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Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,274 ratings  ·  322 reviews
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found
Now remembered as the author of the world s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Waterbrook Press
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Popular Answered Questions
Jody Hedlund Yes, this is a clean romance. No bedroom scenes. Just a couple of kisses.
Jody Hedlund Hi Paula,
Yes, this is a true story based on the life of John Newton the slave trader who wrote Amazing Grace. It's a love story about how he met his w…more
Hi Paula,
Yes, this is a true story based on the life of John Newton the slave trader who wrote Amazing Grace. It's a love story about how he met his wife and what an impact Polly made on him.(less)

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 ·  1,274 ratings  ·  322 reviews

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Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jody Hedlund introduces readers to the story of John Newton and Polly Catlett, two young people who immediately fall in love but face many challenges along the way. While Polly and her family are devoted to the Christian faith, Newton has never found much patience or time for any religious beliefs whatsoever. After all, how could a selfish young man who gives his life to the economy of the slave trade be a man of faith that would eventually write one of the most popular hymns? This is the exact ...more
Every time I hold a new Jody Hedlund novel in my hands, my reader heart is just alive with anticipation, and I admit, a bit of trepidation – how, oh how could this new story possibly be as good as the one before? And every time even my tiniest worry is unfounded. Newton and Polly is an utterly absorbing story that captivated me with superb historical setting and details, as well as a love that came to life. The plot flows effortlessly, the characters endear themselves so quickly, and the emotion ...more
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
My heart is so full right now. So full, in fact, some of it is spilling out of my eyes in the form of tears even as I sit here and try to figure out how I can possibly write a review worthy of the beauty of Newton & Polly. The truth is, I simply won’t be able to do it justice.

Captivating. Emotional. Beautiful. Poignant. Redemptive. Romantic.

Hedlund has a gift for bringing history to life on the pages of a novel, and in my opinion Newton & Polly is the best example yet. This is a story to savor,
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
What a beautiful story of true love, patience and character change.

In typical fashion, I didn't read the book summary and had no knowledge of John Newton's story prior to beginning the novel. I was rather shocked by John's behavior at points in the novel. Fortunately, beneath all that rough and tumble and poor decision making was a man in love with one woman and willing to do anything to win her favor. Even more importantly is that John ultimately gave himself over to God (surely this is no spoi
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
History came to life for me in this deeply moving novel based on the story of John Newton and his true love, Polly Catlett! It was hard to watch as John made so many decisions that caused emotional pain to himself, to Polly, and even to his father. However, at the end of the book, it was clear to see how God was working through this man’s life to turn him into someone who would honor both God and Polly.

Newton and Polly’s romance was magnetic and captivating! I could definitely understand why Joh
Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
Previous to reading this book I was only vaguely familiar with the story of John Newton, gleaned from the movie Amazing Grace in which he is a minor character. It made me more fully appreciate the powerful simplicity of the hymn, so I was thrilled when I learned that one of my favorite authors was writing a book about the love of his life and her role in his transformation.

I thoroughly enjoyed their early romance, but had an underlying feeling of trepidation, knowing that John would be somehow r
Jocelyn Green
A sweeping tale rife with adventure, love, and God’s relentless pursuit of his own. With her signature depth and detail, Hedlund plunges her readers into a fascinating and powerful story that has gone untold—until now. Set sail with Newton and Polly and become anchored in amazing grace.
Robin Hatcher
I really enjoyed learning more about John Newton through this novel. Jody Hedlund does a wonderful job of turning history into a romantic novel. However, given that the hero and heroine spend much of the novel apart, I would consider it more of an historical novel than a traditional romance. That doesn't lessen the rating one bit. I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

Be sure to read the author's note at the end of the book to learn what was fact and what was fiction and more.
Amanda Geaney
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on

