An oldy but a goodie! Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers was a book I read in my early high school days, around 2007 (it was published 1991). Fast forward 12 years and I decided to pick up the beauty again and read it in a new light, as an adult. This novel is a beautiful story about God’s unconditional and redemptive love and it is such an enlightening and glorifying story.
The novel is fundamentally a retelling of a book in the Bible, Hosea. The book in the Bible is essentially about Hosea, a righteous man, being told by God to marry a prostitute named Gomer. Gomer continually returned to her lifestyle as a prostitute and did not share Hosea’s love or dedication to God. Hosea continued to love and forgive her despite her adultery.
The story focuses on a young girl, nicknamed Angel, who was sold into prostitution at the age of 8. She escapes her captor at the age of 18, with a deep-seeded cynicism and hatred of men. She is forced to resume her prostitution to survive, and soon a man named Michael Hosea sees her in the streets.
God tells Michael that Angel is the woman he is to marry. Michael is very reluctant, but he obeys God’s command and attempts to marry Angel, who rebuffs every attempt with cynicism and sarcasm. Eventually, after being beaten near death, she agrees to marry Michael and they begin their lives together.
Their path is rocked with trials and tribulations as Angel holds onto her hatred of men and desire to abandon Michael. She runs away multiple times and Michael holds to his faith, and eventually brings Angel out of her cynical ways and she begins to see God’s love in her own way. Eventually she turns her life around and gives herself to God, fulfilling His desires for her.
“I want you to love me. I want you to trust me enough to let me love you, and I want you to stay here with me so we can build a life together. That’s what I want”Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Redeeming Love is such a beautiful and epic story of the love of God and how redeeming His love truly is. It is an intense read that sucked me in from the very first word. 12 years after I first read the novel, I see it in a completely different light. The beautiful story remains the same, but my ability to comprehend and truly see the story as it is and I found an entirely new love for the book.
“Love is the way back into Eden. It is the way back to life.”Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
It focuses on God’s redeeming love and how He will continue to love us despite our sins. Many people believe they are not good enough based on past experiences, that they are somehow unworthy or tainted. Redeeming Love showcases that God has mercy on us all and that He loves us despite our inadequacies or our past.
Angel really showcases the darkness many people feel, although in a rather dramatic and intense way. She feels hopeless and unworthy and that feeling really resonated with me. She believes her past makes her unworthy and it is a large weight on her for a long time. When she finally turns completely to God and accepts His redeeming love, she finally finds herself feeling worthy and hopeful.
“She was so tightly wrapped in herself, her own misery and dark thoughts, that she was blind to everything else. Especially him.”Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
The novel is quite graphic, however. It’s hard to avoid graphic tendencies when your novel is about prostitution. Although Francine Rivers never uses graphic language, but the scenes she depicts have enough description to easily imagine what is going on. I don’t particularly remember the graphicness as a 12-year-old, however it was quite blatant as a 24-year-old. I was grateful that nothing was explained in graphicness, but the scenes are still quite heavy.
All in all, I love the book. It is a beautiful tale of the love of God throughout everything. It is quite graphic, however, and I’m not sure it’d be something I’d hand a 12-year-old to read. I’d definitely give it to late teens to adults to read, since it really does depict the ultimate redeeming love of God.