By: Francine Rivers
Genre: Christian Fiction/Romance (Biblical Adaptation)
Rating: 6 out of 5 Stars
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. . . . Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you” (Isaiah 43:1,4 ESV, emphasis mine). At eight years old, Sarah was already a broken and wounded little girl. Abandoned by her father and orphaned by her mother’s tragic death, she was left in the care of a helpless, poor drunk. Unwittingly, she was sold into child prostitution. Forced to see and do the unthinkable, it is a lifestyle that would enslave her and haunt her soul for years to come.
But God has other plans for Sarah. He plans to redeem His lost lamb. Michael, a hardworking farmer, enters the picture and is immediately taken by Sarah. Obedient to God’s call on his life, Michael marries her and continues to love and pursue her every time she runs away in trepidation. He fights hard against her betrayal and to soften her callous heart which has been closed off by the walls she placed there for her own protection. He shows her what love really is. In the end, Sarah will have to choose—will she listen to the Enemy’s voice of condemnation and shame or will she surrender her life to the only One who can truly redeem her from a sinful past?
Redeeming Love was the first book Francine Rivers wrote after she became a Christian. She says, “Writing Redeeming Love was a form of worship for me. . . . Everything in [it] was a gift from the Lord: plot, characters, theme. None of it is mine to claim” (see “A Note from Francine Rivers”). So much more than a normal romance novel, Rivers uses the book of Hosea to define a picture of God’s passionate, pursuing love for us. She also includes hints of other Bible stories and characters as well (i.e. Abraham and Sarah, Ruth and Boaz). The book is long (over 400 pages), but captivating. Rivers draws her readers into the story and compels them to keep turning the page. She also cautions her readers that this is a “PG-13 rating” book (staying true to Scripture without being inappropriate). Take your time with the story. Meditate on its truth and wisdom. Savor each chapter, but make sure you stay until the end! You won’t want to miss a moment!
I have read Redeeming Love multiple times, and its words still strike a chord in my heart and bring me to tears. I am reminded of God’s love in my own life–His willingness to take my shame for His glory. What struck me on this last reading was not to give up on even the hardest of hearts. It is my favorite book (next to my Bible), and chances are, that it will become one of yours as well!
*This book review was originally published on WonderfullyWoven.com.