrants. As Geesje begins to write her memoirs, she finds parallels in her own story with that of her young friend, Derk. “I stop writing and drop my pencil as if it’s on fire. I close the notebook and stuff it into my desk, remembering the mistakes I made, the tragic choices I faced, and the people I hurt in the process. The memories cause me immeasurable pain. Even now. Even after all these years.”'Waves of Mercy' was so well done. The dual story, unlike others I have read, was never confusing. I had no trouble keeping these characters, their stories or time frames, straight.When the possibility arises for her to become re-engaged, Anna, knowing that Derk has a close relationship with the Lord, goes to him with her questions. Should she still marry William, knowing that he expects her to obey his wishes and stop attending the church of her choice? How important is religious freedom and where does it fit into the parameters of marriage?“I learned that my father’s business is in financial trouble. He needs the family connections with William and his bank in order to survive the crisis. I love my father. I would do anything for him and Mother. They wouldn’t know how to survive if they lost all their money.”“Do they know that’s why you’re making this sacrifice and marrying William?”“No. But it’s hardly a sacrifice. William is a good man from a fine, churchgoing family. I’ll be a wealthy woman. I’m sure he’ll let me give generously to the poor. I can do a lot of good as his wife.” Lynn Austin is not afraid to explore the hard questions of life within the lives of her characters. Some questions are never fully or completely answered to the satisfaction of the characters in this historical fiction novel, but within the struggles there are opportunities for growth and maturity and life-lessons of perseverance within hardship. As we read through Geesje’s story we live through the Civil War with all of its anxieties for her sons and her friends’ sons when they go off to fight. "As the war dragged on and on into another dreadful year, casualties among our area men began to mount. Every day brought news of Union setbacks and victories, with more and more deaths and appalling injuries. Every day we gathered with other worried families on a downtown street corner not far from the print shop to listen to the news as it was read aloud, holding our breaths as we waited to see if one of our Holland boys was listed among the wounded or dead.”Along with Geesje and Maarten we hope their home and business survives the terrible fire that sweeps through the town, and admire their tenacity when they work to rebuild. We want to find out how Anna, who was adopted, became part of her family and why she has the memories that hold clues to her own story. We too ask all the "why?" questions when the characters suffer yet another setback, another disappointment, another terrible loss.“Where are your parents, Geesje?” Hendrik was looking all around the cabin as his eyes adjusted to the dim light.“They died several months ago. Of malaria." The story of the settlement of Holland in Michigan by the Dutch was an unknown to me, and their struggles to carve out a new life in a new, unfamiliar land with very few comforts (if any), were mind-boggling. Could we today have done the same?I found Geeseje’s writings fascinating. Although I predicted the tie-in that happens near the end, her story still held my interest enough that I wanted to keep reading. I admired her courage and determination to do the right thing, even though at first her heart was breaking.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I have long been a fan of Lynn Austin's historical fiction, and Waves of Mercy has zoomed to the top of my 'favorites' list of her stellar novels. Filled with plot twists to take your breath away, characters you love, deep insights into the history of the Dutch immigrants and soul-stirring spiritual dilemmas, Waves of Mercy was un-put-downable! I immediately grabbed Book #2 in the series, Legacy of Mercy, and devoured it, too. Kudos!
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  • Jasmine
    January 1, 1970
    "All the days of our lives are written in God's book before one of them will ever come to be".This book has the right amount of romance and suspense, with a huge dose of encouragement. I read this book at the right time. I needed the encouragement I got from this book. Amazing how God uses anything to give us the courage we need. I recommend this book.