As a book lover with a "to-read" pile that will likely outlast my time on earth, I seldom re-read books due to an overwhelming desire to conquer my tbr. However, Jody Hedlund has given Newton & Polly that little something extra that earns it a spot on my permanent bookshelf. Captivating and memorable; it has enough details to satiate history buffs, a sweet romance, and an outstanding story of God's pursuit of one sinner which would be unbel
Carrie Turansky
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved listening to Newton and Polly! The narrator did an excellent job with the voices, and I was totally captivated by the story. Jody Hedlund obviously did excellent research that added depth and John and Polly Newton's story. Knowing they were real people made it even more fascinating. I highly recommend it to all those who enjoy well-written historical fiction.
Beth Erin
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Full review on Faithfully Bookish

Wow, y'all! Just… WOW! I love this book! Powerful history and masterful storytelling going on here! Jody Hedlund is one of my all-time favorite authors and she absolutely ROCKS historical fiction!

Young John Newton is impulsive, immature, and often frustrated with his father. Polly Catlett is a beautiful, talented, and devout young lady and John is instantly twitter patted. While Polly enjoys the easy comradery that she shares with John, she
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!! This story about John Newton - the author of the world's most famous hymn, Amazing Grace - and the woman he loved, was very well written and captured my attention from the moment I first started reading it.

John Newton was not a boy/man that most fathers would want their daughter to fall in love with and marry. But he had a very charming personality that could woo just about anyone. When he meets Polly, he falls instantly in love with this beautiful, devout girl. But John has
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
John Newton has an amazing story. I am so glad I read this book. Jody Hedlund did a wonderful job portraying Newton's life. The romance is so sweet. I was cheering when John kissed Polly in front of her family. There is a good bit of violence. The history is fascinating and sad but it has a great ending. I loved it.
Engaging and compelling, this was a challenging tale of God's grace. Non-believers might find this book a little preachy. I, on the other hand, felt encouraged by it. For any of my safety gang friends who might be interested in this book, it's important to note that this was not a safe story. (view spoiler) ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beautiful cover, intricate characters, challenging topic & era combine to create a story, which at times, may seem frustrating and certainly will be difficult to read in parts. Jody Hedlund has taken the true story of John Newton, author of one of the most well known songs ever written 'Amazing Grace' and his powerful love for Polly Catlett. They meet as young teens (though Jody has 'aged' them a little in her story in order for it to be more believable to modern day readers), and their passion ...more
Kerry Johnson
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So I finished Newton and Polly almost three weeks ago, and didn't have a chance to write a review until now. But let me tell you, the story--their story--is still swirling around my mind and heart.

John Newton and Polly Catlett's tumultuous, enduring love story makes for the perfect tale of amazing grace, and author Jody Hedlund paints their lives in vivid and such personal detail I felt like I was stepping along the cobble roads of Chatham with Polly and breathing in the sea air on the deck of
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those novels that is such a gem and so well crafted that no words seem fit to describe the work itself or the emotions it evokes. Jody Hedlund has brought to life the story of a lost, vile and decrepit man who through God's grace, mercy, and power was used to write an ageless hymn. I knew that part of the story; yet I was still mesmerized by how real it was and the fervor and passion that surged from the pages. . What I didn't know was the story of his love for a woman that never ...more

I've heard a lot about John Newton's life growing up. In fact, the hymn Amazing Grace is one that is probably on my list of favorites. But I didn't know much about his early life.

This book pulled me in from the beginning. At the time that I received this book, I was in a bit of a reading slump, and nothing was holding my interest. Then this book arrived in my mailbox. It's been on my list for a long time as the author is one of my favorites. So I started reading it. Over the course of a weekend
Kristine Morgan
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Amazing Grace has always been one of my favorite songs and it is great to finally know the back story to the man who wrote the song. John Newton was clearly not a saint but his life story reveals how G-d can redeem all of us, we only need to ask. G-d will allow you to hit rock bottom if need be to get your attention. I love how Ms. Hedlund brings historical characters to life. She does an amazing job of taking the bare bones of history and clothing said bones with rich details of what might hav ...more
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A story of God’s amazing grace to one John Newton, whose life was so mired in the depths of sin that he felt he could never be redeemed or ever called worthy of God’s love. A story strife with one man’s journey so far away from God, that in human terms, could never be fit for a God-fearing society. One who, not only dipped his toes in sin, but plunged to the very depth of things unspoken on the lips of a righteous man. It only makes this story even more awesome when on one fateful night in John’ ...more
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Based on the true life story of John Newton and Polly Catlett, this novel of "Amazing Grace" is filled with harsh struggles, stormy seas and intense love. Written with depth, integrity and authenticity the author has brought to life and light, the characters in this powerful book. I'm still absorbing the details of this incredible novel!

