Cover Image: Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

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"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound." Several books have been written, including an autobiography, on the life of John Newton, songwriter of "Amazing Grace". However, if you have never read his story, Bruce Hindmarsh and Craig Borlase have a released version on March 7th that they consider a "dramatized biography". Much research went into the writing to make it as accurate as possible based on Newton's own writings and the time period.
  For such a beautiful song to rise out of such a past shows the mercy and grace of God and one of His purposes in Newton's life. If you have not read Newton's story, this is a must read.

A copy was provided for my review but all opinions are my own.
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An excellent biography of the life of John Newton. It is very well written, and the extra details of Newton's life reflect the extensive research done by the author. The is not boring, or slow but very captivating and reads as a novel instead of a textbook.
Newton had a very hard life, seeing as well as being a part of some very horrible things yet he used these experiences as a witnessing tool in his life and ministry. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. It is a very inspirational book.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book for my review.
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A carefully researched biography of the great British pastor who wrote Amazing Grace. It is written as a novel, but is researched and true to the historical record. 
I was familiar with the story of Newton’s life at sea: serving as a low level sailor, held captive by slave traders in Africa and finally working his way up to being the captain of a slave ship. The book carefully details the turmoils he encountered, but also gives an insight into the likely thoughts he had as a troubled soul. 
Most biographies of Newton hurry through his later years as a pastor in a small village. I was unaware of his close relationship with William Cowper, the great hymn writer who was tormented by clinical depression. The book also deals with his efforts in the Abolitionist movement and his relationship with William Wilberforce. 
This book is a powerful story of God’s amazing grace. I could not put it down. 
Thanks to the publisher, Thomas Nelson, and NetGalley for providing an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I first want to thank Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for giving me this Kindle book in exchange for an honest review! 
This was a very informative and interesting biography about John Newton, writer of the beautiful hymn "Amazing Grace". For many years I have wanted to learn the history of the hymn and I am so glad I finally know it albeit how heartbreaking the history is! I again want to thank everyone involved with supplying these books to us readers! It is very appreciated!
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This one does as it says and adds way more details to this story. Interesting read but a bit drawn out. I’ve read the original “out of the depths” and I feel that I prefer the original but this is definitely worth reading if you want more details.
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5 stars.

I don’t know what compelled me to read this book, but I’m glad I did. It’s a biography, but it reads as a wonderfully written novel. Perhaps, knowing that what you’re reading is a story of someone’s life, helps the book to have even a stronger grasp on the reader. I’m not a religious person, and if you have concerns about reading this book wondering if it would feel like the author’s trying to convert you, I’d say you don’t have to worry. Obviously, the whole book is about Newton’s relationship with God, and if you really can’t stand reading religious sentiments, the book wouldn’t be a good fit for you, but I think it’s worth it to read his story, and what a life the man had.
Like any good book, it’s also food for thought. For a religious person I assume it’s different, but what I always walk away with from such stories is how some people through God find grace, kindness, and forgiveness, while others use it to discriminate and hate. I wish more people who sing Amazing Grace and then spit hatred at marginalized groups would read this book, but I doubt that would help changing them.
If you love biographies, it’s an amazing one to choose. I recommend it without a trace of doubt.
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Read like a novel not like a documentary like I thought it was going to be. Very interesting read so many facts I didn’t know about him and his hardships.  Very well researched and written
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I really enjoyed reading "Amazing Grace" by Bruce Hindmarsh and Craig Borlase.
I received an ARC of this book as a reviewer for NetGalley #sponsored

I have always been interested in knowing more about John Newton's story. This book digs through historical archives and firsthand accounts to bring his story to life. It does not read like a novel, but it is more interesting than a dry history paper.

I found some interesting surprises about his life, and you will too. His early life was most interesting. He definitely made bad choices many times throughout his life despite struggling with God and his own faith even from an early age. He also went through some traumatic, abusive circumstances himself. He spent 18 months living in Africa before he later became the famous sea captain of a slave ship.

The words of his famous hymn are thread throughout the book. His later life was most fascinating as he joined forces with William Wilberforce to bring an end to slavery for Britain.

The end of the books talks about his faith.

