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Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace
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Archived Group Buddy Reads 2017 > June Group Buddy Read: Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund

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message 1: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
June's Group Buddy Read will be Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund

GR Summary:
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 until the night he hears Polly Catlett's enchanting voice, caroling. He's immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.
An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John s reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves?
Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.


message 2: by Hannah (new) - added it

Hannah (bookwormhannah) | 860 comments I'm joining. :)


message 3: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Wonderful! :)


message 4: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) | 104 comments I got this from the library. Hoping I can finish before the loan expires.


Jolyn | 24 comments My pastor has mentioned John Newton several times in sermons over the years. All I know about him is that he wrote Amazing Grace and was involved in the slave trade. I HAVE to read this book. Just requested it from the library and should have it by the middle of next week.


message 6: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
I read this last year, and it was one of my favorite reads of the year. I hope the library comes through for you guys! :) And if you do get to read it, I hope you enjoy it!


Christine | 428 comments I am so looking forward to this book! I love books by Jody Hedlund and glad my library carries it! Should be starting it in a week or so.


message 8: by Marion (new) - added it

Marion | 124 comments I'm joining in too. Yay for inter-library loans!


message 9: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Awesome, ladies! :D


message 10: by Marion (new) - added it

Marion | 124 comments I just started this one today. It's pulled me in already, and I would sit it in one reading with two cups of coffee if I could! Does my family really need to eat or have clean clothes today LOL?


Jolyn | 24 comments Picked up my copy from the library yesterday. Hoping to find time to get a good start on this book soon.


message 12: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Marion wrote: "I just started this one today. It's pulled me in already, and I would sit it in one reading with two cups of coffee if I could! Does my family really need to eat or have clean clothes today LOL?"

Hehehe! I was pulled in quickly to this one as well.


Jolyn | 24 comments Is the story that is told in "Newton & Polly" based on historical fact? Did they actually meet in the dangerous way that the story opens? If so, what a story! I can barely stop reading to make supper LOL!

There are some amazing quotes that I am noting as well. One definite down-side of checking the book out from the library to read is that I have to type in the quotes that I want to keep track of. A digital book is definitely better to be able to copy-and-paste quotes or to mark up a book. I can't mark up a library book! And even if I was reading a book that I purchased, I couldn't easily copy the quotes here to talk about them.


Jolyn | 24 comments Here are my favorite quotes so far reflecting some faith-based perspectives in "Newton & Polly":

Chapter 3: Polly "It sounds to me like God has intervened in your life in each of the occasions, miraculously saving you from death. Perhaps he deemed that your time on earth isn't finished, that he has more in store for you yet in this life." p. 43

Chapter 5: Susanna - "Just because the whole world changes its opinion about something doesn't mean God changes his." p. 92 (we need to remember that this is still true today)
Susanna - "Greed can lead us to justify many wrongdoings." p. 92
Polly - It was just that sometimes she wished faith was simpler and easier, that it wasn't so difficult to please God. p. 92 (I can relate to this lament from Polly)


Christine | 428 comments I finished this book last night and loved it!! One of my favorites this year!

Love your quotes, Jolyn! Yes, it is based on facts, but I'm not sure if they met that way. Happy reading!


Jolyn | 24 comments After I posted my question about how much of Jody Hedlund's story is based on facts, I discovered her author's note at the end of the story. She explains which portions of the story are fact and which she added to enhance the story. I believe the actual meeting that really caught my attention is fictional but the 'love at first sight' that John felt for Polly is factual as well as his continued efforts to woe her.


Jolyn | 24 comments I finished reading Newton and Polly and I have to agree with everyone else who has finished it and said it was awesome! The song "Amazing Grace" really does come from a life that fully experienced God's amazing grace. So neat though that it wasn't just John that experience it but Polly also. They both discovered that they needed God's grace (as we all do) but for different reasons. Or rather they were approaching God from different perspectives when they realized they needed his grace.


message 18: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Olson (girlsmama) | 694 comments Oh man- I'm dying to read this one and even have it in from the library! Hopefully after my daughter graduates and my company has gone I will have some time to get it read! :)


message 19: by Hannah (new) - added it

Hannah (bookwormhannah) | 860 comments This will be my N title in the ABC challenge also. :)


Paula Shreckhise | 200 comments I'm on page 106. I love Jody's well researched writing! Enjoying it!


message 21: by Marion (new) - added it

Marion | 124 comments I'm finally about halfway through and not as intrigued by this story as much as I was in the beginning. The first two chapters were very exciting, but now it seems to be dragging. Not sure if I will choose to finish it.


message 22: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Bain (kathybain) | 1 comments Marion, this is where plotting a book helps. I'm not talking about doing a 50 page outline, but if you write down the plot points you'll be able to see where you have empty space.