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  • Rebekah Brown
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve read a few Lynn Austin novels lately, and so far I ’m on a winning streak because each one is better than the last! Waves of Mercy is a beautifully written story of lives intertwining and God’s involvement in the making of goodness and of course… His Mercy. In the beginning of the story I was a little confused with the two tales of Geesje and Anna ( I think this came from listening to the story on audiobook) but I did catch on and I enjoyed the stories of each woman. The depth in which Lynn I’ve read a few Lynn Austin novels lately, and so far I ’m on a winning streak because each one is better than the last! Waves of Mercy is a beautifully written story of lives intertwining and God’s involvement in the making of goodness and of course… His Mercy. In the beginning of the story I was a little confused with the two tales of Geesje and Anna ( I think this came from listening to the story on audiobook) but I did catch on and I enjoyed the stories of each woman. The depth in which Lynn Austin writes in Waves of Mercy makes her characters come alive. Geesje’s tale is one woven in sorrow and while reading I kept thinking “If something good doesn’t happen to this woman, I don’t know how much more I can take!” I cannot imagine how strong her faith would of had to have been to survive all of the trials and hardships in her life. This story will definitely cause you to sit back and wonder if your faith would survive such ordeals, but seeing Geesje thriving in the end helped me realize that there is always good and hardships are sometimes only temporary. God is constant whether we let him rein control in our lives or not.Anna’s story is quite different, but from the beginning I had a hunch that somehow her story had more to do with Geesje’s & Derk that we would all realize. However, Maarten is my absolute favorite character (he did get wrapped up in a bad decision at one point but…) we need more men of faith and character like him!Normally I like a touch more romance in my historical novels, but I didn’t care when reading Waves of Mercy because all other aspects of the story were richly developed and on point. One of the main reasons this novel was not a 5 star read for me was because I was not satisfied with the ending. I had so many unanswered questions that lingered. However, while finishing up this review, I learned that there is a follow up book in the series. YAY!! Now I almost want to change my review :) Only problem is, the book has not come out yet, so on to the next Austin novel while waiting!
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  • Amanda Geaney
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like a time traveler who’s returned to the present day after a memorable visit to the late 1800’s. Without leaving the comfort of my home, Waves of Mercy brought me across the Atlantic ocean with Geesje De Jonge and her family. They are fleeing the Netherlands with their entire community in search of religious freedom in America. Every aspect of their journey was arduous, and the land that greeted them was untamed. When all manner of affliction assailed their small Dutch colony in western I feel like a time traveler who’s returned to the present day after a memorable visit to the late 1800’s. Without leaving the comfort of my home, Waves of Mercy brought me across the Atlantic ocean with Geesje De Jonge and her family. They are fleeing the Netherlands with their entire community in search of religious freedom in America. Every aspect of their journey was arduous, and the land that greeted them was untamed. When all manner of affliction assailed their small Dutch colony in western Michigan, they held fast to God — trusting.1897 is the starting point for Anna Nicholson and Geesje’s stories. Readers gain insight into Anna’s life through her dreams as well as dialogue with other characters, like her mother and a hotel worker named Derk. On the other hand, Lynn Austin cleverly allows Geesje to write her life’s history (for us to read) at the request of her town’s Semi-Centennial Committee.Waves of Mercy tossed my emotions about like a ship in a storm. In an overtly Christian novel where the people question their circumstance in relation to God’s goodness, His will, and their willingness/unwillingness to obey; the characters were relatable, yet not always admirable. At times I felt the story was about to be capsized by sadness, but my lasting takeaway was how all the trials produced perseverance and maturity of faith. Awash in history, complex characters, and highly emotive writing, Austin’s latest is not to be missed!I received this book free of charge from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.Originally posted at ChristianShelfEsteem.wordpress.com
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    "Waves of Mercy" is Christian historical fiction. The primary story is set from 1845 to 1897 and follows the life of Geesje, a woman whose family migrated to America for religious freedom. Her family and others who came from Netherlands struggled to build a town out in the wilderness in Michigan.The historical details about events in Netherlands and during the building of the new town were very interesting and were woven into the story. These events were seen through the eyes of a young woman st "Waves of Mercy" is Christian historical fiction. The primary story is set from 1845 to 1897 and follows the life of Geesje, a woman whose family migrated to America for religious freedom. Her family and others who came from Netherlands struggled to build a town out in the wilderness in Michigan.The historical details about events in Netherlands and during the building of the new town were very interesting and were woven into the story. These events were seen through the eyes of a young woman struggling with why God would allow so much death and suffering in her life. It's a very good story with realistic characters of complexity and depth.The framing story was about Anna, a young woman in 1897 who felt like she had to choose between God or an excellent marriage with a man she thought she loved. While at a lakeside resort, she strove to learn more about God and in the process became friends with a seminary student. This young man was just learning of Geesje's past and her struggles with faith, and he believed her story might help Anna. Healing is found by all as the past touches on the present.The 1897 stories were told in first person, present tense. This was one of the few times that I didn't find this device distracting. (Authors usually end up wandering through various tenses rather than sticking to present tense, which I find distracting.) There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this novel.I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
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  • Alice Stanford
    January 1, 1970
    When I think of Christian fiction, this book is probably what comes to mind.A book that's filled with faith, but not preachy. A book where Jesus is at the centre, not just tagged on with a few "God bless you's" and prayers. A book where people struggle with real issues, and make real mistakes, not simply a book that is clean.As well as being, in my mind at least, what I consider perfect Christian fiction, this book has a plot which even the most skeptical of this genre would enjoy. It kept me gu When I think of Christian fiction, this book is probably what comes to mind.A book that's filled with faith, but not preachy. A book where Jesus is at the centre, not just tagged on with a few "God bless you's" and prayers. A book where people struggle with real issues, and make real mistakes, not simply a book that is clean.As well as being, in my mind at least, what I consider perfect Christian fiction, this book has a plot which even the most skeptical of this genre would enjoy. It kept me guessing, with the dual timeline, at times my jaw actually, physically dropped!I highly reccomend this story for lovers of both historical and Christian fiction.Many thanks to net galley for a review copy of this book.
