Waves of Mercy

Written by Lynn Austin
Review by Rebecca Cochran

With her usual flair for historical detail and intricate storytelling, Austin weaves a fascinating tale of two women in Waves of Mercy. In 1897, Anna Nicholson flees from Chicago to the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan in order to escape society after a broken engagement. There, she is haunted by nightmares that seem more like memories, which cause her to question her past (she was adopted) as well as her faith. Befriending Derk Vander Veen, a hotel worker who plans to enter the ministry, helps Anna begin to heal and also figure out the mysteries of her dreams. Derk, meanwhile, is also healing from a broken relationship and questioning his future. He turns to his favorite neighbor, elderly Geesje de Jonge, for support and guidance. Geesje’s story is equally fascinating. She left the Netherlands more than 50 years ago, and she begins to reflect on her past, writing her story down for an upcoming celebration of their settlement. Her story helps Derk with his own love quandary, and eventually Anna.

I’m a huge fan of Lynn Austin, and like her others, this story does not disappoint. Geesje’s story of hardship, love, and faith is enchanting. Anna and Derk’s story is equally intriguing. Austin meshes past and present into an unforgettable novel about love and faith. Disappointingly, though, the book ends without closure, and I hope this means that Austin plans to write a sequel. Nevertheless, this is worth a read. Highly recommended.