Years ago, I was in a non-fiction reading rut. Maybe it was the years I'd spent in Bible college with my required reading being heaving subjects on Christian Living that had me trapped in the mindset that if I wasn't reading a book with highlighter and pen in hand, I was wasting my time. Or maybe it was just that I hadn't read any good fiction books in years, but whatever the case I hadn't read a book for pleasure in many years. Several friends recommended Francine Rivers' "Redeeming Love" and they even billed it as the best book they'd ever read. Skeptical and with low expectations, I borrowed the book from a friend. Two chapters in, I couldn't put it down. I stayed up well into the early morning hours for several days in a row, devouring this book. So when I saw a new 20th century version was being released, I jumped at the chance to read it again and own the book. Despite the years in between reading and re-reading this book, it still captivated me from the very beginning.
"Redeeming Love" is a re-telling of the Old Testament book of Hosea, only this time the setting is California's gold country in the 1800's. Central to the story is Angel, a beautiful young woman who was sold into prostitution at an early age. She has learned to despise men, selling herself because she knows no other way and feels trapped in her lifestyle. Enter Michael Hosea: a godly man who feels the Lord telling him to marry this harlot whom he barely knows. Though it makes no sense to Michael, he is obedient to God and sets out to woo and marry Angel. This proves to be a difficult task, given the years of walls Angel has built around her. Time and time again, Michael shows his love-- God's love-- for Angel in the way he relentlessly pursues her and cherishes her. This is a beautiful story of love and redemption (hence the title), but even more than that, it is a breathtaking illustration of God's love for us, his wayward children. The parallels between Angel and myself are undeniable. Of course I've never known a life of prostitution, but I have been guilty of abandoning my first love (God) in pursuit of selfish desires. Likewise, the similarities between the character of Michael Hosea and God are beautiful and all-consuming. God is a God who pursues and loves his children, even when we deny and abandon that love.
I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a good read that will not only entertain but will also speak directly to your heart.
Though I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purposes of this review, the opinions are my own.