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  • Joleen
    January 1, 1970
    Waves of Mercy by Lynn AustinLocation: Lake Ottawa in MichiganTimeframe: 1897Anna Nicholson: Main character plagued with a specific nightmareDerk Vander Veen: Seminary student, drawn to AnnaGeesje de Jonge: Older Dutch woman with a story to tellMaarten de Jonge: Geesje’s husbandTwo Voices in this story: Geesje (pronounced Gaysha), a Dutch woman who came to America with her parents when she was seventeen escaping religious persecution. She left behind a young soldier she was madly in love with wh Waves of Mercy by Lynn AustinLocation: Lake Ottawa in MichiganTimeframe: 1897Anna Nicholson: Main character plagued with a specific nightmareDerk Vander Veen: Seminary student, drawn to AnnaGeesje de Jonge: Older Dutch woman with a story to tellMaarten de Jonge: Geesje’s husbandTwo Voices in this story: Geesje (pronounced Gaysha), a Dutch woman who came to America with her parents when she was seventeen escaping religious persecution. She left behind a young soldier she was madly in love with who she promised to marry once he was able to make it to America.The second voice is that of Anna Nicholson, who grew up in a wealthy home in Chicago, troubled with the same nightmare where she and her mama are drowning during a shipwreck. She has no explanation as to why she has this same recurring dream. The story begins with her in Michigan on retreat at a Lake Ottawa hotel after her fiancé cancelled their engagement. William wanted a submissive wife who would obey him when he commanded her. He objected to Anna attending a specific church in Chicago, but because she felt an unexplainable pull toward it, they clashed.Derk Vander Veen is a young man who was working at the hotel and going to seminary. His parents were both gone now and he became quite close to Geesje, who lived next door. Little by little she shared with him the journal she’d been writing of her life before and after her arrival in Holland, Michigan. It’s an article a local paper asked her to write for the 50th anniversary of the town.Anna and Derk met at the hotel. They were both drawn to each other; he because she was the image of his good friend Kristine, and she because she wanted to know more of his faith. Geesje’s fascinating story is not one she has shared with many people, but it is one that is relevant to Derk and Anna without them knowing it. But her father’s financial troubles mean she needed to reconcile with the wealthy William, complicating their friendship.This is not what I’d call a romantic story. Oh, there’s romance, but it is a harder, real life, not pie-in-the-sky type of story. There aren’t handsome gentlemen stealing the hearts of fair maidens in this book. It is realistic with lighthearted parts and heartbreaking issues. But that’s what I love about Ms. Austin’s books. You will have a sweeping historical background to a fascinating human interest story.My only problem was when I thought I figured it out, and that it was going in a certain direction, Ms. Austin went a different way and it was disappointing. Still, all in all, a very good book. 4.5 stars.Side note: This was the audio version of the book. There were two narrators, one for Anna and one for Geesje; I'm not sure which was which. Anna's narrator was great, but, sadly the narrator for Geesje was hard to listen to... melodramatic and just didn't sound like she was acting the part well. But it made no impact on the riches in this book, nor does it affect my rating at all. Still an entertaining and good book.