Overall I highly recommend this book if you are interested about him at all.
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"Amazing Grace" was an incredible, well-written and painstakingly researched book, which chronicles the life of John Newton, who eventually penned the well-loved hymn of the same name.  Yet with the minute attention to detail does not come a daft expose but rather a thrilling novel outlining a rather troubled and peculiar life of a time gone by. In fact, it read more as a biographical "fiction" in the way that the threads of his life are woven together, the way his story is delved into, with help from his own journals and first-hand accounts in research. 

While we all may know Newton as the hymn writer, minister, and abolitionist (he wrote close to a hymn per week, nearing 300, when he had a congregation towards the end of his journey), he had a riotous walkabout to get there. From his life as a boy, losing his mother, abuses and poor choices, to disappointing his father in regards to his work as a sailor in the Royal Navy, becoming a caption of a slave ship and investor in the slave trade, then to such transgressions which led to becoming a slave-servant in west Africa in wretched conditions, eventually becoming a famous minister and abolitionist - he lived it all; By his experiences, he was given a wealth of perspectives on all sides to understanding the human condition. Each page I couldn't turn fast enough as his story is so unique to the time period (Newton lived 1725-1807). 

It really was mind-boggling reading of his life experiences on all sides of the issue of slavery, how he truly came to faith (to the faith of his mother, who passed from tuberculosis when he was young - it thoroughly crushed him and contributed to some of his earlier choices in life), and how Christ transformed his life. 

In fact he contributes much of his later gains in Christ to the prayers and tears he knows his mother plead to God - she had a warm faith which John grew in with his father's long absences as a sailor; His mother, knowing she was weak with sickness, made the days with her young son, John, as plentiful as possible in teaching and nurturing, with catechisms, hymns, and prayer. While we can see that he was led astray from that by the lure of the world, praise God for that sweet foundation given, and the prayers of his mother for her son's life and her intention of praying for his ministry (as were her prayers and plans for a divinity school for him). This alone, how he wrote of his relationship with his mother upon reflections later in life, was such an encouragement in my life!

Looking again to his life as a sailor, the simplicity of the gospel message also carries much depth when one seeks to study it, and I can only imagine how it affected him, studying on the ship when all others were laughing of it. We can see the fruit of that relationship he nurtured which Christ carried - in his numerous hymns - yet we also see how when he came to truly saving faith, he was still living a double life to some respects, as he took time to connect the life and lifestyle of slave trading to a life in Christ. 

It gives much more depth to the hymn "Amazing Grace" in knowing just how far lost he was, the ways he lived, and the point he came to in writing the hymn as well as in his later years as a minister and hymn writer. I had no idea he had written so many hymns - 308 in his book "Olney Hymns," which was written at his congregation with the aid of his friend William Cowper. 

In all, the way this narrative is written gives much clarity but also much to think about, and it is such a well written book. I could not read it quick enough... I thoroughly enjoyed it and fully recommend it!

*I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Amazing Grace: The Life of John Newton and the Surprising Story Behind His Song 
Authors: Bruce Hindmarsh and Craig Borlase
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian, Biography 

Story: 5/5 
Worldview: 5/5 

I’m a sucker for historical fiction—and when I heard about a novel detailing the life of the author of Amazing Grace, I had to pick it up. It’s not a pretty tale, but to see Newton’s struggle through the consequences of his choices and the realities of a fallen world, it really hit home how much we have in common. I expected to see a huge gulf between me and Newton—like he had somehow been closer to God or more of a Christian. But I was absolutely off the mark. 

It doesn’t matter how hard we try to be saintly, or how motivated we may be at first to follow the law. Newton’s revelation of Jesus was rooted in a simple, universal sentiment that is open to all: surrender. Newton vowed to serve God many times but never fully grasped what it meant to surrender. To allow God to set the course, stir the wind in the sails, and carry the ship even through the most despairing storms. 

