The Longing Season

Written by Christine Schaub
Review by Nancy J. Attwell

This is the most compelling novel about slavery that I have ever read, not because of horrific details, but because it reveals how deep-seated the human willingness to enslave other humans truly is. John Newton, who is renowned as the author of “Amazing Grace,” traveled a long road before joining the fervent group of Christians who successfully fought to abolish the British slave trade. Although he had been a wretched and mistreated slave himself, upon his redemption he rejected pity and embarked on his own lucrative career as a slaver. It truly was amazing grace that changed not only Newton’s heart but the course of history as well.

This second book in Schaub’s series, which portrays the stories behind popular hymns, is as powerful and haunting as Newton’s lyrics. Conscripted into the royal navy in 1743, Newton is forced to leave behind the girl he loves. While he roams the world, cursing God for his miseries, she grows into a woman of wit and wisdom who prays for his safe return. Although occasionally slowed by unnecessary quotation marks, this is a fast-paced and often-surprising inspirational novel that I recommend even to those who would not normally choose this genre.