Here's an example of something I do for my KT Morgan short suspense. This works for scenes or chapters.

Scene I: Introduce killer
Scene II: Introduce KT
Scene III: Lead in to predicament
Scene IV: etc.
Scene V: etc.

If you go along and do something as simple as this, you'll see that you don't have enough for a full novel. I'm amazed sometimes when I look back and see talking, meeting, talking, etc. Anything with no action drags a story down.

If the first two chapters hold your attention, you might also consider making it a short story or novella. That might help fix the issue of the book dragging.

Hope I was of some help. Good luck.


Jolyn | 24 comments Marion wrote: "I'm finally about halfway through and not as intrigued by this story as much as I was in the beginning. The first two chapters were very exciting, but now it seems to be dragging. Not sure if I wil..."

Marion - Your perspective on the book is interesting. I don't remember any place in the story about Polly and John where I thought it was dragging/not exciting. Yes there were times where there wasn't fast-paced action with people chasing each other or about to be killed but the character development (or lack there of since John definitely was lacking in character throughout much of the story) was important to future action. I don't remember exactly what is occurring in the story halfway through and I had to send my book back to the library.
(view spoiler)

It is interesting how differently people can perceive the same story. That is what makes discussion about the story so interesting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope you do finish the story though as I would be very interested to hear whether you find that it gets exciting again at the end or not.


message 24: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Seay | 9 comments Beth wrote: "June's Group Buddy Read will be Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund

GR Summary:
Now remembered as the author of the world s most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century a..."



message 25: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Seay | 9 comments I have not read amazing grace, therefore I can only comment on the summary, that I've read. and it seems very interesting, a love story. if john was reckless enough to get himself thrown into jail Polly should not wait on him. if he is not a Christian, she shouldn't want to get hooked with a non-Christian.


Jolyn | 24 comments Nancy wrote: "I have not read amazing grace, therefore I can only comment on the summary, that I've read. and it seems very interesting, a love story. if john was reckless enough to get himself thrown into jail ..."

That is what amazing grace is all about Nancy. Being loved and loving those who do NOT DESERVE to be loved. Jesus is our perfect example. He loved us when we were deserving of hell. We got ourselves thrown into jail because of our sin and that is what we deserved. We most definitely did NOT DESERVE to be rescued but he did it anyways because he loved us. There are so many complexities to this story and the amazing part is that it is true and there is so much for us to learn from it. I hope you get a chance to read the story Nancy. I think you will really like it.


message 27: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Seay | 9 comments NO I HAVE NO READ THE STORY. THEREFORE DID NOT KNOW IT WAS A TRUE STORY. THOUGHT IT WAS A NON-FICTION. I AM A CHRISTIAN, AND AN ORDAINED ELDER. AND I DO NOT PUT ANYONE DOWN FOR THEIR SHORT COMINGS. GOD DO THE JUDGING NOT ME.


message 28: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Seay | 9 comments I thought I was fiction. and not a true story. I know non-fiction is true. but I thought since the title of your group was Christian fiction Devoures. I was not aware that you also discussed. non.fiction? MY BAD. I SHOULD HAVE READ UP MORE ON YOUR GROUP BEFORE I JOINED TO SEE WHAT YOU WERE ABOUT.


Paula Shreckhise | 200 comments Well it's based on a true story but I would classify it as historical fiction. Jody writes several of this type and her stories are all very well researched. There is wiggle room for us to read non fiction books on some of the threads. If you need clarification please ask a moderator!
We welcome you Nancy and are glad you are here!


message 30: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Nancy wrote: "I thought I was fiction. and not a true story. I know non-fiction is true. but I thought since the title of your group was Christian fiction Devoures. I was not aware that you also discussed. non.f..."

Hi, Nancy! No worries! It takes a while to learn the ins and outs of everything here at CFD.

The book is a fiction work based on real people and true events.

I think that she was very young (in Jody's story she is, but I believe in real life she was too) when they first met, so that's why she was able to "wait" on him for so long. I can only imagine though that her patience was tested, and it must be true that she loved him very much.

I hope you enjoy the book if you end up reading it at some point. :)


message 31: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Marion wrote: "I'm finally about halfway through and not as intrigued by this story as much as I was in the beginning. The first two chapters were very exciting, but now it seems to be dragging. Not sure if I wil..."

Sorry about that Marion! I found it to be pretty steady throughout - if I'm remembering correctly, there are some pretty exciting parts as John tries to get back to Polly. I need to check and see where exactly that happened in the book.


