If good things come in small packages, then you are in for a real treat with this short but very powerful and poignant story found in Christine Schaub’s THE LONGING SEASON -- second book in her ‘Music of the Heart’ series.
As the son of a sea captain in England 1746, there were few options open for a young man than to serve his king during a time of war. Unfortunately the young, brash John Newton served only himself. Going off to sea that journey would see him flogged, turned into a slave, then into a slave trader living a degenerate lifestyle while renouncing all of God’s teachings. By some small miracle, word reached him from home and John would start on a new journey with a small ‘sliver of hope’ that the young woman he’d once lost his heart to would still be waiting there. The journey would be full of pitfalls that would test his faith and bring him to his knees, but through it all Newton would discover the journey to redemption would be one of the most important of his life. Later in life, he would reflect over that journey and go on to write one of the most beloved hymns of all time – ‘Amazing Grace’.
This was an extraordinary read. The author researched and wrote this with impeccable attention to detail breathing life into the characters that made them even bigger than life. While John Newton led an interesting and incredible life, I was more impressed by the woman he loved. Mary Catlett was a young woman who gave away her heart to a childhood sweetheart, yet when all had given him up for dead remained steadfast in her determination praying for his safe return. Afforded a season in London, courted by a very handsome, very eligible and honorable heir to an Earldom she would turn down a brilliant offer of marriage to remain ‘waiting for John’.
This author’s unique voice, well-written and fast-paced read was a joy making me both laugh and cry. To be sure, as a soloist in my church choir I will have a much greater appreciation while singing one of my personal favorite hymns now knowing of the trials this man’s journey of redemption took him on to create such a masterpiece. I loved this book and very highly recommend it.
Marilyn Rondeau, RIO – Reviewers International Organization