Lynn Austin can always be counted on to write a spell binding story, to make faith an integral part of the story, and to integrate a historical period into the narrative. She does not disappoint in her new novel WAVES OF MERCY. I encourage anyone interested in Wisconsin or Michigan history to latch onto this book as 19th Century Lake Michigan is the setting; but in a way, it is also one of the major characters. If you've ever visited greater Sheboygan, WI, you probably realize the area was settled by Dutch farmers, most who came to escape religious persecution. What you may not know about is a disastrous shipwreck The Phoenix in 1847 in which many Dutch immigrants perished. Lynn Austin has used that shipwreck as the cause of a terrible mix-up which led to a marriage between Geesje and Maarten, when Geesje was really betrothed to another. Then she uses two other historical events to further another story -- the events, the great fires of 1871 (Chicago, Peshtigo, but also Holland, MI) and another shipwreck, Ironsides in 1873. The second story is Anna's story, a young Chicago socialite who has come to Holland, MI to heal her heart after a broken engagement. When she begins having recurring nightmares about drowning and then dreams littered with Dutch phrases, Anna begins to believe she needs some answers from her adoptive parents about her birth. Perhaps then she will know why she's so drawn to the "castle church" and the engaging preacher Dr. Moody who both her former fiancee and her father find tedious.
I began seeing promotions for this book early this fall, and again I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy through our library system.