Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Friday, September 5, 2008

Redeeming Love

This month my book club is reading Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. Let me just say upfront that this is not a book I would have chosen to read on my own. I’ve seen it before (I even bought a copy for my mother-in-law at a used book store) but had no desire to read it.

So I go online to order the book from the library, and guess what? There’s a huge line for this book! Ok, not huge, but seeing as this is not a new book and the library has 8 copies, how is it possible that I am #5 on the waiting list?! To be on the safe side, I reserved a copy of the audio book too.

After almost 2 weeks, the audio book was available, but not the actual book. After another 10 days or so, the book came in. By that time I was into the CDs so I gave the book to my sister to read (she’s in the book club too).

Since this isn’t a book I expect most of you to be familiar with, I’ll give you a quick plot summary. It’s the mid-1800s in California – gold rush time. Michael Hosea is a devout Christian man living on a farm. Angel is a high-class whore in town. Michael is looking for a wife and believes that God is telling him to marry Angel. Angel is looking for a way out of the whorehouse and agrees to marry him. The rest of the story is how she repeatedly leaves him and he repeatedly brings her back, and how they both change over time.

If this sounds familiar to you, you know your Old Testament pretty well. Redeeming Love is a retelling of the Biblical story of Hosea and his wife, Gomer (I’m so glad Rivers didn’t keep THAT name!). From what I recall of the Biblical story, the book stays very close to the actual events in the Bible; I plan to reread the Book of Hosea before book club to be sure.

What did I think about the book itself? It was ok. I’m not really a fan of this time period, and frankly, I couldn’t really get into the story. Maybe it’s because I knew what was going to happen? I don’t know really. It's a great retelling of an obscure Biblical story that is much more readable than the ACTUAL story - and that's a wonderful thing. But as a book I'd read just for fun, I can't say that it was that great. I'm hoping that the discussion at Book Club in a few weeks will give me a deeper appreciation for this book.

Since I did the audio version, I have to say something about the narrator here. At first I didn’t like her voice – it was just a bit “off” to me. But after a while I realized her voice suits the book very well; she has sort of a twang that is perfect for the setting of the book.

The end of the audio book I listened to had an interview with the author. I learned that Rivers was a successful Romance novelist before becoming a Christian. After her conversion she pulled the copyrights for all her books and will not allow them to be reprinted. For three years she did not write anything. Redeeming Love is her first foray into Christian fiction. Is it just me or does bonus material like this always seem to add something to your understanding of a book?

Have you reviewed this one? I’d love to post your link here:


Anna said...

This isn't a book I'd read, but the interview sounds interesting. I like when authors include things that help you understand why they wrote a book or how they got their information, etc.

--Diary of an Eccentric

Amanda said...

This sounds interesting, but (like you) not really my cup of tea. I always like the author bonus stuff. It always adds a little something.

momofonefornow said...

I am with you on the extra material. When I took my intro to fiction class a few years ago I researched every author before I read the story. It created even more depth because I better understood why the author was writing that particular story. (It also helped me ace the class because my evaluations of the story had more depth than the other students that just read the story and wrote about it)

Amanda said...

That is weird. I have been seeing people reviewing this book and have actually read some great things. My sister just read it and recommended I read it. I found a copy for seventy-five cents at the library book sale and picked it up. Interesting.

Sarah said...

Whoa, what a cover! I think publishers really should pay attention to their covers. I might find this interesting, but I would find it way to embarrassing to be seen reading it!

Anonymous said...

I really liked this book when I read it probably 10 years ago. However, that being said, it would not be for everyone. I think that at the time I was ready to mull over the symbolism of the story of Hosea and Gomer, Michael and Angel, and our relationship with God. It is the epitome of agape love. I have many friends from church who feel it is the best book they ever read. I do read some inspirational fiction, but not a lot. I think it hit me at just the right time.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Anna & Amanda1 - yeah, this just wasn't the book for me, but it IS a good retelling of the Biblical story

momofonefornow - way to go the extra mile! :)

Amanda2 - I'd be interested to hear what you think of it. We usually like similar books, but maybe you'll enjoy this one more than I did.

Sarah G - To be honest, this isn't the ONLY cover out there but it IS the cover of the audio book. Look it up on and you'll see a newer, much nicer looking cover. It's a HUGE improvement!

Kay - I've heard from several girls in my book club and they say this is a great book. And I've seen great reviews of it other places. I respect it for the retelling - it gets the point of the story across very well. But it just wasn't the book for me. However I will likely recommend it to quite a few people who I think WILL like it.

Thanks to all of you for your comments!

Amy said...

I wouldn't have chosen to read this either, but it was a good retelling of the Bible story. I never got that into it, which sort of made me sad because the Amy Grant review of it made it seem like the BEST inspirational book EVER.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I read this book about a year ago and loved it. However, I do know what you mean by knowing what's going to happen - I felt the same way. However, if you liked her writing style and the rest, you should read her Mark of the Lion trilogy. Some of the best books I've ever read and I had NOOOO idea what was going to happen. I read all three books (500 pages each) in 10 days, non-stop, like a madwoman. Definitely recommended. :)

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

yearningtoread - Thanks for stopping by! I can't say that I'm a Francine Rivers fan, but some of the gals in my book club really loved this book so maybe I'll recommend the Mark of the Lion books to them!

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