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    Waves of Mercy was another great read by Lynn Austin. I will admit it didn't grab me from page one, but it eventually grabbed me so that I could not put it down!I love all the characters in this novel, even the secondary ones. Anna was my favorite though. The plot is incredibly well done, the characters seem real, and there is a beautiful faith thread. What I liked most was that it wasn't predictable...tragedies, difficulties, and disappointments fill a life story, but there is a purpose for eac Waves of Mercy was another great read by Lynn Austin. I will admit it didn't grab me from page one, but it eventually grabbed me so that I could not put it down!I love all the characters in this novel, even the secondary ones. Anna was my favorite though. The plot is incredibly well done, the characters seem real, and there is a beautiful faith thread. What I liked most was that it wasn't predictable...tragedies, difficulties, and disappointments fill a life story, but there is a purpose for each one. This book as Austin so frequently does, is so much like life. It's not a fairy tale, but it's definitely a tale worth reading. I highly recommend this novel, and as always, I eagerly await the next read from this author who has become a must buy for me!
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  • Monique
    January 1, 1970
    Some books just linger in your head, in a good way... you keep thinking about them. This book is one of those. It has so much wisdom in it, very subtle it shows how you can follow Christ in every day life and how to deal with big questions. I loved every bit, except... well, the ending is unresolved. I get why, but I needed an epilogue here. Desperately. It ends in the middle, hence my four stars.
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  • Lisa Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Title: Waves of MercyAuthor: Lynn AustinPages: 379Year: 2016Publisher: Bethany HouseMy rating is 5 stars.The story mostly takes place in Holland, Michigan in 1897. The audience will read about Anna Nicholson in 1897 as well as with flashbacks to the past the life of one of the city’s founders. It is the city’s 50-year anniversary and the town council has asked all the “old-timers”, the people who originally settled in the area, to write about their memories of that time. Geesje de Jonge is one o Title: Waves of MercyAuthor: Lynn AustinPages: 379Year: 2016Publisher: Bethany HouseMy rating is 5 stars.The story mostly takes place in Holland, Michigan in 1897. The audience will read about Anna Nicholson in 1897 as well as with flashbacks to the past the life of one of the city’s founders. It is the city’s 50-year anniversary and the town council has asked all the “old-timers”, the people who originally settled in the area, to write about their memories of that time. Geesje de Jonge is one of the old-timers. She is at first reluctant to write her story as there are so many tragedies in her life, but receives encouragement and decides to write her story.Her story begins in the Netherlands in 1845. She tells of her life in the Netherlands and how she fell in love with a soldier billeted in her home during a fight between Separatists and the government church. Due to religious persecution, her parents decide to move to America when she is seventeen. Geesje is heartbroken to leave her soldier behind, but he has eighteen more months to serve in the military before he is discharged. They make plans for him to join her in America. Geesje and her parents and her friend Maarten leave for America. They face tragedy after tragedy on their journey and trying to survive in this new country. Geesje has had to make difficult decisions throughout her life and writing her memoir is painful, but cathartic for her.Anna Nicholson is a young socialite from Chicago who has just had her engagement broken by her fiancé due to religious differences. She has come to Holland for time away and to regain her footing. She has many questions about her past as she is adopted and many questions about God. She meets a young man, Derk, who is in seminary school, studying to be a minister. They strike up a friendship and talk about God, marriage and faith. Derk suggests she talk with his Aunt Geesje as she has always been a strong woman of faith and maybe could answer her questions better. They meet and both of their lives will be forever changed.This is one of those books that touched my heart in a way I’ll not soon forget. The grief and sorrow and hardships Geesje endured in her life were astounding. Even though she got angry with God, she made the conscious choice to cling to him more as each tragedy entered her life. Her husband Maarten was a man after God’s own heart. Standing outside of their burned down business and home, after losing everything but the clothes on their backs, he praised God. I am a fan of Lynn Austin’s God-given ability to write such touching stories that show our human frailty, but always point out God’s sovereignty and love for us. No matter what trials we face, believers never face them alone. God is always with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. Nothing can separate us from His love.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.”
