03 February 2012

The Most Romantic Book...#12

Coming in at number twelve is a book by Francine Rivers titled Redeeming Love.  Okay, this book is phenomenal!  I read it when it came out twenty years ago and to this day it has stuck in my brain.  I was even talking to a friend when out of the blue she mentioned this book…and this friend doesn’t read romance!

The plot of the book is a retelling of the biblical story Gomer and Hosea.  Set in the California gold country in the year 1850, it is 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.

Of course, a story based on something biblical has to center around God, and though I don’t preach any religion, this book makes my Most Romantic List because of the power it portrays.

So, 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.  (meaning God)

This story is fantastic!  You will cry, there’s not a doubt in my mind, because Angel is so damaged, so bitter, that her redemption takes your heart and squeezes every bit of emotion from it.  I think this was the book that made me want to write angst, to make characters so flawed only love can save them.  And as I wrote A Silver Lining, a bit of Redeeming Love was in the back of my mind.

Francine Rivers is a Christian romance writer and her books center around her beliefs.  I’ve not read any of her other work but Redeeming Love has sold over one million copies.  I remember giving this book to my grandmother, Julia, and she kept my copy, but even though it’s not physically on my bookshelf it holds a special place in my heart.

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