Author: Francine Rivers
Pages: 480 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Release Date: October 16, 2007
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
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.
I must admit that I have been very wrong about Christian Romance. I always assumed that it was squeaky clean and sticky sweet. Well, Redeeming Love is neither of those. It is dark and at times disturbing. Sarah was sold into prostitution as a child after her mother dies. That’s when she became Angel and hardened her heart. Now she’s a woman and the most famous prostitute in the mining town where she currently lives. She doesn’t expect more from life, but then Michael shows up at her room night after night trying to get her to leave. Why would this God fearing man want her?
Redeeming Love is all about being saved by the power of love. But it’s not just romantic love. Sarah ultimately comes to love herself and get her life back on track. She also finds God’s love along the way, and that eventually opens her up to loving Michael. Even though they spend most of the novel married, but apart, as Sarah can’t quite accept this new life. Michael is trying to show her that she doesn’t need to sell her body or use her body in any way that she doesn’t want to. But that’s all she’s known for so long that she can’t help but play the role that she thinks will help her survive. It’s very heartbreaking at first, but it was amazing to watch Angel go back to being Sarah over time.
The one thing that kept be from loving Redeeming Love was that Michael hears the literal voice of God. God speaks directly to him and tells him that Angel is the woman he’ll marry. It was very strange and distracting, but as the story moved forward, I could see why the author included it. Angel hears a voice also, but it’s self doubt which causes her to run away over and over again. Slowly this voice is replaced by the literal voice of God and Angel finds her way to becoming Sarah again.
Redeeming Love totally shattered my misconceptions about Christian Romance. While it’s not graphic, we know exactly what kind of horrors Sarah faced as a child and as a woman. She is angry and bitter for a lot of the story, and understandably so. There is a lot of darkness here, but of course, it ends very happily.