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  • Christian Fiction Addiction
    January 1, 1970
    Weaving multiple storylines together into a riveting whole is a skill Lynn Austin has shown time and time again, and "Waves of Mercy" is no exception. More than with any other novel by Austin that I have ever read, she has succeeded at taking two people's lives and joining them together in totally unexpected ways. I'm not sure which character I loved more, whether the Anna of 1897 in Michigan, or Geesje both from 50 years prior as well as in 1897. Each of them have such tragic moments in their p Weaving multiple storylines together into a riveting whole is a skill Lynn Austin has shown time and time again, and "Waves of Mercy" is no exception. More than with any other novel by Austin that I have ever read, she has succeeded at taking two people's lives and joining them together in totally unexpected ways. I'm not sure which character I loved more, whether the Anna of 1897 in Michigan, or Geesje both from 50 years prior as well as in 1897. Each of them have such tragic moments in their pasts that I couldn't help but feel a deep fondness for each. For the first half of the book, I simply found myself captivated by the story and unable to stop reading. But I have to say that there was a point half way through the book where a twist in Geesje's life actually made me throw the book down! Geesje makes a heart-breaking choice with conequences she could never have anticipated, and at first I was actually angry at this twist in the story (revealing, of course, the incredible gift Austin has to make you truly care about her characters!) But as I kept devouring the chapters that followed, I came to realize that Austin had demonstrated an incredible truth, that God can take the most difficult of circumstances and bring a profound and lasting good. I closed the pages of this novel so very encouraged by the character's faith, forged through tragedy and a loss that would be so very hard to walk through. It would be impossible to read the story of Geesje in particular and not be inspired by her courage!Austin has crafted a novel that will not only engage your emotions, but will stir your faith at the same time. Her writing is absolutely beautiful, and the blend in times from the mid 1800's to the end of the 19th century made for fascinating reading. "Waves of Mercy" is historical fiction at its best! 5 out of 5 stars.Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
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  • Stella Potts
    January 1, 1970
    I almost never find a book that makes me emotional enough to cry but this one did. I loved the characters and some of the situations are so heart rending. The story starts out in 1897 with Anna and then with Geesje. Geesje being one of the original settlers in Holland, Michigan the Centennial Committee asks her to write her memoirs of how she left The Netherlands 52 years earlier to immigrate to America. It is a story of love, heartache and loss. Woven into present day 1897 is Anna's story, a wo I almost never find a book that makes me emotional enough to cry but this one did. I loved the characters and some of the situations are so heart rending. The story starts out in 1897 with Anna and then with Geesje. Geesje being one of the original settlers in Holland, Michigan the Centennial Committee asks her to write her memoirs of how she left The Netherlands 52 years earlier to immigrate to America. It is a story of love, heartache and loss. Woven into present day 1897 is Anna's story, a woman who is searching for God and feels that she will have to give up her very rich fiance' in order to find the peace she is searching for. How these two stories intertwine make for a wonderful read that you will not want to put down until the very end. I love the way God answers Geesje's prayer after praying for 20 years for something and the spiritual truths that you get from reading this book. Words fail me to be able to express how much I loved Waves of Mercy. This book was given to me by the Author and/or Publisher for my honest review. All views expressed are my own.
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  • Jennifer Rodewald
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a fan of Ms. Austins works, and this one was well done. Not my favorite of her books, but still a good, thoughtful read.
  • Linda Klager
    January 1, 1970
    This is an excellent book. And, later this year, there will be another book in this series. I am excited to hear more about Anna. I like how Lynn Austin does great research and includes real events within the novels she writes. I also like the fact that Lynn also went to a university that was part of the story in this novel. How cool!
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  • Cathy Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    I have to say, a lot of sadness in this book. sad in the middle especially. The ending SUCKED! You don't missionary date and you don't marry someone hoping they will convert or become more devout. It's seems Geesje made horrible decisions and then decided to ruin another girl's life by giving awful advice. :( I think 3 stars is generous
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  • Maggie Boyd
    January 1, 1970
    Buy This BookA Woman’s Place was the first book by Lynn Austin I ever read and I was thoroughly impressed. Set during WWII and dealing with the whole idea of a woman’s proper place in the world, the book becameto me the essence of what a great Inspirational novel should be. In fact, I loved it so much it made my Top Ten Romances list. And I used it in a blog about working class heroes and heroines. I also gave high grades to her Wonderland Creek and While We’re Far Apart. So it is with an extrem Buy This BookA Woman’s Place was the first book by Lynn Austin I ever read and I was thoroughly impressed. Set during WWII and dealing with the whole idea of a woman’s proper place in the world, the book becameto me the essence of what a great Inspirational novel should be. In fact, I loved it so much it made my Top Ten Romances list. And I used it in a blog about working class heroes and heroines. I also gave high grades to her Wonderland Creek and While We’re Far Apart. So it is with an extremely heavy heart that I admit that Waves of Mercy will not be coming anywhere near my favorites list.The trip had been meant as a time of peace and reflection but for Anna