It’s only normal that my first ever official book review should be this one. I mean I’ve read it like 3 times since I discovered it last year and I’m pretty sure I’ve not seen the last of it.
Redeeming Love with its engaging, thought-provoking, and suspense filled narrative kept me asking “What’s holding her back?!” and by her, I’m referring to the book’s main character, Angel, the most sought after and most expensive prostitute of the Pair-a-Dice brothel in San Francisco during the 1950 California Gold Rush and her introduction to a different kind of man. Okay, I’m going too fast. Here’s what the book is about.
Michael Hosea, our lead male comes to town to sell his farm produce when he notices Angel for the first time, and he’s recovering from the shock of her beauty when he receives confirmation in his spirit that she’s to be his wife. Soon enough, he discovers she’s a prostitute, talk about a shocker! Ha! After some hesitation, he puts ups a ruse with his hard earned money to get her attention and try to convince her to marry him but our girl is too broken to listen to anything from a man’s mouth.
Thankfully, providence avails him another opportunity which he grabs to finally make her Mrs Michael Hosea but she does not take this new change well as everything around his life seemed to be a reminder to how “unsuited” she is to be a wife.
“I’m not staying here with you! Look mister if you knew even half of what I’ve done, you’d have me headed for Pair-a-Dice so fast….”
Even his nurturing and professions of love does not faze her. Angel senses danger in the affection and love he offers but the only reply she knows is to run away to where she’s her own master, prostitution. She only sees futility and reminders to a past life that cling to her where Michael sees hope and change.
Call Michael a saviour or what?! He keeps going back for her every time even when she breaks his heart and trust. You’d think this would make Angel open her arms, wrong! Just when things begin to settle, she off again, quickly revealing worse secrets each time to keep Michael away. They weather many storms and when it looks like an epilogue’s in sight, God plays a strange card on the couple. He was finally ready to leave the backstage and introduce himself to Angel however, HIS demand seemed too high a price than any of them can afford.
Meet the main characters
Angel’s only a little girl when she’s forced into the world of immorality and every single man she meets after, only served to increase her hate for the opposite sex; from her father, her mother’s boyfriend, Duke, the paedophile and the owner of the brothel she was first sold to and every other man that paid high to sleep with her. Too bad God is also “male” so he was certainly on her hate list.
Angel’s story is that of a woman who has received forgiveness but is afraid to reach out for it because she cannot forgive herself. She doesn’t need anyone to call her dirty names because she does a good job of doing so on her own. She does not care about God and snares at the mention of him after all, where was HE when she was sexually messed up through her growing years? She finds safety in her past and keeps running to it even though it’s a life she hates. Like a hook, it refuses to let her go.
Then there is Michael Hosea. He’s that epitome of valour, the more I read the book and noticed his reactions and reflexes in situations, the more I was resolved that his kind of man is rare find. He is not afraid of being the one always giving; patiently waiting for a response from Angel. He’s forgiving and understanding. He seems like a perfect man until you peep into his head and see that Angel in all her imperfectness is a refining fire for him. He never judges her and even though she compares herself to him often, he is quick to reassure her. It reinforces my belief that every man is sculpted to fit a specific mould. That God paired them together; HE knew he could count on Michael to do the needful. I believe Angel was not simply running from his intercessions and teachings but the Spirit she could feel in Him, the essence of the Kingdom he represented. I was almost mad with God I must confess. Why would HE allow his son pass through such pain in the hands of Angel?
I like that the book’s written in the 3rd person narrative so we get deeper insights. I love that we can hear the Holy Spirit giving Michael instructions and judge for ourselves how well he was obedient.
The book is a compendium of different themes. First is love of course, but worthy of note, the God-kind of love, one that is scarce. Like Michael says, “My love isn’t a weapon, it’s a lifeline, reach out and take hold…” of sacrifice, forgiveness and justification. Angel will make you try to reach for her neck but it just makes your heart go out to her and others in her situation. It puts us in the seat of sinners and helps us see how to reach them. My favourite scene is a dream she has towards the end of the book; I felt like I was caught in an embrace of love with her.
A little advice
Do you know that irrespective of the heart wrenching pain that is Angel’s life, she never once shed a tear? Francine Rivers left that chore to us to us, so keep your tissue box close by and ensure no sharp objects is handy, so you don’t end up stabbing your phone. You’ll also mirror Michael’s confusion and exasperation as he pulls his hair.
Then there’s the heart work as compassion wells up in you like a river. You’ll have the option to respond to the call for intercession for lost souls from deep within.
You know how you read Songs of Solomon and you’re wondering “Why is Bro. Solomon behaving like this because of woman? Well, I believe it shows what great love should look like. Then there’s this lady that seems to be shying away from him, that his beloved? I’m like “Sis, what do you mean you’ve gone in for the night that you cannot stand to open the door after you just said you loved him?” By the time the sister finally stood, he was gone. I was shaking my head at the “beloved” when I understood that she’s actually me (and you as well)…
We’re often giving our beloved Jesus excuses and keeping him standing in the cold yet we profess to love him. He doesn’t want a charade marriage like Michael and Angel did in the beginning but the real thing. It seems HE’s always the obsessed lover pleading for a chance. That’s exactly what Redeeming Love is exactly about! If you’ve not yet found this type of love, beware! Your relationship standards are about to go off the roof.
This is the first book that comes to my mind whenever anyone asks me for a recommendation because I believe it teaches on the foundation. Redeeming Love is Francine River’s first book after she became born again and returned from her writing sabbatical in 1991. Maybe that’s why you can just smell the power on it? You can get your own free PDF copy if you wish.
I’m rating this book a 9/10. Believe me when I say it’s worth it.