Local Author: Lynn Austin’s latest book is fiction based on Dutch immigrants in Holland – HollandSentinel.com

Name of book: “Waves of Mercy”

Author: Lynn Austin

Where does the author live? Holland

About the author: After attending Hope College for three years, Lynn married her husband Ken, and completed her degree in psychology at Southern Connecticut State University.

Then they lived in Bogota, Colombia, for two years where she taught fourth grade in a Colombian school and Ken performed in the symphony orchestra. With no TV and plenty of time to read, Lynn became an avid reader. That’s when she began to dream of writing the kind of books she loved.

They then moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba, it was during those long Canadian winters at home with her children that she finally started carving out a few hours of writing time each day. “The moment I started writing, I discovered how much fun it was to use my imagination again and create wonderful characters and stories.” Her first novel was published in 1995, “Gods and Kings” evolved into a five-book series, “Chronicles of the Kings.”

In 1992, she resigned from teaching to write full-time. Since then she’s published 23 novels and one non-fiction book. She was named to the Christy Award Hall of Fame in 2013. Her novel “Hidden Places” has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. 

Book genre: Historical fiction

Publisher: Bethany House

Where can it be purchased? All bookstores and Amazon

Synopsis of the book: This is a work of fiction based on the story of the Dutch immigrants who settled Holland, Michigan in 1846.

Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age 17 with her parents, The Rev. Van Raalte, and a small group of immigrants from The Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she is asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town of Holland celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions that have remained buried all these years, including the story of her one true love.

A few miles away at the Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, 23-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of her broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after the violent storm her steamship encounters on her journey across the lake, stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.

Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.

Why did you write the book? “I grew up in the area of New York State that was originally owned and settled by the Dutch, and I visited Holland, MI for the first time when I attended Hope College. I was immediately impressed by how proud the community was of their faith and their Dutch heritage. My husband grew up in Holland, so when we decided to move back here two years ago, I began researching Holland’s history to see if it would make a good novel.

“It intrigued me to learn that the first Dutch settlers came here in 1846 for religious freedom after suffering persecution in the Netherlands. Since that’s true of so many other immigrant peoples over the years, I knew the story would resonate with many readers. I was very surprised to learn how much hardship these early settlers suffered in the process of founding this community. If nothing else, their story taught me not to take our religious freedom or the American dream for granted.

— Follow this reporter on Twitter @SentinelLori or @SentinelGOmag.

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