I have never read Francine Rivers before so I didn't know what to expect. This book was amazing. Taking place during the California Gold Rush, it is the story of Sarah (Angel) who has lived a terrible life for her 18 years, living as a prostitute in a poor, scrappy frontier town and Michael Hosea the man who sees her in the street and is determined to make her his wife. He rescues her from a brothel after she is beaten and restores her back to health physically but finds it impossible to heal her spirit. She plays tug of war with Michael and God until the very end. I read this book in two days and wish I had slowed down. It is based on the story of Hosea in the Bible. The story displays God's powerful love for his people and the struggle Angel and Michael go through when they don't want to listen to Him.
The beginning of this book is very dark and hard to read. The main character is subjected to one heartache after another and then abused in ways that are unimaginable to most.
The book then skips ahead in time and meets up with the character who is now older, jaded, and hopeless. In the midst of this, her hero enters the scene and a overblown and completely unrealistic romance novel begins.
Other characters enter the book. Some show love and others continue to victimize her. Two of these new characters, one "good" girl falls in love with the man who continued to victimize the main character. Here is where I gave up on the book. I finished reading it because it was a book that my book club was reading, so I made it to the melodramatic end that was only fit for a cheap romance novel.
While this book may bear the title "Redeeming Love", there was nothing that I loved about it and it possessed little redemptive value.
This is an incredible book. The whole story is an awesome picture of God's redeeming love for all of us. Even after finishing the book, I'm still thinking about it and can't get it off my mind. One word of caution: You may want to skip reading the Prologue of this book if you are sensitive in nature. The Prologue tells you how the main character, Angel, became the way she is, but you don't have to read the Prologue to understand the rest of the book.
I absolutely loved this book. The story is amazing. A story of true love, kindness, patience, heartache, conflict, pain, selfishness, self-hate, redemption, acceptance and overcoming. In the beginning we learn that Angel is a prostitute and a man who loves the Lord falls in love with her and through a series of events makes her his wife. I couldn't put this book down. I started it one Saturday afternoon when my daughter was sick and I couldn't put it down. This is a must read!
SHORT REVIEW:This was a fantastic book, but a word of caution: this book is not for teenagers, for anyone who struggles with lust, or for anyone who does not wish to be exposed to some very mature sexual concepts. While the book is not graphic, it is mature. Exercise discernment.
LONGER REVIEW:The book has been heralded as wonderful - as it is - but it contains some very mature subject matter, mostly sexual.
I would not recommend this book for a teenager, for someone who is unmarried, or who wouldn't wish to be exposed to mature sexual concepts. Like the actual book of Hosea, it does deal with prostitution - but becomes more descriptive. It deals with marriage - including the intimate aspects. And there is more than one instance of rape, pedophilia, etc. Evil and wickedness is not at all celebrated, and I wouldn't even say that it is gratuitous, but it isn't "glossed over" either.
This is a book that should be approached with discernment - and a thorough biblical understanding. It is not at all a replacement for the healing counsel of the Holy Spirit. There is also a risk of idolizing the main male protagonist, and feeling disappointed with "real men," just as many romance novels tend to create expectations near-perfection in our minds.
Again, this book is wonderful. The allegory for Christ's role as our kinsman-redeemer, as our faithful lover, is beautiful. The characters' thought processes are real, and familiar. But it should be approached with wisdom, and again, biblical understanding.