January 14, 2013 by Dayo Benson
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to write book reviews on my blog. This is partly because I’m always shocked when I get messages from my readers about how they wish there were more Christian writers. There are absolutely tons of Christian writers, many of them far better than myself. I’m just a beginner. One of my favourite Christian authors is Francine Rivers. She’s one of my favourite, not because I read all her books (I don’t), but because she wrote one of the best books I have ever read in my life (this is includes non-Christian books). And I’ve read plenty.
Redeeming Love is the story of a prostitute, Angel. Angel has really lived a hard life. Your heart will break for her as you read this book. And just when you think you know about all the awful things that have happened to her, Francine hits you with more awful things from the poor girls past. I mean, just how much does one woman have to suffer? The hero in the book is called Michael Hosea. He’s a Christian and he wants to marry Angel. He is really cool. He’s good for Angel, but she doesn’t know it. I’m all for freedom of choice, so at first I was thinking he should just give her a break, you can’t force someone to marry you, but well, it’s all good (desperately trying not to give any spoilers here).
Why I love this book
- It’s different from your average Christian book. A lot of Christian authors tread a little too softly around certain issues, but Francine just goes for it. The book is realistic about the life of a prostitute and the life of a husband and wife.
- It’s the story of Christ and the church. Angel represents the church and Michael represents Christ. I read some negative reviews about the book on amazon, and one reviewer was saying they didn’t like the fact that Angel was naked in some scenes. Well, uh, she wasn’t just naked for the sake of it. And there was nothing explicit at all. I think she just removed her clothes to show how a Christian should approach God, i.e. we need to bare all.
- It’s based on the book of Hosea. After I read Redeeming Love I went and read the book of Hosea and it’s really a powerful book that’ll make you want to be more faithful to God.
- The use of names is really artistic. I loved how Michael called Angel different names in different situations. It was beautiful.
- The ending was very moving, for me anyway. It’s one of the most life changing books I have read. Reading about Angel’s journey to spiritual freedom and liberty was so inspiring for me.
- The book encouraged me as a writer to write whatever is on my heart and not be hung up about being ‘safe’. Obviously it’s not about being shocking just for the sake of being shocking. It’s about being true to God and being realistic.
I was an aspiring writer when I read this book and I was green with envy when I finished it. It’s that awesome. I made lots of my friends read it. My brother even gave in and read it, which is saying something because he doesn’t read. Huge props to Ms Rivers.
The book synopsis is:
A Story of Love That Won’t Let Go – No Matter What!
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 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 comes 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 no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does…the One who will never let her go.
A powerful retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.