Recently, this book was recommended to me by several of my friends. Everyone I talked to about it had only good things to say, and they all claimed it was one of the best books they’d ever read. I finally decided that it was something worth reading, and found myself so enthralled by it that in only twenty-four hours I had finished it, though it is not a short book at 464 pages. When Katie and I decided to start writing book reviews for this blog, I immediately thought of this book.
Francine Rivers wrote this book basically as her own loose interpretation of the first three chapters of the book of Hosea, but set in the 1805s California gold rush. In the biblical book of Hosea, God tells Hosea to go and take a prostitute for his wife and to love her and have children with her. Hosea does just that, and when she keeps running away from him, he keeps going back and buying her out of prostitution again. This is meant to be a picture of what God did for the people of Israel, whom He constantly sought after and loved and brought back to Him, no matter how many times they strayed, whoring themselves to lesser gods and idols and things of this earth.
In Redeeming Love, a man, Micheal Hosea, is similarly told by God to take for his wife a prostitute. Her name is Angel, and she wants anything but to be his wife. Much like the biblical story, she runs away from him several times, and he keeps bringing her back to him, showing her God’s love for her. Francine Rivers goes into much more detail than the Bible about the woman’s past, which is full of rape, abandonment, murder, and sin of every kind.
From the beginning, Angel was taught that it was her own fault and mistake that she’d even been born and that no one wanted her except to take things from her and prey off of her. It takes a long time for her to realize that Micheal truly loves her and that he’s right about God loving her, too, no matter what she’s done. In the end; she realizes that nothing she could ever do could stop God’s powerful love for her. It’s a wonderful thing for the reader to see her coming to salvation and struggling with understanding God’s intense, persistent, redeeming love.
For me, the best part of my experience in reading this book was that there were points where I was so frustrated with Angel for running away and for not seeing what God and Micheal were trying to show her and do for her that I would feel like yelling at her for being so stupid. And then I would realize that almost every second of every day I am guilty of that very thing. The greatest power in this book is how it reveals to the reader the fact that we are all constantly running from God, whoring ourselves to lesser things, and how much further God’s love goes for us than we could ever possibly run from Him.
I’ll leave you with this verse:
“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
– Lisa, the younger sister