Title: Waves of Mercy
Author: Lynn Austin
Series: prequel to Legacy of Mercy
Major Themes: Faith, Historical Fiction, Michigan, Mystery
Synopsis: An immigrant from Holland, Geesje must learn to trust the Lord. Recently estranged from her fiancé and dealing with fears from her past, Anna must learn to trust that the Lord knows best.
What a surprising read! After reading Legacy of Mercy, I knew I had to go back and catch up on what I’d missed before—many things were mentioned and partially explained (enough to satisfy the curiosity of the moment), but I wanted a more rounded-out view of the characters. I hadn’t expected to be sucked into Waves of Mercy quite as much as I was, mostly because I already knew the “end of the story”, so to speak. But this book drew me in with its depth and lovely setting, and although it’s taken a while with lots of short snippets of reading time taken throughout my days, I have to say that these two books have easily made it onto my top reads of the year. I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes as we go—there were so many!
“I didn’t realize, back then, that faith that is never tested isn’t true faith at all.” (Geesje)
I find I love some older women in stories. They have such depth of wisdom that they really add an amazing element to the story, so while this was an integral part to the book, it really made the story for me. As Geesje shared her story, I was blessed by her perspective—though she didn’t understand why she had to experience the depth of pain she did, she always finally turned back to the Lord with the knowledge that “You know this situation. You have a purpose in it all. And You can teach me what You want me to learn from it.”
There were two major storylines in this book. First was Anna’s story, when she was trying to figure out what God wanted her to do after her wealthy fiancé cut off their engagement. Added to that was unexplainable nightmares that felt strangely real, and questions about her past before she was adopted. Does God really have a purpose and plan for our lives—and if so, how are we to discover it? And how can we live out the commands we find in scripture?
“…one day I realized that regret from the past was keeping me from living well in the present. And it was robbing me of a future.” (Geesje)
Geesje’s growing-up years were difficult. In Holland, as part of a tiny band of dissidents, life wasn’t easy for them. Though they did not agree with the official church, they did what they could to keep the peace—but often it was not enough, and as more and more pressure was put on the group, they decided to find freedom elsewhere. Moving to America seemed like a good option, but once they got there, life was very difficult. Sickness took its toll, but for young Geesje it was even harder—the man she had fallen deeply in love with was not with them, and though he expected to come as soon as possible, the wait seemed interminable. Then, her parents both died from sickness, and she was left an orphan in charge of two other orphans. When news reaches her that the ship her love was sailing on had burned and sunk, can she ever find hope again?
“…Dominie prayed for them, saying, ‘May all this shaking bring us nearer to God, may it make us strangers and pilgrims; may it make us holier.’” (Chapter 28)
“Yet I also knew that those times of great ‘shaking,’ as Dominie phrased it, had also brought me closer to God. In wrestling with Him, I had learned to hear His voice more clearly and experience His love in a greater way. My faith had grown through each trial, and it would weather this time of testing, too.” (Geesje)
Probably one of the biggest things I loved about this book was how many life lessons one can learn, even from fictitious characters. If compared with the other books I’ve read this year, I’m sure this one ranks the highest with the most quotes. I appreciated how none of the characters were made out to be too perfect; they each had their failings and bad decisions, but that aided in reinforcing the lessons.
“Often, it’s not one great, dramatic thing that God asks us to do but hundreds of little everyday things. If we want to be used by Him, if we’re ready to be used and aren’t all tangled up with our own plans and projects, then He’ll show us the work He has for us. He sees your heart […] you can trust Him to direct your path.” (Geesje)
I’m not sure if I could really sum this book up. I’d just encourage you to read it. If you want a good solid Christian novel, with inspiring themes, a bit of history, and an engaging storyline, this would probably be a great fit. Lynn Austin has written another masterpiece (in my not-so-humble opinion!), and I really enjoyed being able to read it!
WARNING: Chapter 7 has hugging and kissing between two unmarried people. Chapter 14 tells of an Indian who was mauled by a bear and came to get help to heal. Chapter 19 tells of a terrible shipwreck with lots of deaths as an eyewitness account, and contains two unmarried people hugging. Chapter 30 has someone swear once. The end of the chapter has unmarried people kissing. Chapter 32 describes a bad town fire when a lot of the town burned down. Chapter 33 has someone witnessing a bad structure fire from across a small lake. Another kiss near the end of this chapter. Chapter 34 describes a shipwreck, when quite a few people died. Chapter 35 has a woman recalling a terrible shipwreck where she almost drowned (and saw others who did drown). Chapter 39 has unmarried people hugging.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults