“Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers.
5 out of 5 stars.
Redeeming Love is the retelling of the book of Hosea in the Bible. It’s a gritty tale of one man loving a woman who can’t seem to find her way out of prostitution. Francine Rivers really made this story come alive: Michael Hosea is a living, breathing person whom you can’t help but love, and Angel is the beautiful girl who has been mistreated since childhood. While reading this book I found myself inwardly yelling at Angel to stop hurting Michael, then I realized what Francine did: she made a character (Angel) that is so like me. The whole book in an allegory of our relationship with God and how we so often hurt Him and turn our backs on Him for no reason at all. We believe Him to be indifferent to our plight, yet He feels it even more than we do! I was amazed at how artfully Francine Rivers accomplished this; I still am in awe even after reading it several times.
Redeeming Love is achingly beautiful; and yes, it hurts at times! I was in pain (yet satisfied) with how things unfolded. Why does Angel have to hurt him every single moment of their time together? I felt so bad for Angel, but at times I wanted to whack her over the head with a frying pan for being so cruel to Michael. I understand why she did it, but still! Ahhhhh, and Michael! Oy, what didn’t that man do right! He was the epitome of the perfect man; no man like him exists in the world, but if you find one, let me know!!! He was so kind and wonderful, yet so unattainable!! I know he is supposed to be the Christ-like figure in the book, but come on, Francine, you are making me want what I can’t have! You’re killing me!
So much happens in this book that it cheapens the story to try and explain it in a one page post, so I won’t try. This is a great book, and even if Michael wasn’t in it (but, thank the Lord he is!) I would still love this story. It is so profound and impacting I recommend it to almost everyone. I will say, though, that it is extremely gritty; the life of a prostitute isn’t pretty. I wouldn’t recommend young readers to pick this up. I picked it up in my mid-teens and at times it was a bit much for me, but it was still good. With that said, Redeeming Love is in my top ten favorite books. It is a great way to understand the book of Hosea more, and even your relationship with Christ. I loved it!