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Redeeming Love

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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.

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. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, 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.

A life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.
--back cover

479 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1991

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About the author

Francine Rivers

135 books15.6k followers
New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers continues to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her numerous bestsellers include Redeeming Love, A Voice in the Wind, and Bridge to Haven, and her work has been translated into more than thirty different languages. She is a member of Romance Writers of America's coveted Hall of Fame as well as a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Twitter: @FrancineRivers

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5 stars
202,530 (68%)
4 stars
56,711 (19%)
3 stars
22,571 (7%)
2 stars
7,438 (2%)
1 star
5,433 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 16,967 reviews
Profile Image for Auntee.
1,280 reviews1,380 followers
March 24, 2009
I'm not even going to attempt to review this one because I doubt that I could do it justice. Besides, there's over a thousand reviews of this book on GR (hard to believe--I must have been one of the few people who haven't read this book)! Anyway, it was definitely the best book I've read all year, and probably one of the best books I've EVER read. It was easy to read (the story flowed very smoothly), yet emotionally, it was very difficult to read. Parts of the book just tore me up inside, and I had to take frequent breaks to wipe my tears. I loved the broken and bitter prostitute heroine, Angel, and the saintly, patient (too good to be true) farmer hero, Michael. But to categorize them that way seems so unfair, because they were so much more than that.

I guess this book could be called religious fiction, or inspirational romance, but don't let that scare you. It's based on the bible story of Hosea and Gomer, but you don't have to be up on your bible studies to enjoy this one. And it gets just slightly preachy at the end, but you won't care because you'll be too wrapped up in Angel and Michael. The book deals with some really horrible and heartbreaking stuff (child rape, prostitution, incest)(but not in real explicit terms) and just when you think you've read the worst, something else is revealed that will break your heart all over again. But please try to get through those moments, because there is a beautifully written romance, too, about unconditional love, faith, and hope. I must have cried buckets while reading the last 100 pages, but it was worth it. I don't think I'll forget this story for quite a while--5 stars!
Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
October 11, 2014
Utterly heart wrenching. Gripping. Riveting. Extraordinary...I could go on and on and still not justify the magnitude of this story's brilliance— what it means, what it stands for, and how deeply it has affected me.

Reading Redeeming Love was an intensely humbling and inspirational experience. It isn't about drama or angst or sexy loves scenes...it is a powerful, eye-opening story focused on faith and redemption; on rising up from the dust of despair and finding yourself worthy. It's about the unparalleled ways love and faith can conquer all, and I could not have been more pleased with this loving and fulfilling journey.

Sarah, aka, Angel is a beautiful, damaged woman who remains a prisoner of a past that heartlessly sold her into prostitution as a child. She was abandoned, abused, and alone, and my heart shattered for her. Selling her body was all she'd ever known...so when Michael attempts to show her an honest life, she is untrusting and feels unworthy to receive it. Angel had a quiet strength and I was completely blown away by her transformation. Her quest for freedom was relentless and she easily became one of my most beloved heroines.

Michael, in my opinion, was saint-like. His patience and love for Angel was astonishing, and his faith in himself and in God--inspiring. I've never before felt such a strong sense of love and acceptance through a character. Angel and Michael's connection stands as a pure example of love in its most honest and unconditional state...exactly how it's meant to be.

The writing simply wow'd me. It was eloquent and its grace brought this story to life. I felt every pain and heartache displayed within these broken characters, as well as every rejoice.

This was my first Christian Fiction novel and I was initially unsure what to expect. Although faith in God plays a big role in this story, having faith in oneself is an equally apparent theme—one to which anyone can relate. The element of religion was heavily pronounced, but I didn't find it to be preachy — in fact, I found it comforting and enlightening. It wasn't over-the-top; it was delicate and its message seemed to transcend the structures of organized religion. Freedom does not come from without, but is instead brought forth from within.

My song for Sarah

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free...

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Book Stats:
▪ Genre/Category: Christian Fiction/Romance
▪ Steam Caliber: Clean
▪ Romance: Emotional and heartbreaking. Beautifully evolves.
▪ Characters: Expertly composed. Patient, kind, loving hero. Tragically broken, but lovable heroine.
▪ Plot: Centers largely on redemption, faith, and the healing power of love. Substantial depth.
▪ Writing: Accomplished and exquisite execution. Inspiring narrative.
▪ POV: Third person perspective.
▪ Cliffhanger: None

Profile Image for Karla.
986 reviews1,093 followers
December 5, 2012

5 Inspiring Stars!! I'm soooo happy!! Where's a box of tissues when you need them?? I have to listen to the end again. Oh my, I can't stop crying!! Michael...he is the power of love!!


