This book completely surpassed all my expectations. I had heard good things about it, and i thought the premise of it being a retelling of the story of Hosea in the old West sounded intriguing. As I began this book, I was so drawn into the story line that I often found I did not want to put it down.
Angel and Michael Hosea's characters were so skillfully written, and nothing about the story seemed contrived. I found myself near tears so many times. After all, I could relate to Michael's dilemma since I am currently in love with a non-Christian who is so embittered about the things of the Lord. I am always pleased when a Christian author is able to master the technique of weaving Christian principles into a story. And this author does.
As much as I loved the story, I think the author's note at the end of the story truly impressed me as well. It was something to see a Christian author tell her testimony and explain how her salvation experience was somewhat akin to the experience of Angel. I also appreciated the frank way the author dealt with the physical relationship between Angel and Michael. So many Christian authors do not deal with this topic openly, but Francine Rivers is not one of them!
Finally, I think the story of Angel's childhood prostitution and ensuing young life truly broke my heart. I am sure that there were girls just like her who did exist in the history of our race. Sometimes it was hard to read the details, but it only added to the connection I felt with the characters.
Redeeming Love is a beautiful retelling of the Biblical story of Hosea and Gomer set in the 1850's California's gold towns.
At the tender age of eight, Angel was sold into prostitution, and for the next ten years hurt, betrayal, and men's greediness accompany her day to day and night by night life. When yet another man comes to visit her room, Angel is most surprised to hear him say that God told him to marry her. With each passing day Michael demonstrates God's love to Angel in a way she has never experienced defying her personal knowledge and experience of love. Her callused and frozen heart begins to heal , but with it comes the stark reality her past is just too great to for a new start. She runs from her husbands pursuing love, because the Lord's unconditional, redemptive, and all-consuming love is even scarier to her.
Angel's character was impeccably written, she experienced many unexplainable hurts that defined her and made her the sort of woman she is. Not once did she step put of her character and pretend to be something she isn't, many a time her choices were so true to her nature they were hurting to herself and others. Michael's constant hurts were hard for the reader, but his strength and faith in the Lord was inspiring and admirable.
The overall message of God's love was imparted with such wisdom and grace that both the non believer and christian could both glean different lessons from the same book. Francine Rivers created a literary masterpiece that draws you closer to God and leaves much thought for food.
I received this book for free, form Blogging for Books, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review.
*Because the subject included child molestation, rape, and prostitution I recommend this book for mature readers (high-school and up).
Plot: This book is loosely based on the Bible story of Hosea. It shows one mans undying love for his wife, and mirrors the unabated love of God for His children.
Characters: From the very first words, until the very last, you follow Angel on a journey to find herself, God, and what it truly means to love and be loved. You see into her soul and you feel her pain and her joy. You see her character evolve into what she never thought she would ever be able to become
Themes: There are two equally important themes in this book; love and forgiveness. Throughout the book, Angel had to learn both. She had to learn how to love and be loved by both her husband and God. She also had to learn to accept the forgiveness offered to her by both.
Emotion: From page one, this book drips with emotion. You feel every emotion that Angel feels. You can feel the emotion of Michael as well. From his desire for his wife, to the pain he feels when she leaves. Every last emotion jumps off the pages and lands right into the heart of the reader.
Overall: This book leaves you enraptured from the very beginning. You are left sucked in to Angel's life as a child and the tragedy that sends her on a downward spiral. It's a hard book to put to down. You're left thinking about the story even when you're not reading it. And you can even begin to see traces of it in your own life
I requested Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers to review because so many different people have recommended it to me over the years. I thought it was time I checked it out to see what it was all about.
If you haven't read it, Redeeming Love is a retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer in the Bible - Hosea was a prophet, and God told him to take a prost.itute as his wife. This story is about Michael Hosea, a farmer in California in the mid-1800's. God tells him to take Angel, a prost.tute, for his wife. The story is about Michael loving Angel and repeatedly taking her back, even when she leaves him. Eventually he breaks through her hard shell, but she is still not complete. The rest of the book is about God's pursuit of her, until she finally turns to Him.