Nicholson it quickly becomes the greatest terror of her young life. Caught in a storm on Lake Michigan she flashes back to her dreams as a little girl, nightmares of her and her mother dying as a ship sinks and they are overwhelmed by towering waves of water. When their battered vessel finally comes ashore and they check in at the Hotel Ottawa Resort, Anna feels numb. The last few weeks, which involved a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker as well as her peril at sea, have been too much for her. More, as a result of visits to D. L. Moody’s evangelistic rallies and services at his Chicago Avenue church, Anna is worried about her immortal soul. She is not sure exactly what would have been waiting for her in eternity if the ship had indeed sunk. As she slowly begins her spiritual and emotional introspection and recuperation, she finds herself plagued by vague images from her childhood. As a result of them, she knows words in Dutch, a language which none of her family speaks and to which she has no memory of being exposed. As Anna probes into the murky waters of her toddler years as well as her spiritual confusion, she makes an unlikely ally in young seminary student Derk Vander Veen. Reeling from a broken engagement just as Anna is, Derk is able to offer some spiritual guidance as well as work as a sounding board regarding whether she should seek reconciliation with her autocratic fiancé. The two develop a tentative friendship which is very nearly blasted apart by the maniacal response Anna’s mother exhibits on discovering it. Determined not to leave Anna floundering in her search for faith, Derk decides to introduce Anna to his Tante Geesje. (See the rest of my review at http://allaboutromance.com/book-revie...)
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    To be honest, though I enjoyed the story (or stories--both Geesje's and Anna's and how they so beautifully tied together), it's far from my favorite of the author's works. It's much more real-life-ish than romance-novel-ish. Yet even so, I can't deny that it has some powerful things to say; things that I needed to hear and do.Geesje's work recounting her life--her struggles--is a way she could look back and see how her faith has grown, even through the incredible trials in her life. And even tho To be honest, though I enjoyed the story (or stories--both Geesje's and Anna's and how they so beautifully tied together), it's far from my favorite of the author's works. It's much more real-life-ish than romance-novel-ish. Yet even so, I can't deny that it has some powerful things to say; things that I needed to hear and do.Geesje's work recounting her life--her struggles--is a way she could look back and see how her faith has grown, even through the incredible trials in her life. And even though I fully intend to live another 60-70 years, I felt compelled to do the same (which interrupted my reading, but better to strike while the iron's hot than chicken out later), simply putting my testimony into words on paper. It reminded me of the book of Deuteronomy, when the Israelites recount their journey of the exodus to the Promised Land and all the milestones--both good and bad--along the way. Then they place stones of remembrance in the Jordan before setting off into the new land. This story is Geesje's stone of remembrance.There is so much one can take home from this novel, about faith, about true love, about the choices we make. Though Geesje's story shows the maturation of her faith, I love her interpretation of it: "It has more to do with God's faithfulness to me than the other way around." Isn't that how it is? God is truly the faithful one in the relationship, not us.One small thing--I'm not a big fan of present tense stories. Anna and old Geesje (in 1897) have their point of view in the present tense, while Geesje's history is told in the past tense, making it easy to differentiate what year one is reading about. It works, but I still don't love the present tense.I won this book from Bethany House through Goodreads; I was not required to make my review positive, and all opinions are my own.
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  • Karla
    January 1, 1970
    I am not typically a fan of books set in this time period, however, having not read Lynn Austin's books before, I decided to give this novel a try. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Having heard good things only about her writing convinced me to read and review this book. This historical novel has depth and a great deal of information about the time period, as it follows Geesje's love story. The characters are extremely well described and totally believable in their place in society. I am not typically a fan of books set in this time period, however, having not read Lynn Austin's books before, I decided to give this novel a try. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Having heard good things only about her writing convinced me to read and review this book. This historical novel has depth and a great deal of information about the time period, as it follows Geesje's love story. The characters are extremely well described and totally believable in their place in society. You could feel the struggles and heartaches as these immigrants make impossible decisions that they had to live with. The use of flashbacks to decades much earlier was a unique approach and was well used. As you read, you become eager to learn the entire story of Geesje, as the reader meets her as an older woman. Hearing the past events of this individual adds such depth to the plot. There was a very real struggle in choosing to love God and remain faithful in difficult times. The plot was detailed and moved steadily throughout. The very real challenges of immigrants and their rough encounters during the immigration process , as well as starting life anew , was felt deeply as the story progressed.The underlying feeling of hope and maintaining faith in God in the darkest moments, is the message that shines through the life of a woman who met with so many troubles. She trusted Him in the roughest storms of life. Geesje kept trusting in whatever life threw at her. What a great example she is to us all! I highly recommend this book to all lovers of historical fiction. It is a love story but one with great depth and meaning!This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and is now available at your local booksellers. The opinions expressed are honest and my own.
