It's not often I like to bring a negative review here, unless it's a classic, but sometimes books just don't connect, and sadly, today's was one of them.
This cover is one of the most beautiful ones I've ever seen. I love to look at it and think it makes a beautiful complement to the life of this storm-tossed, grace-saved man. I truly wish I had loved the rest of the book as much. In this tale of John Newton's love for Polly Catlett, perhaps my biggest struggle was a lack of connection to the characters and conflict. Since we already knew Newton married Polly, I felt it would have been more interesting to choose a conflict other than a love triangle. The hunt for slaves and struggles with smuggling gave me a good taste of the historical times, while the hunt for kittens, building bookcases, and parties that John experienced as he lingered with Polly felt like they lessened the depth of the story for me. I think I would have loved to see them spending more time with music and composing instead. I also would have loved to see a stronger relationship between Polly and God early on in the story. A vigorous prayer life, not overshadowed by guilt and doubts, would have made a welcome addition to her life story.
Also, while John struggled with treating women honorably in real life, his love for Polly was showed most by his physical desire for her, and she echoed back the same perspective in her scenes. I understand that completely--there is physical desire present in love, especially as young as they were at the time that they met. But it felt like a very intense and heavy focus throughout their meetings. In the end, I just wasn't connecting and wasn't able to finish.
But I'm not the last opinion on this book! If you love Jody Hedlund's stories, you might connect with Newton and Polly much better than I did this time around. Feel free to check out more about her with the following links:
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.