Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Multnomah Books, 2007
Angel was sold into prostitution at a young age and has been surrounded by darkness ever since. Michael Hosea is a man of God. When Michael and Angel cross paths one day, he hears the Lord call him to marry her. After Michael obeys God and marries Angel, they start a life together. But, with a man who seeks to glorify God in all he does and a woman who is bitter and defiant towards men, will their marriage make it through thick and thin?
I have heard great things about this book for years, but I haven’t had the chance to read it until now. And it has been in my thoughts since I finished it. I wouldn’t say it is my favorite book or the best book I’ve ever read, but it is definitely a more thought-provoking book than most.
This is by no means a lighthearted book. It deals with hard, heavy issues. The book is very honest, in that it explores reality and the ugliness in the world.
Angel has had a hard life. At three years old, she hears her father say he wishes she didn’t exist. At eight, she is sold into a brothel where she is raped as a child and forced into prostitution. As a result of being forced into living a life where she has been exposed to so much ugliness and darkness, Angel is a sad character to behold. On the surface, she is angry, bitter, and hard-hearted. But deeper down, buried beneath the surface, she is hurt, lonely, and lost.
As Michael tries to reach out to Angel and break down her walls, she resists him. Her resistance of Michael and his desire to show her what real love looks like is heartbreaking to watch.
It is hard to watch as Angel not only resists Michael, but also struggles to come to terms with the life she has had. Now married to Michael, she makes bad decisions, and her actions make you wonder why she refuses to accept Michael’s love. With a past like hers, though, she never learned how to respond to love and kindness. After being abused and mistreated her entire life, how can she?
She runs away from Michael countless times, and each time, it rips your heart out a little bit more. It is so difficult to wrap your mind around it. Why does she leave the only man who has ever loved her and not hurt her?
Michael Hosea is a man who seeks to honor God, and thus marries Angel in response to God’s calling. He is always gentle and caring. He loves her completely and wholeheartedly. Nothing Angel does or tells him turns him away from her. Through everything, Michael continues to accept Angel completely for who she is and loves her. His loving her is by no means easy for him. Many times he is distraught and trying to make sense of the turmoil in his life. One scene that tore me apart was when Michael brought Angel home the first time after she ran away. After a while, Angel went out looking for him when he didn’t come into the house, and she found him weeping in the barn. Loving her was not always easy.
Throughout the novel, Angel slowly changes. Very slowly. She learns new things, but gets scared and runs away. But, there are happy scenes, too. My favorite scene was when Michael was chasing Angel in the rows of corn on their farm. It was such a cute moment full of fun, carelessness, and levity. In a book that deals with such heavy topics, it was nice to see a moment of joy in the midst of it all.
Rating: 4 stars
This book is a retelling of the book of Hosea in the Bible. With that in mind, this book and it’s story takes on a new meaning. A deeper meaning.
Many times I found myself frustrated with Angel for doing something completely ridiculous- resisting Michael’s love, running away from him. At the same time, I was overwhelmed to see Michael love her unconditionally. How much greater, then, are these things when we realize that this is a story of God’s love for us? God loves us unconditionally. His love has no bounds. No matter how many times we run away from God, he always takes us back. In a sense, we are all Angel- running away from God’s love, not always accepting the love he holds out to us. It is humbling. And the thing is- God loves us much more that Michael loved Angel.
Have any of you read this book? How has it impacted your life?