Redeeming Love

01/05/2018




Publisher: Multnomah books
Author: Francine Rivers
Number of pages: 480
Synopsis: California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.  Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael Hosea obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does… the One who will never let her go.  A life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love. Over 1 million copies sold!


REVIEW


First of all: it's a retelling of the biblical love story of Gomer and Hosea, set against the romantic backdrop of the California Gold Rush.

When I first heard about this book I was totally afraid of reading it, because I hate to read things about rape or any kind of violence. A good friend of mine is crazy about this book and she convinced me that I should give a try and read it with my heart opened to understand that this book is not just an ordinary one, but a book that makes us think and see how much loved we are.


Angel is a prostitute, but not an ordinary one: she is the most beautiful and expensive prostitute in Palace. Every man that lays eyes on her thinks that she is perfect and they want to have a moment with her, even if it's for a few minutes. However, nobody really knows about her tragic and sad past, because all they wanted to see was her body and the things they could do with her.
Freedom was a dream.
The prologue is a chapter where we meet the sweet Sarah, a child who was 'loved' by her mother but hated by her father, and just because she was the child of a woman that thought she could be loved by the man she gave her whole body and soul, but he was married and didn't want Mae to have the child, but she gave birth to Sarah and all the rest of the prologue we see how much a broken heart can be dangerous.

Given to a pedofile Duke, Sarah is raped and abused, forced to learn how to 'serve' a man. Her heart was hardened because of all her past and the things she suffered while she was just a child.


Angel, her false name, didn't care about the future and she felt hopeless about being free from that life, and she just wanted to live alone and far away from men, because all they wanted was to use woman and take everything they could.
"I don't look back, and I don't look forward."
"What about now? You gotta think about now, Angel."
Angel smiled faintly and brushed her long, golden hair. "Now doesn't exist."
Besides the facts we know about Angel, we finally meet Michael Hosea, a good and devoted man of God. I must say that this character is amazing and I fell in love with him at the first sight, because I couldn't resist him haha 

He was unloading crates of vegetables from the back of his buckboard when he saw a misterious woman walking along the street, with elegance and he couldn't stop staring at her. She was fascinating.

Then, curious about the woman, he asked his friend, Joseph, about her. But what he didn't expect was to heard God's voice telling him that she was the one. The one he would get married and love unconditionally, to love as Jesus loved the church.

Crazy? Yes, totally! Michael couldn't believe that she was the woman he would get married and love, even though he knew he didn't misunderstand, because he felt that she was the one and heard, clearly, God's voice.
How was he going to make her understand he was different from the other men who came to her when he came by the same way they did? Gold. [...] Now it was clear the easiest way wasn't the best.
Michael Hosea was sure that she was the woman he would love and grow a family and he would not let her go or give up on her, so - being a farmer and with some money - he started to visit Angel every night to talk with her and in every night he was there at the brothel, Angel was more confused and angry, because she didn't understand why a man like Hosea was running after her, willing to get her out of that life, and to be his wife! If she was supposed to be free, become a wife was the last thing she wanted to be. Also she hated that he called her other names like Mara or Amanda, depending on how was her humor.

And then we start to follow their love story and how, day by day, Hosea breaks Angel's hard shell and shows her that even with all of her past she was still loved by the One and only Him could set her free from the darkness she held inside.


Well, it must look like an ordinary book telling us a couple's love story, but it's not about that! Not even close. When I'd started reading this book, as I said before, I was afraid of being affected emotionally by all the cruelty that Angel (Sarah) suffered before, but we don't exactly see Angel as just a woman, we see us on her: sinner with a hardened heart to feel God's great love.

There were moments that I closed the book and took a deep breath, because I couldn't stop crying, I couldn't denny that Angel and all the other characters was me, with my fragile heart and thoughts about Jesus.

While I'm just writing this review, I'm feeling a deep emotion growing inside of me, because I can't stop thinking that I'm Angel, Michael, even the Duke! We see a part of us in each character and I really felt Jesus' love for me while reading this incredible book.

Rivers is now one of my favourite authors in the world and her writing is so amazing that I couldn't stop reading this story.
"Did God tell you to marry me?"
"Yes. He did."
She was scornful. "He talks to you personally?"
"He talks to everyone personally. Most people just don't bother to listen."
I don't know if I'm describing my feelings in the right way, because even when I talked with my friend - Natasha, who borrowed me the book and told me about it two years ago - I couldn't find the right words to describe how I felt while reading it and how I was different when I'd finished the reading.

I loved all the story and all the characters, even the evil ones and I honestly say that this book is a really life-changing book haha It's not possible to read it and not feel the sweet presence of Jesus. Everytime we commit a sin or when we think we're not loved, Jesus comes and shows us how He loves and how His love is everything we need and He is always waiting for us to open our hearts for him. He cares and wants to listen to our voices. Even if you're Christian or not, it's perfect how Jesus is there, offering his hand so we can hold it, listening he saying "Don't be afraid."

One last thing: I do not recommend this book for young girls (a 10 years old, for example), because I think that it may have some issues that only mature women - adult - can understand and deal.

Thank you, Nat, because if it wasn't you, I wouldn't have read it and I wouldn't have this life-changing experience!

Please, give a try and let your heart opened to feel his love.




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