Lynn Austin pens a turn of the century story of two women: one a young Chicago socialite, the other an older Dutch immigrant. Their lives intersect when Geesje recounts her immigration story in preparation for their town’s fiftieth anniversary.
In Waves of Mercy, twenty-three year old Anna Nicholson flees to Holland, Michigan after her wealthy fiancé ends their engagement. She befriends Derk Vander Veen, a seminary student working part-time at her hotel. Their conversations lead to a friendship that brings her in contact with Geesje, his neighbor. Derk sees a similarity between the two women.
In 1846, seventeen year old Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean with her parents and other immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, she is asked to write a memoir of her early experiences. As she recounts her experiences, no one expects the secrets that will be revealed when the two women meet.
Austin tells the story of two women, identifying the speaker at the beginning of each chapter. The stories are interwoven with the theme of family secrets, religious persecution, hardships, joys, and God’s faithfulness through it all. Austin’s characters are believable, as is her central theme: nothing can separate us from God. He is always with us, and has a plan for our lives.
Anna suffers from nightmares she experienced since she was a young girl; she dreams of drowning as a ship sinks. When she travels with her mother to Holland via steamship, she relives those dreams when they face a raging storm just before arrival. Geesje has had her share of hardships. Though her faith may have wavered, it stands the test of time, something she shares with Anna through her story.
Recommended for public libraries and Lynn Austin fans.
Carol R. Gehringer
Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.