Chris | 293 comments Ever since I saw Amazing Grace I have been interested in Newton.
This book was a great addition to what I already knew about John Newton. Going into it, knowing it was historical fiction...I was interested in seeing how Hedlund would handle the ship scenes. She basically avoided direct one on one scenes on board ship and in Africa and did a takeaway view from John's point...he was going over his history instead of being first person with it -- that was a little annoying but enjoyed how she did it from Polly's point of view and what she had to go through with her family and neighbors, waiting on John. Glad she added the authors note - that clarified things a bit.


message 33: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Seay | 9 comments I THINK I NEED TO GET OUT OF THE GROUP. THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME IN. BUT I NEED TO SAY THANK YOU.


Marny | 9 comments Loved it!


Marny | 9 comments Jolyn wrote: "Nancy wrote: "I have not read amazing grace, therefore I can only comment on the summary, that I've read. and it seems very interesting, a love story. if john was reckless enough to get himself thr..."

Jolyn, I could not agree more! Nicely put!


Marny | 9 comments Nancy wrote: "I thought I was fiction. and not a true story. I know non-fiction is true. but I thought since the title of your group was Christian fiction Devoures. I was not aware that you also discussed. non.f..."

nancy,
We read many different kinds of books but they are all related to God in some way and the signs of their faith always comes through in the end. We all struggle sometimes in our faith and what we read shows that! I'm sorry you are not satisfied with our group. I personally love it and they are the most giving people I can talk with and share my faith with. I wish you and your family blessings.
Marny


message 37: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Nancy wrote: "I THINK I NEED TO GET OUT OF THE GROUP. THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME IN. BUT I NEED TO SAY THANK YOU."
You're certainly under no obligation to stay or leave. If you are looking for a non-fiction group specifically, I'm sure there are groups on GR like that as well. Feel free to stay if you'd like but no pressure. :)


Paula Shreckhise | 200 comments Here's my review:
Review Jody Hedlund is an exceptional story teller. Her books are very well researched. This is a wonderful story of real people. She puts you right in a page of history! It was grand to be able to take the spiritual journey with John and Polly. I have read Luther and Katharina also. These are my type of novels. I was totally immersed in history! The story really flows! Fantastic read!


message 39: by Marion (new) - added it

Marion | 124 comments I'm not sure why most of Part 2 didn't hold my attention. I'm in Part 3 now and glad I kept reading. I'll probably finish it this weekend.

I also realize now why Susanna's name popped out to me in Chapter 1. Isn't it the same character name as in Rebellious Heart?


message 40: by Marion (new) - added it

Marion | 124 comments Kathryn, thanks for your suggestion but outlining plots is not my style at all. My English major husband understood your suggestion though!


Christine | 428 comments I'm glad you decided to keep reading it, Marion!


Christine | 428 comments I'm not sure about other readers, but my favorite part of the book was (view spoiler)


message 43: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Marion wrote: "I'm not sure why most of Part 2 didn't hold my attention. I'm in Part 3 now and glad I kept reading. I'll probably finish it this weekend.

I also realize now why Susanna's name popped out to me i..."


Yay! I'm glad it picked up for you. I think things definitely got more exciting in Part 3. For me, once John's character starting developing a bit more, I found it really engaging.


message 44: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Christine wrote: "I'm not sure about other readers, but my favorite part of the book was John's conversion experience on the ship. "

Christine, yes! Completely. I found it very moving. I love how Jody was true to life in regards to his character. Of course, I'm no expert on him, but from her author's note, she seemed to be true to how he was and not try to make him look better just for the sake of fiction.


Jolyn | 24 comments Marion wrote: "I'm not sure why most of Part 2 didn't hold my attention. I'm in Part 3 now and glad I kept reading. I'll probably finish it this weekend.

I also realize now why Susanna's name popped out to me i..."

So glad you kept reading and the book picked up for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it as I mentioned previously on the thread and I am glad that you are enjoying it now too.


Jolyn | 24 comments Christine wrote: "I'm not sure about other readers, but my favorite part of the book was John's conversion experience on the ship. "

John's conversion experience was really moving but I think I was almost as moved by Polly's conversation with her mother and Polly's realization of her need for grace.

Polly's mom - "My darling, none of us can earn God's favor with our own efforts. Whether we're a sinner who's strayed far from God, like John. Or a saint who attempts to please God, like you. None of us can stand before God on our own merit. We all need his grace." p. 370

Polly finally realized that it was only through God's grace that she could be right with God and then she was finally able to stop worrying about whether she was doing everything 'right' and she could finally be content in her relationship with God.


message 47: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
I loved that conversation, too, Jolyn! Such an important thing to remember from that conversation, that you don't have to do anything to receive grace.


message 48: by Marion (new) - added it

Marion | 124 comments I'm glad I finished the book. It was meant to be because then my Psalm for the day was Psalm 107. Vv. 23-32 talks about sailors on a ship observing the Lord's power and praising Him after a terrifying storm. I'm not sure if this is one of the Bible passages included by Hedlund, but it certainly made me pause at God's good timing!


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