Profligate London, 1788. Slave ships haunt the seas, bearing human cargos to further the wealth of the rich and destroy the souls of the slave traffickers.
Russell Lawrence is an avid skeptic. Captain of the slave ship Barbados, wealthy, and a respected leader, he views religion as a crutch for the weak. But when the debauchery of the slave trade begins to destroy his good morals, his battle becomes more than fighting pirates and mutineers. What if there really is a God?
Impressed as a cabin boy, Jack Dunbar sees his forced service on the Barbados as a God-given opportunity to witness Christ to the crew. But his efforts to influence the hardened slavers seems to be doing little good. How is it possible to live as a Christian on the sin-ravaged seas? Can his light shine bright in Africa's dark interior?
Back in Grosvenor Square, Elizabeth Grey battles opposition from society and her self-seeking fiancé. Her work with John Newton to end the slave trade is being harshly attacked. She faces life branded as a jilter and radical if she stands up for what she believes in. Will she ever glean the strength to call sin by its rightful name?
A tale of adventure on the high seas, redemption, and faith. Sin abounds. Is grace enough to conquer doubt and triumph over evil?
My review: This is one powerful book. It totally immersed me in the lives of Russell, the young slave ship captain who denies God; Jack, the Christian cabin boy abducted from a life on the London streets and impressed into service; and Elizabeth, the young Christian abolitionist who must marry a heartless man of the world. Scenes alternate between their points of view. I pondered and learned and worried along with them. Their fates kept me guessing to the very end! How God shone in their lives is something you have to read for yourself.
All the other characters seemed like real people, too—Isaac, Roger, Cedrick, William, Walter, Anne…each one was well developed. And it’s thrilling whenever the real real people, John Newton and William Wilberforce, make appearances! The history behind this pivotal point early in the battle for abolition of the British slave trade is fascinating. Miss Willis was just right to choose this time.
As I write this review and think back, I’m amazed at the intricacy and ingenuity of the plot—everything that happened, how it all tied together, how so many scenes left me hanging and wanting to know what would happen next. The only scenes that occasionally seemed static were Elizabeth’s, but I think that’s because her life was quieter and thus it seemed to take her longer to learn what God was teaching her. But everything, everything, that occurred was interesting and involved me fully with the characters.
Ms. Willis certainly accomplishes her goal of showing how we can live as Christians and shine our light in a dark place, even if nothing seems to come of it. Grace Triumphant was very, very sobering for me. It was so realistic, and set in a familiar setting to me, both because the era and its struggles resembles our own, and because I’ve read so much about 18th century Britain. I admit I felt sobered almost to the point of depression, thinking of how much suffering there is and was in this world, and how few seek God. It’s a reality check and a clarion call to shine our light. Read this book, but be prepared for a serious look at your faith. I am so thankful for yet another of Ms. Willis’s God-honoring and life-changing historical novels.
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