I can’t tell you how old I was (at least 19) or how many years it’s been (too many) since I read Francine Rivers’s classic novel Redeeming Love. But I know my season of life was different. And because of that, when I read it recently for the second time, I found a whole new appreciation for this story. And the need for a box of tissues as I read! (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from Waterbrook Multnomah through the Blogging for Books program.)
Redeeming Love is the story of farmer Michael Hosea, whom God tells to marry Angel, a high-priced prostitute in a California mining town in the 1850s. It’s based on the Bible’s book of Hosea, an illustration of God’s faithful love for His unfaithful people.
And Oh. My. Word. I was a wreck!
Angel’s life is tragic from the start. Born to a mother who is a prostitute by a married man who doesn’t want her. Rejected by family. Orphaned at 8. Sold into prostitution as a child. Hers is a story that plays out in real life for too many children worldwide. What follows is despair and hopelessness. Until one day Michael Hosea offers to take her away. He buys her freedom. To love her as a wife.
It would be easy to see this story only in terms of romantic love, to wish for a man who loves unconditionally and sacrificially like Michael. But it’s more than just a nice love story. It’s a picture of God’s love. For us. Every. Single. One.
He pursues us. Loves us. Even when we run. And betray. He patiently awaits our return.
This book has been around for 20 years, so I’m not sure what I can say that hasn’t already been said. I love Rivers’ storytelling style, and I feel like I love this particular story better now that I’m older, both in natural age and spiritual age.
If you’ve yet to read this book, I can’t recommend it enough. Biblical books like Hosea can be hard for us to understand sometimes because of names and circumstances that are unfamiliar. Rivers puts all of that into a more understandable context to convey a life-changing truth: no matter what we’ve done, or what’s been done to us, God is faithful. And He loves us. And He wants us.
Good heavens, I’m getting all teary just thinking about it.
Get yourself a box of tissues and let this story invade your soul. And wonder at God’s love.
You can read the first chapter here. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
For more about the book, including the video trailer, click here.
And would you consider taking a moment to rank this review on the Blogging for Books site? You could win a copy of the book, just for ranking this review. Find it here.