The plot of this book probably wouldn't make much sense to the outside world. Why would God ask an upright man to marry a prost.itute? But we all have sinned and turned away from God. We all have chosen our own way over His way. We turn back to our own way over and over. But God is always there, loving us, bringing us back, waiting for us to return so He can wash us clean. I thought Rivers did a nice job of representing that in the book.
I will say that the subject matter of this book is obviously geared toward adults. We see Angel's story from the very beginning, and some very disturbing things happen to her and are done by her later on. The physical aspect of Michael and Angel's relationship is also a part of this book. Rivers is good about never being explicit, but the events are implied even when not described. I would definitely not recommend this to younger girls. It's more appropriate for older women or women who are married.
Would I recommend this book? I think so, but with caution. I'm always a little leary of fiction books that focus this much on s.ex, because of the whole emotional aspect - women aren't affected so much visually as emotionally, so I think as Christian women it is good to guard our minds and proceed with caution when it comes to some romance novels. However, I think River's heart is in the right place, and she handles everything in the book with tact. Beyond that, the underlying message is powerful and points the reader back to Jesus. I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone, but it was a good book.
Note: I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multonomah in exchange for this review. This is my honest opinion.
I love it when I find a great book because I simply want to tell everyone about it and hope that they strongly take my suggestion and pick it up. Some of these stories once you immerse yourself in them become a part of your body and soul. They live with you long after you read them because you find yourself thinking about the theme in so many different aspects of your day. When Francine Rivers got the notion for the storyline for her novel Redeeming Love it came directly out of the book Hosea in the Bible. It shows the way God loves us in such a profound and simply unconditional love that it is simply breath-taking and life changing. This novel and it's storyline will move you to tears and show you just how much God's love can change your life.
The storyline is very reminiscent of Les Misrables, in which a young girl name Sarah spends her life witnessing not only through words but in actions that she is worthless and unwanted. The only people who see her as anything as those who will exploit her beauty and cause her to build such walls that nothing, even the love of God will not be able to penetrate them. First learning that she was a product of an illicit affair her mother had with a wealthy married man, she over hears a conversation that he had wished she had never been born, that she was a mistake and one that he can never accept in his life. Yet Sarah's mother does all she can to protect and care for her child, but soon, life takes a terrible toll on her and she dies, leaving Sarah behind with a man she knows only as Uncle Rab.
Rab is simply a drunken man who loved her mother in between his lucid moments and now finds that taking care of Sarah is simply too much for anyone to handle. When he learns a wealthy man is looking for a daughter to adopt, he thinks he has found his way out. He sells nine-year-old Sarah to him, a man only known as Duke who will ultimately teach Sarah that he will be the only life she will ever know. He tells her that her name is now Angel.
Michael Hosea is a God-fearing man who believes God will show him who his future wife will be, but he never dreamed that would lead him to Pair-of-Dice, a brothel and find a soiled dove in desperate need of God's love. Michael simply can not believe that this is whom God would bestow His promises to find a wife in being the highest paid prostitute in town, one that only the highest bidder can see, but God offers him the opportunity to convince her that despite what she has been lead to believe her whole life, Michael is the real deal. Now if only those mile high walls she has constructed to protect herself against men can be brought down, Michael might just have a chance, but to Angel the only hope for a different life is if she dies and that is just what she has planned when Michael finds her.
I received Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions in this review are strictly my own. Once I received this to review, I didn't realize that this book had been written more than twenty years ago and the message contained in the pages is more relevant now to women who need to understand forgiveness, unconditional love and redemption in Christ. I literally read this in one sitting and could not put it down. I was beyond captivated by the eloquent words that Francine Rivers used to retell the biblical story of Hosea in this novel. I found myself in tears so many times, by the demonstration of Michael's love and commitment to Angel despite how many times she tries to push him away. It's like one reviewer shared, "Michael Hosea is the consummate hero; Angel, in one way or another, is every woman who has ever lived without love." You can not read this one and not be changed forever. Hands down a 5 out of 5 stars and will now hold a prominent place in my personal library. I KNOW I will read this one again and again.