August 15, 2020 07:08 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
For the month of July, I read only one romance that I rated the five-stars necessary to receive the honor being named Book of the Month. It’s an inspirational that has been held up as the gold standard, not only for this sub-genre but for the romance genre as a whole and has come to be regarded as something of a classic. It actually was a reread for me and I’m happy to report that I loved it every bit as much now as I did upon first reading it about twenty-five years ago, so it has definitely held up to the test of time as well. The book was inspired by the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer, and is set against the backdrop of California during the gold rush days. It tells the story of a young woman who was sold into prostitution as a child and hasn’t known any other life since, nor does she believe in love. However, a simple but kind farmer who falls in love with her at first sight and feels like God is telling him that this is the woman who is meant for him sets out to change her mind, a process that takes a lot of patience and persistence over the course of four years time.
Angel was born out of wedlock to a wealthy man who didn’t want any more children and his mistress, but her father abandoned them when she was still a young child, leaving her mother reduced to engaging in prostitution to survive. When she died far too soon, the intellectually challenged man with whom they’d been living thought he was giving eight-year-old Angel a better life when he sold her to a wealthy man, but in reality, she was thereafter consigned to a life of abuse and prostitution. At eighteen, she finally escaped and made her way to California, where she unfortunately fell back into the same life as a matter of survival. She ends up in the gold rush town of Pair-a-Dice, where her ethereal beauty has made her the most expensive and coveted whore in town. It’s also where she meets Michael, a man who pays his gold to visit her night after night, but who drives her crazy just wanting to talk, trying to convince her to marry him, and making promises she doesn’t trust. All she really wants is to make enough gold to get out of the business and build a little cabin in the woods for herself where she can be alone, but when she realizes that’s never going to happen, she goads the brothel’s bouncer into beating her in a moment of suicidal desperation. As she lay there wishing she were dead, Michael returns, marries her, and whisks her away to his little cabin in the woods, but Angel has an extremely long road ahead of her to find wholeness again, during which she leaves Michael several times before they finally find their HEA.
Michael is mostly a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy, a genuinely good, kind, sweet man with the patience of a saint, who tries his best to follow God’s voice. When he feels like God is telling him to marry Angel and goes to see her, she tries her best to seduce him. While Michael is tempted, he knows that if he gives in to his lust, it will only reinforce everything she already believes about men, so he must behave differently or she’ll never trust him. Even after he marries her and takes her back to his homestead, he waits a good long while before making love to her, because he wants her to be able to see it as an act of love and not just an obligation. However, every time he seems to be making headway, Angel gets scared of the feelings he’s stirring in her and runs away. Each time, Michael patiently goes after her and brings her back, until the last time, when he realizes that she’s going to have to figure things out and make a choice for herself. During the first few times she leaves, especially when she does some seemingly unforgivable things, he must find compassion in his heart for her, but as he learns more about her past, he comes to understand her deeply while also hurting for her. Michael is probably about as close to a perfect hero as one can get. He gets angry on occasion, and understandably so, but deep down, he’s a truly wonderful guy who accepts Angel as she is from the very start and never expects her to change to meet some undefined standard. He forgives her (and others) when necessary, he’s kind to everyone, he lives out his faith by showing God’s love in a beautiful and tangible way, and most of all, his love for Angel never dies no matter how bad things get or how bleak their future may seem.
This book primarily focuses on Angel and how she overcomes the horrific stuff life has handed her to finally find peace, happiness, and love with a man who adores her. She is such a tortured, tragic, and sympathetic character, and her characterization is among the deepest and best I’ve ever read. The author is masterful at showing exactly what’s driving Angel when she keeps stubbornly leaving and how hard it is for her to believe that there’s even such a thing as love, much less that she’s worthy of it. Her transformation is a gradual one of baby steps that slowly grow into bigger ones until she’s finally a whole person again. This is truly a one-of-a-kind story that expresses the genuine power of love in all its many forms, whether it’s friendship love, romantic love, or divine love, to help heal a person and turn their life around. Because it’s such an exceptional story, this book has managed to cross barriers in the romance genre and has found fans even among non-religious readers. I think a large part of this is owing to the fact that unlike many inspirational romances I’ve read, it isn’t pithy or preachy, but instead it’s a meaty story full of depth and complexity. That’s why I’m naming Francine Rivers’s Redeeming Love as my July Book of the Month. If you enjoy historical romance with a deeply tortured heroine, a hero with a heart of gold, and that genuinely expresses the redeeming power of love, then you should definitely give this book a try. Keep reading to learn how you can win a copy for your own library.
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.
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.
Read my complete review of Redeeming Love.
If you would like to win a copy of Redeeming Love to see how wonderful it is for yourself, just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. One lucky winner will receive their choice of an eBook or print copy of the book. If the winner chooses an eBook, I will gift it to them via the eBook retailer of their choice (Amazon or B & N). If the winner chooses a print copy, I will have it mailed directly to them via Amazon. Good luck!
International Entrants: You are welcome to enter my contest, but please note that not all eBooks are available in all countries due to copyright restrictions. If this is the case, Amazon does offer an option to trade for a gift card (I'm not sure about B & N). If you choose print, I can mail it to you via the Amazon website that services your country, pending availability and cost. Otherwise I will mail it to you via U. S. Amazon's standard international shipping, but it may take up to 6-8 weeks to arrive, and I may not have the capability of tracking the package.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tags: Francine Rivers