Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
In this splendid retelling of the biblical story of Hosea, bestselling author Francine Rivers pens a heartbreaking romance between a prostitute and the upright and kind farmer who marries her; the story also functions as a reminder of God’s unconditional love for his people. Redeeming Love opens with the Gold Rush of 1850 and its rough-and-tumble atmosphere of greed and desire. Angel, who was sold into prostitution as a child, has learned to distrust all men, who see her only as a way to satisfy their lust. When the virtuous and spiritual-minded Michael Hosea is told by God to marry this “soiled dove,” he obeys, despite his misgivings. As Angel learns to love him, she begins to hope again but is soon overwhelmed by fear and returns to her old life. Rivers shines in her ability to weave together spiritual themes and sexual tension in a well-told story, a talent that has propelled her into the spotlight as one of the most popular novelists in the genre of Christian fiction.
This book will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. It is beautifully written and will keep you reading and entertained right until the end. This is a re-telling of the book of Hosea, from the Bible. Hosea was an Old Testament prophet who God instructed to marry a prostitute.
Rivers’ story tells of Angel, a prostitute who marries Michael Hosea – a very Godly man. He sees her walking past him and is breath is taken away. She is stunning. He goes to visit her at the brothel, but not to have sex, just to talk to her and rescue her. God has told him to marry her – and he finds a way. But life is not easy. Angel has always suffered at the hands of men and struggles to trust Michael at first. His patience, kindness and love start to break down her defences and she gets scared – so she runs, more than once. People respond to her in different ways. Paul, Michael’s brother-in-law hates her and wants to see her leave, yet another family consisting of Elizabeth, Ruthie, Miriam and others love her and don’t care about her past. Angel has to learn to love, to trust and to believe in God – not idolise Michael. The story is set in California in the 1800s.
I really liked Angel. She had a tough life – her mother was a prostitute, her father was a rich Englishman who wanted nothing to do with his child. Her mother than gets together with a man called Rab, but when she dies Rab is left with a child he can’t provide for. He passes her on to Duke, thinking he will look after her. He doesn’t – what he does is rape her and send her into prostitiution – at the age of 8. She manages to escape and leave New York for California, but there she is taken under the wing of the Duchess – and back into prostitution. The first good thing to happen to her was Michael, but she was hard inside, she had built many walls to stop herself from getting hurt. I could understand that and longed for her to open up and love Michael. People fought her all the way in this novel, but I loved watching her grow and change and see the good in life. I loved Michael. He had a heart of gold. Although he argued with God, he listened to Him and did His bidding. He never pressurised Angel or abused her. He was sensitive, compassionate and loving. He is the ideal man! There were other characters I liked too, such as Miriam who became Angel’s friend and helped her cope with life and Ruthie – who was just very cute. I didn’t like Paul – he hated Angel because he used her and he was a hypocrite, however he did want the best for Michael, even if he was misguided.
I would of happily had the book end half way through because during that period Angel was happy, and that was how I wanted her to stay. There are so many twists and turns in this book – it is never boring. Angel goes on a long journey with a beautiful outcome. I loved the ending and what she achieved. She changed her life around and her reaction to Duke when he caught her, God’s intervention and the outcome were wonderful to read. There were times when I sat smiling as I read this and times when I had tears in my eyes. It is a beautiful and satisfying story. It was not a quick read but every page was worth reading. I can easily give this 5/5