Historical Fiction Book Review: Legacy of Mercy

Publisher's Description

"Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can't seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she's learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her find the truth. But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden.

At the same time, unflattering stories about Anna are leaked by someone who would love to see her disgraced and her engagement broken. And as Anna tries to share her faith with her society friends, she understands that her choice to seek God's purpose for her life isn't as simple as she had hoped.

When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje's been helping new Dutch immigrants, including a teen with a haunted past, adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face."

My Review

Legacy of Mercy, by Lynn Austin, is the second book in the Waves of Mercy series. Told from the first-person perspectives of a grandmother and her granddaughter, this historical fiction novel swiftly and easily captured my attention from the very first paragraph straight through to the final word. Set in America in the late 20th century, this novel truly touched my heart with its captivating characters and compelling plot. 
Legacy of Mercy is an utterly engaging novel. The well-developed characters are simply captivating and abound with authenticity and credibility. Their questions, their insecurities, their fears, their needs, and their desires are wholly believable, heart-wrenching, and inspiring. The opportunities, the choices, and the trials that the characters endure are intricately developed, and from them there unfolds a story that is thoroughly enriching and ultimately uplifting. The well-researched details and descriptions ensure that every moment spent reading this book is a thoughtful experience to be savored.

With elements of mystery, history, and romance, Lynn Austin has crafted a story that entertains as well as inspires. With a thematic emphasis on grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love, this novel is one of hope and second chances. Ms. Austin is an incredibly talented author with a real gift for meaningful story-telling. Legacy of Mercy is a book I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who enjoys terrific historical fiction. 

My Reflection

Legacy of Mercy offers more than a moving, historical story. It also affirms the power of forgiveness and grace. As the characters search for redemption and healing from painful experiences in their past, they also hope for restoration and wholeness. They seek meaning and purpose for their lives, and their faith grows as they discover that true wealth is found in the promises of a merciful God and in the love of friends and family. 
When historical fiction takes ideas and experiences from the past and makes them accessible and relevant today, it becomes a powerful and transformative reading experience that touches my heart and mind beyond mere entertainment. This book, so rich with the themes of love and loss, rejection and acceptance, fear and courage, and desires and callings, has impressed upon me the necessity and the inspiration to pursue compassion in my daily living and in my interactions with others. This novel emphasized that we as individuals need others more than we realize in order to be whole and to thrive. Through the challenges and hardships experienced by the characters and the profound nature of their personal and spiritual growth throughout the novel, I was reminded that each one of us has a story to share, and each one of us has a purpose to pursue. Like the characters in this book, I hope that I too am brave enough to turn trials into opportunities to shine God’s love brightly wherever darkness and despair may linger. 

About the Author

"For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother, and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published 27 novels. Eight of her historical novels have won Christy Awards for excellence in Christian Fiction: Hidden Places (2001), Candle in the Darkness (2002), Fire by Night (2003), A Proper Pursuit (2007), Until We Reach Home (2008), Though Waters Roar (2009) While We're Far Apart (2010), and Wonderland Creek (2011). Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film." --Biography from Lynn N. Austin's author page on Amazon.com.

Click here to purchase a copy of this novel for yourself. 

*I was given a copy of this novel by the publisher. A review was not required. The review I have written contains opinions that are entirely my own. 


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