Sunday Afternoon Reads: "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers

Dear Scribblettes, this novel is Christian faith-based and is part of a three part series I will be doing that focus on books largely influenced by different religions (I will also be looking at Muslim and Jewish faith-based novels). Should religious discussion offend you or make you feel uncomfortable, I suggest that you return to Sunday Afternoon Reads on 11th of Jan when this series has ended.

This Sunday Afternoon Read is "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. After joining my church I have access to a library full of Christian faith-based books and finally got around to having a search in there to see what the big deal was. The librarian pointed me towards Redeeming Love and said that it was a really great historical romance novel. I tried to contain my "Yeah, Right!" reflex and checked it out of our library. You know what? I actually enjoyed it.

The story is loosely based on the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer. In that story, the Lord speaks to Hosea and tells him to marry a prostitute named Gomer, knowing that she will wound his heart by being unfaithful to him. After several years of marriage, Gomer leaves her husband and children and returns to her previous position of prostitution. God then instructs Hosea to go and find her and bring her home. After searching for Gomer, Hosea finds his wife being sold in a slave auction, and although she is perceived as dirty and broken by sin, Hosea purchases her back with his own money and takes her into his home again.

"Redeeming Love" is set in California during the gold rush period of American history. We learn about the history of Angel, a prostitute in one of the temporary mining towns, through a series of disturbing flashbacks. It has not been an easy life for Angel, sold into 'service' at a young age. She now earns fame and sparse amounts of cash as the prettiest prostitute in Pair-a-Dice. A chance meeting brings Angel and Michael Hosea together and he knows in his heart that he has to save Angel from her circumstances and make her his wife. This is no white knight situation though, Angel fights him tooth and nail every step of the way - believing that she's the scum that she's always been told she is. When Angel is brought back to the farm after their wedding, sets of neighbours have conflicting views of her which just strengthens the war she finds herself fighting and she flees. The real bite of the story is in wondering whether Michael's love for her is strong enough to beat this past that keeps such a grip on her.
While having a knowledge of the biblical story can enhance your understanding of the inner workings of the characters, this story is simply enjoyable as a tale of love without boundaries and forgiveness. It's pleasing to see Ms. Rivers write a fallible character - Angel may be your hooker with a heart of gold but boy it takes some hard work to make it shine. I also liked how she showed Michael Hosea as a Christian man but full of doubt as to whether this was the path expected of him - he's human, not the holier-than-thou superman often depicted. Despite myself, I was so hooked into this story that I even started to cry when... well you'll just have to read the book and see :D I appreciate, however, that as a Christian I got greater satisfaction out of this novel than someone with atheist beliefs (or is that non-beliefs?) and that if you were looking purely for historical fiction without a deeper spiritual element, this would not be the book for you.
3.5 stars out of 5


  1. Sounds like a great read! I love the cover too. It's really great to see these kind of stories in a more modern contex - it puts the morals and ideas into a more relatable perspective.

  2. I love the story of Hosea and Gomer.