Title: Redeeming Love
Author: Francine Rivers
Narrator: Kate Forbes
Genre: Historical Fiction
Audio Release: Feb 1, 2007 by Recorded Books
About the Book:
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 Hosea 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 come 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 can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does…the One who will never let her go. A life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.
Redeeming Love is the PERFECT book to have a book club over. There is so much that can be taken away from an allegorical, personal, theological, and psychological perspective. As I was listening to this book I was constantly thinking analytically about the relevance to real life that this book holds. This book is an absolute MUST-READ for Christian Fiction fans.
While reading this book I couldn’t help but look at the psychology behind the actions of the characters. On the surface Angel seems like a hardened soul that refuses to let anyone in and would rather be a prostitute than a farmers wife. Yet when you dig deeper and discover more about her story, you see that the hardness she portrays is merely a shield for the protective shell she has placed over her heart after a lifetime of abuse and neglect. What she doesn’t realize is that while she’s trying to protect herself from all of the bad, she’s also preventing herself from healing with the good. The lies she’d been fed about who she was and what her value as a person was from the time she was little formed an identity within herself that she was unworthy of love and irreparably broken. She was incapable of picturing happiness because she could only see herself as a burden.
There are so many layers to her development as a character that there’s simply no way as a reader that you can look at her as “just a prostitute.” But isn’t that the way that we can look at others around us? How often do we see people “living in sin” for whatever reason, and instead of reaching out to them in love and compassion, we place judgement on them and only reaffirm the lies Satan has already fed them through their life experiences? How do you know if their current situation isn’t because of abuse in their past? In order to have healing in the present there needs to be healing for the past. We don’t (and shouldn’t) approve of sin, but we need to see past the sins to the broken hearts of the people. This is a perfect story to show the power of this.
What’s another great thing about this story is that no one is painted as perfect. Michael is an incredible hero but he is also a sinner in need of God’s grace. He is compassionate and loving towards Angel, but he also has anger he struggles to control. He tries to be selfless but he also has moments of selfishness. He is able to admit that he needs God’s help to be the man and husband that he’s supposed to be.
This is an incredible story and absolutely a MUST-READ for any Christian fiction fan. I’ve read several other books by Francine Rivers but don’t know how this one has slipped by me over the years. It’s immediately being placed on my favorites pile!