I do not typically read Christian fiction. Honestly, I’ve found a lot of Christian fiction to be cheesy, and I am a hard-core realist. Before I pick up a book, I usually have a preconceived idea as to whether I will actually enjoy the read, or find it dull. But every once in a while, a book completely surprises me. Redeeming Love was exquisite, but it took me THREE YEARS to turn to the first page.
I finally picked up Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers because it had been recommended to me by over ten people. I was tired of people telling me what to read. I was determined to prove everyone wrong, and find some flaw with this book that I had been avoiding for years. I thought it would be boring. I thought the “Christianse” would make me roll my eyes and laugh out loud.
But by the end of the Introduction, I was hooked. The story is set in the mid-1800s and details the life of the stubborn and headstrong prostitute Angel. It is (loosely) based on the story of Hosea and his wife in the Bible. I was pleasantly surprised at the way the story itself helped me read the familiar Biblical passage with new eyes.
By the second half of the book, I was straight up obsessed with the characters. I could not put it down. I ate dinner with the book cracked open in front of me, I took the book to the movies, I snuck passages at any break in my day. And then I stayed up until 4:00 in the morning to finish it. The plot was on my mind at all hours of the day, and I found myself in tears over Angel’s plight.
Then the story ended, and the sheer genius of the novel hit me like a punch in the gut. Francine Rivers has managed to tug on the heartstrings of readers for over thirty years, and this is by far her most beloved book. The setting of this novel is far removed from modern society, yet still manages to feel distinctly relatable to readers in the 21st century. It is gold.
If you are looking for a good fiction novel, read this book.
If you are biased against Christian fiction (guilty) read this book.
If you are in love with the concept of love, read this book.
If you have eyes, read this book.
It might seem long at first, but I promise it will pick up pace. Whatever you do, just keep reading. Allow the beautiful words to wash over you, and let the reality of God’s love for us inspire you.