Legacy of Mercy
When I reviewed Waves of Mercy back in the February 2017 HNR issue, I mentioned the need for a sequel, and Austin has finally granted that wish with Legacy of Mercy. In 1897, Anna Nicholson returns home from Michigan, where she had discovered the circumstances surrounding her adoption, met her biological Dutch grandmother, Geesje, and found a new faith in God. Anna is meant to now focus on her upcoming wedding to William. However, she remains focused on finding out the fate of her birth mother, hiring Pinkerton agents to get the job done. Anna begins to doubt her future in Chicago, and when she becomes the center of some gossip, she flees back to her grandmother, who can give her good advice. Meanwhile, Geesje also faces tribulations of her own, helping some immigrants try to find a new life in Michigan, and becoming enmeshed in their drama.
I’m glad Austin finished the story, but I am also a tad disappointed. Anna does not have the usual character development that Austin is so good at; instead a severe illness changes her situation and solves her problems for her. The budding romance that began in the first book, too, is a bit softened here, and readers don’t get the full swell of love between Derk and Anna. The ending is also a little abrupt, with everything coming a little too tidily together. William, the betrothed, disappears from the story; his father is the one who eventually breaks the engagement! Nevertheless, the story wraps up nicely and Anna finally discovers her true identity and true purpose in life. Geesje’s story is the better read, and the people she helps include some excellent intrigue with a heart-rending backstory.