No review I could ever do, would give this book the justice it is so deserving of! You have to experience it to understand all the meaning that it holds. Thank you to KarLyn who was the first to tell me about this book, and then all my other friends who encouraged me to read it. It's an amazing journey I will NEVER forget!

Profile Image for Lexie.
27 reviews40 followers
September 26, 2011
I recieved this as a part of the First Reads program.

I was repulsed by this book.

It's supposed to be a Christian romance novel. Full disclosure, I'm an atheist, so I wasn't expecting to exactly fall in love with the book. But I found the concept of the story of Hosea being retold during the Gold Rush interesting, or else I wouldn't have picked it up.

So you may ask, why was I so repulsed by this book? Looking past the forced marriage, rape, beatings and child rape described in the book. Also looking past the flat, one dimensional characters, that are by the way, stunning and physically beautiful (how boring is that). Not to mention, looking past the horrible source material that is the Old Testament. I'm repulsed by the ideas that this book reinforces for women. I'm disgusted that this drivel was written by a woman. And after reading some reviews prior to recieving the book, I'm appaled that some people found this book moving, positive and uplifting. The plot device of using these characters to represent god and his unconditional love that he supposedly has for his children was weak. This was represented by the two main character's and Angel. So god talks to him(I'll leave that one alone) and tells him to marry her. He has a priest marry the two of them while she's pretty much unconsious. She runs away after being forced to work for and take care of him. I wonder why she would run away. So she finally meets a family who is willing to take care of her. She's in a good place. And then he comes back for her. She for some unknown reason, goes back to him. The worst part is the ending, because she wants nothing more than to please him and bear him a son.

This book does nothing more than subjugate women. In my own opionion, so do gods and religions, but that's a different story for a differnt time. What positive message is there in this for anyone? Be a good wife and devote all your time to making babies. I think we all know there is more to life than that.

Please don't waste your time reading this book, get something else that will celebrate life and the worth of an individual, or something that you will learn something from. I'll be trading mine in at the local book mine, to get something of more worth.
Profile Image for Natalie Vellacott.
Author 18 books858 followers
January 30, 2018
I didn't get very far into this before realising that it was R rated. Luckily I got it free so haven't wasted any money and can happily throw it away. One of the most troubling things about this book is that there are a number of reviews from non-Christians commenting on the graphic nature of this book and stating that they wouldn't have thought the writer was a Christian. That alone explains why Christian authors need to be careful with their content, they are representing Jesus.

I am aware that this is meant to be based on the book of Hosea in the Bible. However, Rivers presents her main character as a prostitute prior to her marriage...

What are the moral implications of God’s command for Hosea to marry a prostitute? It appears best to see Gomer as chaste at the time of marriage to Hosea, only later having become an immoral woman. The words “take yourself a wife of harlotry” are to be understood proleptically, i.e., looking to the future. An immoral woman could not serve as a picture of Israel coming out of Egypt (2:15; 9:10), who then later wandered away from God (11:1). Chapter 3 describes Hosea taking back his wife, who had been rejected because of adultery, a rejection that was unjustifiable if Hosea had married a prostitute with full knowledge of her character.

The first few chapters dealt with child rape, child trafficking, brothels, drunkenness, adultery, death.....that was enough. If Rivers was trying to relay events in Hosea, I don't understand why she felt the need to include child rape and trafficking in her narrative. It just makes a tragic story even more depraved. The point of Hosea is God's love towards unfaithful Israel despite their waywardness. It is not focused on the graphic exploits of Gomer.

I don't recommend this book which is full of graphic detail for shock value. For those who will no doubt comment that the book of Hosea also contains graphic scenes of a similar nature. It doesn't. The whole focus is on Israel's unfaithfulness and God's pending judgement. It is not on the details of Gomer's sin.

The popularity of this book and some of the comments are representative of the "God as love" or some kind of "divine romancer" beliefs that are prevalent, as if God needs us and is desperate for us, rather than the other way around. The author writes that God says, "Though you deny me, I love you with an everlasting love." That is not in line with Scripture, where God does not love with an everlasting love those who deny Him. God hates sin (and sinners) and demands obedience. Yes, God loves us and forgives us when we sin if we approach Him through trust in Jesus, but that doesn't give us a licence to sin or to presume upon His grace. Redemption (the supposed theme of this book) should lead to a complete transformation of heart and life.


For those seeking a cleaner read by Francine Rivers (and to prove that I'm not just being deliberately controversial) try The Atonement Child [https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...] or And the Shofar Blew [https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...] or even The Last Sin Eater [https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...] but avoid Bridge to Haven [https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...]. The Scarlet Thread is mediocre [https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...]. Enjoy!

