Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love
by Francine Rivers

Genre:  Christian Fiction
Published:  7/11/97 by Doubleday Religious
Pages:  464
Format:  paperback
(Don't you love the cover??  There is a more updated cover now available, but this is what the cover of my book looks like, so I thought I would share it!)

My Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

Redeeming Love is one of my most favorite books of all time.  I have read it at least ten times, and I never get tired of it.  I don't read a lot of Christian fiction, which may seem odd if you know me.  As a Christian and as a lover of fiction, you would think I would love the combination of those two things in Christian fiction.  Yet for the most part, I find Christian fiction to be cheesy, unrealistic and contrived.  So I generally stay away from it (however I'm not against it completely, if anyone has any GOOD Christian fiction suggestions for me!).  

Francine Rivers has been one exception for me in the world of Christian fiction.  I have read and enjoyed most of her books.  She writes flawed, real characters and intriguing stories, and while her writing can be a little cheesy at times, I still like her work.  She is not afraid to write about the real, sin-filled world and about the everyday struggles of all kinds of people.

Redeeming Love is a retelling of the book of Hosea.  Set during the California Gold Rush, it is the story of a prostitute named Angel and a farmer named Michael Hosea, who is commanded by God to marry Angel.  No matter how unfaithful Angel is, no matter how many times she goes back into the world of prostitution, Michael continues to chase after her.  He never gives up on her and never stops loving her.  The result is not only a beautiful love story but a magnificent picture of God's unconditional love for his people.

If I were to get picky and find something to complain about in this novel, it would be how Rivers feels the need to explain the ways in which this fictional story parallels the biblical story of Hosea and the prostitute Gomer.  I understand that Rivers wants her readers to understand her message and the biblical connections it has, however, I think the connections are fairly obvious.  Taking the time to explain the biblical parallels in the novel didn't feel natural to the story.  

This is one of my biggest frustrations with Christian fiction.  When trying to tell a story with a message, many authors work too hard to explain the message in the story, leaving the reader with little room for their own thinking (and often resulting in a story that feels contrived and forced).  While I understand the importance of the message, I want to be able to figure out its meaning on my own and think for myself.  There were times when Jesus used parables to illustrate his message, but he did not always give a clear explanation.  I wish Christian fiction writers would follow this example more frequently, allowing readers to discover the message of the story on their own.

But now I am off on a tangent.  Back to the review at hand, despite my petty complaints, I LOVE this book!  I recommend it to every single person that I know.  I even made my husband read it!!

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