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  • Nancee
    January 1, 1970
    Waves of Mercy is reminiscent of a very significant family history regarding my own ancestors. Every aspect of this book is filled with memories of my own family who immigrated to West Michigan from The Netherlands. Lynn Austin has done a spectacular job of recreating the plight of those immigrants and their very difficult encounters both during the immigration process, and starting anew in an underdeveloped locale. I had a little trouble keeping timelines and characters straight at the beginnin Waves of Mercy is reminiscent of a very significant family history regarding my own ancestors. Every aspect of this book is filled with memories of my own family who immigrated to West Michigan from The Netherlands. Lynn Austin has done a spectacular job of recreating the plight of those immigrants and their very difficult encounters both during the immigration process, and starting anew in an underdeveloped locale. I had a little trouble keeping timelines and characters straight at the beginning of the book, but with the development of those characters I began to feel a part of their story. Names mentioned throughout the book are still familiar to this locale.The setting for this novel is very familiar, and it was an early journey through my own lifelong home in Michigan. Description was a highlight, as well as the development of each of the characters. The research for this book is very well done. The locations described are accurate and particularly sentimental.I highly recommend this latest release from Lynn Austin. Her previous novels are some of my favorites, and this one was no disappointment. Disclaimer: I purchased a copy of this book, and was pleasantly surprised when I received a gift copy from the publisher. My expressed opinions are my own, and I was not expected to post a positive review.
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  • Kav
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating novel steeped in history. Austin has created a rich, cultural backdrop to showcase two captivating storylines with two intriguing heroines. Anna is at a crossroads when she arrives in Holland, Michigan. She's searching for answers to questions she doesn't even know how to ask as she looks ahead to an uncertain future. Geesje reflects upon her past -- fifty years of faith and love and a lifetime of struggles -- after she is asked to write her memoir. Two seemingly diverse life stor A fascinating novel steeped in history. Austin has created a rich, cultural backdrop to showcase two captivating storylines with two intriguing heroines. Anna is at a crossroads when she arrives in Holland, Michigan. She's searching for answers to questions she doesn't even know how to ask as she looks ahead to an uncertain future. Geesje reflects upon her past -- fifty years of faith and love and a lifetime of struggles -- after she is asked to write her memoir. Two seemingly diverse life stories converge in the most amazing way. And the bridge that links them together is seminary student, Derk who sees God's hand in it all. I think what struck me the most about Waves of Mercy is the startling contrast between the heartbreak and joys of a seasoned believer and the wonder and confusion of new faith. However, I have to admit to being really disappointed with the ending. There's just too much left hanging and no indication that there will be answers in future novels since this doesn't look like it's part of a series. So that's really frustrating. :-(Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
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  • Beth Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Full review on Faithfully Bookish http://wp.me/p7ngfE-qWWaves of Mercy is so full to the brim with rich storytelling that it actually feels like reading two novels at once. Anna is drawn to a deeper relationship with God but that would be a major social faux pas in the eyes of her family and peers. Her fiancé even breaks their engagement yet Anna isn't sure whether that's a bad thing or not.At her son's prompting, Geesje is revisiting past memories and recording them for the town's celebration. Full review on Faithfully Bookish http://wp.me/p7ngfE-qWWaves of Mercy is so full to the brim with rich storytelling that it actually feels like reading two novels at once. Anna is drawn to a deeper relationship with God but that would be a major social faux pas in the eyes of her family and peers. Her fiancé even breaks their engagement yet Anna isn't sure whether that's a bad thing or not.At her son's prompting, Geesje is revisiting past memories and recording them for the town's celebration. Geesje's memories are full of conflict and sorrow but also held together by faith and love.Derk is nursing wounds of his own after his fianceé gave him an ultimatum to essentially choose between her and his calling to become a minister. Derk looks up to Geesje as a surrogate grandmother of sorts and they confide in and encourage one another. While working at a nearby resort hotel, he is intrigued by and drawn to Anna and her strikingly familiar appearance. I requested the opportunity to read and review this title through Bethany House Bloggers. The opinions expressed are my own.
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