I loved Polly and her family, a warm and loving group of characters. John had me loving him and despising him all in the same breath. His estrangement from his f
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jody Hedlund has done it again. This book, while not my all time favorite of hers, is still a fantastic read. I loved going behind the scenes in Polly and Newton's life. The setting is great and of course the real life story, which very historically accurate, is a wonderful addition to my library. While this book spans about seven years, Hedlund did a nice job keeping the reader up to date and not confused. Hedlund is one of my favorite authors and she hasn't written anything I haven't loved.

Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How did I miss this book when it released last year?! Waterbrook needs to do a better job of book promotion. I love Jody Hedlund's stories, and she knocked this one out of the park. Seriously. The way she introduces John Newton and then develops his character so that the reader is sucked into his story is nothing short of brilliant. Everyone will love Polly, she's an incredible young woman, but it's Newton who steals the spotlight as we watch him become the man God wanted him to be. It's a rolle ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book took me through all the emotions and frustrations that the real life characters must have had toward John Newton. I was quite frankly exasperated with him. That being said, the discovery of God's grace was even more poignant.
I also really enjoyed the new depth that Jody Hedlund accomplished with this publisher. The books I've read released by them have all had an epic richness about them that makes me feel like I've been on a scenic journey.
*Recommended for mature readers.*
Sherri Ferguson
Wonderful love story based the life of John Newton. You won’t be disappointed with this one!
Andria Potter
DNF @ 30%. Christian fiction is apparently not my thing anymore. Good writing, but I found myself rolling my eyes rather a lot. I was hoping it was more historical than that of religious. Ah well. Onto the next book!
Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund
Time Frame: 1740s
Location: Chatham, England, a shipping port
Main Characters:
Polly Cattlet, the love of John Newton’s life
John Newton, son of a captain, entranced by Polly at a port stop
Suzanna, Polly’s aunt who loved and supported Polly

After the last book I read by Ms. Hedlund I nearly put her books on the shelf forever. I'm told that sometimes publishers may require certain story changes to add a different bent, distasteful to many Christians, and possibly not ap
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Newton And Polly by Jody Hedlund is a historical Christian romance. In the novel fact meets fiction as Jody Hedlund weaves her story. There are all elements within the novel to make for a compulsive read - a love story, high seas adventures and moral dilemmas. The reader is educated as well. I knew little about John Newton as I began to read but knew so much more at the end.
At the heart of the novel is God. Characters without God have no peace and they mistakenly believe they don't need Him. "I'
[2.5 out of 5 stars]

I expected to like this book more than Jody Hedlund's YA novels because it's about real, historical people... Unfortunately I didn't realize that the story of John Newton would be so romanticized as to be scarcely recognizable.

What's with the ridiculous characters?! John Newton is a creep: he reminded of Jack MaCarron (don't ask...but that's one of the worst literary insults I could give). And Polly? I honestly thought I would like her, but, come on, she is so incredibly naiv
Vera Godley
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Many in Christian circles consider "Amazing Grace" to be one of the most moving hymns ever written. Also, many know some of the story behind the life of the hymn's author, John Newton, and how he penned the words after surviving a virtually unsurvivable storm at sea and coming to the relization that his survival was in accord with God's amazing grace. But few know about his life leading up to that event and the lovely young woman who powerfully and graciously influenced his life, Polly.

This is P
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Jody Hedlund is the author of over twenty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that

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