Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

As a fan of Lynn Austin’s historical novels, her new novel Waves of Mercy is a touching story of seeking God and then hanging on to His faithful promises especially when hard things happen. Lynn Austin adeptly tells the heart-breaking account of a few of the early Dutch pioneers who settled Holland, Michigan. Austin introduces us to Anna, a young woman seeking God and answers to her past, and Geesje, an elderly woman remembering her past.

I really like how Austin seamlessly reveals Anna’s struggles through a combination of flash back nightmares and her present struggle after breaking her engagement. Lynn Austin is master storyteller who draws us into the history without being tedious with extraneous details. I like how she shows us why the past matters so much now, but I love how she draws us into the history as if we participated in it.

Waves of Mercy was a moving story worth reading. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin for my candid review.

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On This Foundation by Lynn Austin

On This Foundation is the compelling and thought provoking conclusion to Lynn Austin’s Biblical series The Restoration Chronicles which follows the Jews’ return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple after their exile in Babylon. Specifically, On This Foundation tells the story of Nehemiah, cupbearer to the King of Persia. With a clear call from God, Nehemiah risks everything and receives king Artaxerxes permission and aid to travel to Jerusalem as the new governor to rebuild the city walls.

Have reading the two previous novels in The Restoration Chronicles, I was captivated with Austin’s retelling of Nehemiah’s struggle to lead the Jews to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem while contending with intrigue and deception from locals and jealous provincial leaders. With authentic characters representing all levels in society, Austin skillfully creates a story that captures the struggle, heartache, fear, and devastation that shrouds the people when Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem.

In Nehemiah, Lynn Austin shows us a leader who struggles like everyone else to obey and persevere even though he leads with courage and boldness. I was particularly intrigued by the nobleman Malkijah and his journey from lawful obedience toward consecrated and compassionate obedience.

Lynn Austin has created a story full of authentic characters that deftly and powerfully portray the many struggles the Jews faced as a people and as individuals as they sought God’s help and protection while building the wall.

Overall, On This Foundation deeply moved me as the story of Nehemiah and his countrymen came alive through Austin’s vibrant writing. Austin has a gift for conveying to readers the power of God’s promises in the lives of ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of On This Foundation by Lynn Austin for my candid review.

Return to Me by Lynn Austin

From the first book I read by Lynn Austin, I have been a fan of her captivating way of bringing history to life through beautiful writing and intriguing plots. Return to Me is the first book in Austin’s new series The Restoration Chronicles that tells the Biblical story of the Israelites returning to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity to rebuild their temple.

Beginning with an intense preface, Lynn Austin introduces us to the legendary Daniel of the Lion’s Den who has grown old in Babylonian captivity. As an advisor to Babylonian kings, Daniel introduces Austin’s story of King Cyrus’s unexpected announcement that some Israelites might return to their promised land.

Although I haven’t read Austin’s other Biblical novels, I was impressed with her attention to historical detail and Biblical knowledge. I loved how she seamlessly wove Biblical text into the narrative to substantiate her story. While many of the everyday details of her characters’ lives are fictional, Austin uses real Biblical people to adroitly capture the essence of the personal and societal conflicts that the returning Israelites faced.

Iddo, like Daniel, grew old in captivity and he could never forget the horror of the exile. Iddo’s children only know Babylon and when they are invited to return to Jerusalem, they decline. Iddo’s one grandson, Zechariah, although young, returns to build the temple with his priestly grandfather.

Following the joyous announcement, the pilgrims return to Jerusalem to find devastation, famine, and animosity from locals. Austin cleverly tells of their struggles, heartaches, sorrows, and determination to build a temple and restore proper worship of their God.

While Return to Me was not a heart stopper read, it was a touching, beautiful story of love—love of people for their neighbors and love of a people for their God. Bethany House Publishing sent me a complimentary copy of Return to Me by Lynn Austin to review.

Bethany House Publishers

Bethany House Publishers is a Christian division of Baker House Publishing Group. I was first introduced to Bethany House when I read found Beverly Lewis’s Amish novels while browsing library shelves about a decade ago. I enjoy reading adult fiction, hands down, but I have learned to be wary of less than savory content mixed into some of the best fiction stories. That’s why I’m recommending Bethany Publishers for entertaining and uplifting fiction without the detracting material.

In the time that I’ve dabbled with new authors published under the Bethany label, I have not encountered any books I regret reading. Enough of my personal promotion. Here are some of my favorite authors and books published by Bethany House. Just so you know, I am partial to historical fiction so most the books I introduce come from that genre.

These days I read any of Lewis’s fiction but the Abram’s Daughters 5 book series remains my favorite, followed closely by The Rose Trilogy which is a recent series. After reading all of Lewis’s works, I moved on to Lynn Austin’s Hidden Places, after watching the Hallmark movie a few years ago. Some of my Austin favorites include:

While We’re Far Apart: A WWII love story with a touching plot.

Until We Reach Home: A tale of Swedish Immigrant sisters immigrating to America.

Wonderland Creek: A take-off of Christy by Catherine Marshall. In the woods of rural Kentucky, a young librarian wants to change the town.

A Proper Pursuit: Introduces us the golden period of the World Fair exhibitions and Chicago that hosted it.

Recently I discovered Tracie Peterson, a prolific writer with an endless stream of stories to share. Her best novels explore the development of the American frontiers and the courageous women who settled there. Some of my Peterson favorites include:

Brides of Gallatin County series: Each book in the trilogy focuses on 1 of 3 sisters who settled in Gallatin County, Montana

Song of Alaska series: Introduces us to an Alaskan frontier town of at the beginning of the 20th century.