Ok, I’m not going to lie. I was supposed to review this book a LOOOONG time ago, but I decided “better late than never.” And as I usually say, I did receive a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The book is called Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin.
Here is the description:
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 the story of her one true love.
At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.
Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.
And from the Back Cover, which I think describes a little more:
Haunted by the unknowns of their pasts, two women search for answers along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Chicago socialite Anna Nicholson retreats to the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan, after breaking her engagement with her wealthy fiance. Filled with questions about her newfound faith and troubled by a recurring nightmare, Anna finds solace in Derk Vander Veen, a seasonal hotel worker who plans to go into the ministry.
Prompted by a request from her son, Geesje de Jonge begins to sift through memories of emigrating from the Netherlands almost fifty years ago. As she writes them down for the Semi-Centennial Anniversary of the town’s settlement, her story takes on a life of its own as she honestly and painfully recalls her regrets, doubts, hardships, and joys. Her story captivates Derk, who sees similarities between Geesje and Anna, and wishes to bring the two together.
Past and present collide as Anna and Geesje seek clarity, but neither expects the revelations that await them.
I very much enjoyed the storyline in this book. The characters were great and engaging as well. It seemed as if the author made a concerted effort to be as historically accurate as possible. What was interesting to me was that the book was set during two separate time periods, and yet both of those eras are in the past, making it a “double” period piece.
The narration changes from character to character and between past and present, but it was never difficult to follow along. The story was great, BUT…… oh my goodness, I didn’t think the ending was an actual ending. There needs to be a sequel. As soon as I finished it, I was scouring the internet to find out if there was on in the works, and sadly I didn’t find one. So…… good up until the end…..and I would be very pleased if I found a sequel. Please, Lynn Austin?