Friday, February 3, 2012

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Can God’s Love Save Anyone? Bestselling author Francine Rivers skillfully retells the biblical love story of Gomer and Hosea in a tale set against the exciting backdrop of the California Gold Rush. The heroine, Angel, is a young woman who was sold into prostitution as a child. Michael Hosea is a godly man sent into Angel’s life to draw her into the Savior’s redeeming love.

This remarkable novel has sold over a million copies and is among the top twenty on the ECPA fiction bestsellers list for four years running.

California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.

Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael Hosea obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does…the One who will never let her go.

A powerful retelling of the book of Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.

My take: 2.5 looks
That is quite a summary, huh? Written by either the author or a groupie, I would say that the above is a bit more of a love fest that I would give it.

The story of how I came upon this book: in my women's Sunday school class last week, someone was talking about the book and how her husband told her that it was making her cry so much that it was upsetting their children. I asked about the book and a member of the class took life and limb in hand to run to the church library to get me the book.

The first thing I noticed, of course, was the cover and it just made me chuckle. It is very obviously the female equivalent of Fabio and I commented that it looked like a Baptist Harlequin Romance. Well, I have to tell you, it reads like one, too. At a robust 464 pages, I never even thought of shedding a tear. Instead, I wanted to slap the heroine of the book, named Sarah/Angel/Marah/Amanda/Mandy/Tirzah. A retelling of the book of Hosea, yes, but with much more running. She flees once, her husband finds her. She flees again, her husband finds her. She flees again and probably again ... honestly, I lost count. At some point, I would have just let her work it out with God without my help. Which he did, praying for and waiting on her for three years while she sought and found God thanks to a totally different man. Poor Micheal (her husband) never got to see the joy of her accepting the Lord as her Savior.

Yes, yes, I know the moral is that I run away from God numerous times and He seeks me, forgives me and loves me just the same. I get it. I just don't want to read a tome about it. And good grief with the names in this book! Michael, Hosea, Sarah, Elizabeth, Miriam, Ruth, Paul. I would say that a light hand is not a strength of Francine Rivers.

This is the second book that I have read by this author, and will more than likely not read another.

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