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Amazing Grace: The Life of John Newton and the Surprising Story Behind His Song {Book Review + Giveaway} #amazinggrace #amazinggracebook #christianbook #godsgrace @harpercollinschristian

**I received a complimentary copy for consideration. All thoughts are my own. 

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. 

We all know these lyrics well don't we? Amazing Grace is perhaps the most well known hymn of all time... a hymn that even many who have never stepped foot in a church in their life might even recognize. And with its powerful lyrics, is it any wonder that it is so very loved? It is certainly a song that has the power to bring people to tears... in the best way possible. 

But what do we know about the man behind these powerful lyrics?

Admittedly I didn't know much, so I was excited to be given the opportunity to check out Amazing Grace: The Life of John Newton and the Surprising Story Behind His Song by Bruce Hindmarsh  & Craig Borlase. 

About the Book:

Amazing Grace is the surprising true story of John Newton, author of the song that has touched millions. A biography that reads like a novel, it reveals Newton’s dramatic story of sin and salvation as a slave trader before his ultimate transformation to speaking out against the horror of slavery. His story speaks to the brokenness within us all and our need for God’s amazing grace—and reveals the truth behind his song.

Amazing Grace is based on years of research on the life and writings of John Newton. It tells of a prodigal who returns home, and a young love that defies the odds; of a young man whose life is torn by grief and wounded by the cruelty of others, following his descent into deeper suffering and finally into the brutal world of the slave trade. Newton rejects God repeatedly but is rescued by a divine mercy that reaches deeper than he could ever have imagined as he ultimately faces his past and repents.

Newton’s story is shocking, and Amazing Grace does not try to airbrush or excuse his faults. There are glaring contradictions in the life of a ship’s Captain who retreats to his cabin to study his Bible and write tender love letters to his wife while hundreds of slaves lie in chains in the hold below.

The profound lessons from his life are applicable to us today, helping us to:

  • Discover that the need for grace is universal and offers the deepest hope for overcoming hatred
  • Be honest about our lives even when we are ashamed and face seemingly unresolvable problems
  • Look for grace when life is far from perfect and doesn't match up to our expectations 
  • Trust that our mistakes and regrets, no matter how deep, can be redeemed in the end


Since the first public singing of “Amazing Grace” almost 250 years ago, every generation has been profoundly moved by the song, and now readers can connect with John Newton’s story like never before. In these days of extreme polarization when beliefs about race, church, and politics have all become deeply divisive in society, we need grace more than ever. We need stories like this one that talk honestly about the human condition but even more about the relentless love of God and his forgiveness of sins.

I don't usually care for biographies all that much. I'm just not all that into reading fact after fact about someone...that does nothing to help me really get a feel for who that person was. What is interesting about this book however is that the authors took information from other biographies and various other sources, and told his story in a way that reads very much like a novel rather than your typical biography... and that's something I personally appreciated. I definitely feel like that gives readers more insight into who he was and how he lived than the alternative. If more biographies were written like this... well, I may be convinced to read more of them. 

Of course, it certainly helps that his story is an interesting one too. One that will allow readers a look at just how magnificent God's grace truly is... and might just make us appreciate those powerful lyrics all that much more. 

If you'd like to learn more about the man and the story behind this beloved hymn, Amazing Grace is certainly worth checking out. 

You can learn more and purchase your copy here:

Want to win a copy? Visit this giveaway for your chance to win! 



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