January 1, 2000

Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers

When I got the opportunity to read Redeeming Love for review, I was sure that it could not live up to all the hype it's garnered over the years. No way could any Christian historical fiction be THAT good. Okay, it's that good. This retelling of the Biblical story of Hosea and his straying wife spoke of divine grace and redemption and that forever-kind-of-love that reaches out to all of us and never gives up.

Set in the California Gold Rush of the 1800's, we find our heroine working in a brothel as a prostitute, enslaved to the only life she's known since her mother's death. When a local farmer hears God's tell him to marry her, she must come to terms with a new lifestyle and the love this man is offering. Can she leave behind all that is familiar to take a chance on someone who promises something that seems impossible? Can she find the strength to hope again, after all her hopes have been crushed and destroyed already? Can she learn to let down her walls of defense in order to escape the horrible hell she has had to live in?

This beautiful allegory relates the agape love of God that causes Him to seek us out in our sin, draw us to Him, and be faithful to us no matter our shortcomings. The study guide included with this edition brings those lessons out, focusing on the practical applications of Michael and Angel's continuing struggles. This helps the reader to see herself in the characters, and to recognize how faithful God is even when we stray far from Him.

I would recommend this book to any of my adult friends, but especially to a ladies' book club or a Bible study group. And although the author was very careful about how she handled the sexual relations and abusive incidents that took place, they were very strong and should be previewed before offering this book to a teenaged reader.

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