by Francine Rivers
Available in hardback, paperback and as an audiobook. Mutnomah, 2005; ISBN: 1590525132; 464 pages.
I love historical fiction, but I am not a fan of pioneer-time books. That said, I read this massive novel in less than three days. No I didn't go on vacation -- that was with both kids under foot and the house still clean. THAT'S how good this book is!
I picked up the book because I love this author. I first met her through The Last Sin Eater and then the Mark of the Lion Series. As I learned more about her, I learned about this book. It was the first book she wrote after becoming a Christian. Actually, after she came to know the Lord personally, she didn't write anything. She couldn't. Nothing came. So instead of writing, she spent three years studying the Bible. After that time she sat down and this book is what transpired.
It is a vivid re-telling of the Old Testament book of Hosea. A righteous man marries a prostitute because God tells him to. What transpires is a horrible and beautiful love story, an allegory of God's unconditional love for His people and His church. Redeeming Love takes place in the mid- to late-1800s. I was amazed by the character development. Each player is true and multi-faceted. The story is intriguing and convicting. Since reading it I have lent my copy to two people (both of whom loved it, by the way). I can't wait to get it back so I can read it again.
Be forewarned: this is unlike most Christian fiction. It's not a soft, sugar-coated story with curtains of propriety. If this were a movie, it would be rated PG-13. It is explicit in some areas, but never without need. Were it censored, the story would lose much of its impact.
Final Thoughts: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. A fabulous book that personifies God's love. It should be read again and again.