This novel is a great testament of God’s undeserved grace. I highly recommend checking it out if you want to know the real weight on the heart of the man who wrote, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”
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Amazing Grace is a well written account of John Newton’s life from 1725-1807. Much of the book is true to life the writers gained a lot of Newton’s thoughts, words and life events from Newton’s actual writings, other parts of his life were filled in with the help of historical research of the times. John Newton’s song Amazing Grace is sung in churches across the world. His life is marked by tragedy at an early age with the death of his mother. With a sea captain raising him, John is determined to make a living as a captain one day. He unfortunately falls into being forced to serve in the navy and finds himself eventually in the slave trade as a captain to a ship that buys, transports and sells slaves. Newton’s life shows how someone can do such horrible things and be forgiven and used to help stop the cruelty of slavery giving those around him an inside look into the atrocities of the actual trade. Newton’s walk with the Lord highlights how merciful and forgiving God is to save a wretch like him and use him to bring others to the realization that salvation is not earned but given feeling by a loving God. Loved all the highlights of Newton’s life from him falling in love with his wife at first sight, to the vision that he had on a boat late one night, to his own life as a captive forced to be in chains. Every aspect of this book highlights Newton as not a perfect person but as a person given amazing  grace.
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I love reading biographies, and I really enjoyed this one! There's a lot that I didn't know about John Newton. This book is so interesting, and the story goes along quickly. I definitely recommend this!!
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the advance e-copy of this book. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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We all know the song, but not enough know the man and the story behind the song. This book is fantastic. The amount of details involved shows that the research put into the writing was extremely thorough. Newton has a powerful testimony of God’s providence and sovereignty which sheds a whole new light on the words amazing grace. I would recommend this book to everyone, as every Christian should know Newton’s story and even non-Christians would be both awed and inspired by this book
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I received a copy of this book from net galley, but the opinions are all my own. 
Amazing grace is one of those hymns that I grew up singing and hearing.  This book is basically the back story of John Newton and how he came to write this hymn.  Before John is even 25 he’s pressed ganged into the royal navy,  he escapes to work on a slave trading ship and gets captured on an island where he is held in chains and is treated as the lowest of the low,  he is able to get released to work of another slave trading ship where he is almost ship wrecked and then becomes a ship captain for  a slave trader.  All of this takes place before his eyes are opened and he’s converted to Christ. 
Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.  John knows intimately what a sinner he and the transforming love of God.  He was lost and then found, and redeemed.  That’s the whole pattern of his life. 
I’m so glad I was able read this book, It was such a powerful story.  I enjoyed it so much that I also purchased the audible version as well. The readers voice for the audible is spot on and so good!
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I thoroughly enjoyed this biography about John Newton, the author of the hymn Amazing Grace.  I did not realize that Newton was involved in the slave trade or that he and his wife were unable to have children.  The sinfulness of his life and the hardships he experienced lend new life to the words of the hymn.  Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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This is an in depth view of the life and conversion of John Newton the author of the famous spiritual song “Amazing Grace”.  If you have only seen the movie about the challenges William Wilberforce faced as he tried to block the slave trade, you know very little about John Newton.  This insightful book is well researched and gives a step by step  account of John Newton’s life using multiple written accounts including Newton’s himself, to help paint what his life may have been like.  Nothing in the book felt forced or fake even though to make this a fluid story, there had to be some suppositions on the part of the authors.
My one problem with the book was in the formatting.  There were no clear headings for chapters, the font size for headings was the same size as the content within the chapter.  The first letter of the first word of each chapter was on a line by itself even though it was also the same font size as the entire chapter.   Often times in the middle of a sentence a new line, sometimes even indented, was started making me feel like I might have missed something.  I did not find any of the script missing in spite of the disruption of the sentence structure.  These formatting issues in no way reflects on the book itself.  With the excellent writing, content and subject matter, these problems just interrupted the flow for me as a reader. Because of the quality of the research and writing, I still gave the book a 5 star rating.   I would highly recommend this book to all my reading friends. This is not my usual genre but I feel confident that anyone who likes to read, would find reading this well worth their time!
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This is a great read! It's full of hope and inspiration. The authors did a wonderful job of bring this book to life and showing how with the help of God a person can change. 
I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson--W Publishing via NetGalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Borlase and Hindmarsh's Amazing Grace: The Life of John Newton and the Surprising Story Behind His Song was a fascinating and inspiring book to read. I liked it. Four stars.
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This book was so good!!! I knew tidbits of John Newton, but not much and the way this account of his life was written really brought the story to life!
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I somewhat knew the story of John Newton’s life and how Amazing Grace came to be, but this went way more in depth and gives a much larger account of his life.

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a review and opinions are my own.
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