Waves of Mercy

Waves of Mercy

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...

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Title:Waves of Mercy
Author:Lynn Austin
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Edition Language:English

Waves of Mercy Reviews

  • Jill

    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.

  • Staci

    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.

  • Joyce

    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.

  • Dawn

    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 fiction

    Rating - 5 stars

  • Theresa

    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.

    '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?

    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.

    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.

    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.

  • Elizabeth

    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!

  • Jamie

    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

  • Iola

    Dual Timeline, Dual Impact

    It'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 Impact

    It'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.

  • Paula Vince

    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,

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