So many people have this conception about John Calvin that is just wrong. People, in the main, simply assume that Calvin founded this ominous system of theology known as Calvinism; that he was the executioner of the man, Servetus, and that he ruled "his" Geneva with an iron-clad dictatorial reign of theological terror. This is just wrong!
Calvin is known as the theologian of the 'Spirit'. He is famous for his duplex gratia, 'double-grace' (justification/sanctification) theology. And this theology is given shape by his 'mystical union' or 'union with Christ' theology; such that all of the benefits of Christ are ours as we are united to Christ by the Spirit (the wonderful exchange). Calvin's theology is not dominated by impersonal decrees, and Stoically inspired fatalistic determinism; instead it is given life by his focus and emphasis upon relationship with the triune God in and through God the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
If you have only understood Calvin through the stereotypes, then give him a real chance!