Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Christian romance
On my TBR list?: Yes
Synopsis, from Amazon:
The book opens with the Gold Rush of 1850 and its rough-and-tumble atmosphere of greed and desire. Angel, who was sold into prostitution as a child, has learned to distrust all men, who see her only as a way to satisfy their lust. When the virtuous and spiritual-minded Michael Hosea is told by God to marry this "soiled dove," he obeys, despite his misgivings. As Angel learns to love him, she begins to hope again but is soon overwhelmed by fear and returns to her old life.
Redeeming Love was better than I expected it to be. It had been on my TBR list for quite a while, but every time I got close to reading it I would be put off by the fact that it is a retelling of a Bible story. I thought it would be like a new version of Cinderella or some other familiar story -- OK as a movie, but skim-worthy at best as a book. I finally took the book off my list a few months ago, only to have a friend press her copy on me last week. To my surprise, I was able to push the story of Hosea to the back of mind and enjoy this tale without making frequent comparisons.
Another pleasant discovery was the richness of Rivers' writing. I've only been reading Christian fiction for five years or so, but I've run across a lot of simplistic prose. Like a lot of believers, I tolerated it because I wanted to read something with a Christan slant. This novel shows that a book doesn't have to be written on a 4th-grade level to be "clean". Rivers manages to introduce adult themes realistically without being graphic.
Critics of Christian romance (and romance novels in general) often say that these books set up an unrealistic expectation of how male-female relationships should be. As much as I enjoyed this book, it could serve as a perfect example for the argument. I don't know anyone who has a husband as perfect as Michael Hosea. Women would be better off treating this as an allegory with Michael representing God and His willingness to forgive rather than seeing how their own husbands measure up.
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