Check out my Francine Rivers shelf!

Profile Image for Christy.
3,813 reviews32.4k followers
January 16, 2022
5 stars
"Love cleanses, beloved. It doesn't beat you down. It doesn't cast blame. My love isn't a weapon. It's a lifeline. Reach out and take hold, and don't let go.”

Honestly, I almost never read historical romance. It just doesn’t interest me as much as contemporary does. I saw this on my libraries page and it had been recommended to me in the past, so I picked up the audiobook. I’m so glad I did. This book was fantastic and I loved it so much!

This book takes place in California in the 1850’s. Michael is a farmer who goes into town to sell some of his things, and that’s when he sees Angel. Angel’s life has been hard and even though she’s young she’s been through so much. She is a prostitute who has been owned by others since a young age.

Michael feels called to marry Angel and even though she’s resistant to the idea, eventually she comes around. Michael treats Angel well and shows her what real love and partnership is. She doesn’t know how to accept this and never feels good enough, and it causes issues between them. No matter what, though, Michael never gives up on her.

Redeeming Love is, above all, a story of unconditional love. It’s based on the bible story of Hosea and Gomer which is a parable of God’s love for us and his willingness to always take us back, no matter what our mistakes.

Angel/Sarah and Michael’s love story was beautiful and I was on the edge of my seat through most of this story. I didn’t know how things would turn out, but by the end I was so happy. This is a clean/inspirational romance and it gave me so many feels and had such an amazing hero and I adored it so much.
Though fallen low, God raised her up, an angel.
Profile Image for Pakinam Mahmoud.
750 reviews2,899 followers
January 13, 2023
رواية كلاسيكية وفيها حتة رومانسية يمكن تكون مش واقعية في زمانا الحالي..الترجمة معجبتنيش أوي كمان..
علي الرغم من كل دة زائد حجمها الكبير إلا إنها رواية جميلة..كإنك بتتفرج علي فيلم قديم وعارف ايه اللي حيحصل بس مستمتع في نفس الوقت..
يعني حسيتها مناسبة للجو الكئيب بتاع اليومين دول.. رواية تدعو إلي الحب والتفاؤل والأمل إن بكرة حيكون أحلي رغم كل الحاجات الصعبة اللي بنمر بيها في حياتنا...
Profile Image for Kathy.
2,051 reviews588 followers
October 14, 2019
I think the purpose of this book was overshadowed by the very dark subject matter. A lot of people have called this a Christian Romance, I find that very hard to believe. The story is about a young girl sold into prostitution at the age of eight who later is rescued by a man named Michael. The books goes into shocking, disturbing detail of the sad life she led. She run’s away from her devoted husband multiple times, which also got old. The whole thing was very depressing and I only continued to read hoping it would get better. I also didn’t like that her husband was suppose to be so understanding yet was still sleeping with her before she even loved him or before they really had a decent relationship. If he really had respect for her and what she had been through he would have waited until she was ready. The book was way too long and way too gloomy. For the subject matter and details given, I would give it an R rating. I wish I hadn’t bothered reading it.
37 reviews9 followers
August 17, 2012
There are many things, good and bad, that could be said about this book, but I have only one thing to say.

Forced sex is rape. Every time. When her brother in law drives her through the wilderness and commands her to have sex with him or he will abandon her there, he is using physical and emotional force. That is pure rape.

What makes me sick is that she has to "find forgiveness" for this, that he never repents, that the book never recognizes rape for what it is. Especially after all the rape and systematic sexual abuse this woman grew up with.

This sounds like rape in the real world, where the victim is blamed and the real sin goes unnoticed and unaddressed. It's time to wake up and call it what it is.

It also deeply disturbs me that so many people read this book and do not see this sickness.
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,336 followers
March 23, 2017
Hm, hard review to write! I appreciate the story of redemption Rivers set out to tell, but I didn't like how she went about it. The story was riveting at first, drawing me in, so that I read the first 100 pages without even setting it aside. But I had to lay the book down to complete a task, and as I did it, I realized that I was feeling...dirty.

Truly, a great deal of the book is focused on sordid and dirty details. Even after we are away from the subjects of child rape, human trafficking, auctioning of women, and seduction, it talks a great deal about nakedness and marital relations. I didn't like what I'd gotten into, frankly. I also didn't like how Michael tried to control her every thought and action in an attempt to hold onto her and not let her go.

It wasn't a strict retelling of the story of Hosea, but I felt that choosing to give Michael the name of Hosea was too forced. Yes, we have him losing her three times. We don't have her doing so because of wanting to return to the life she knew. Her situation is portrayed as very bad, and instead of having Michael a bright light of God still chasing her like the hound of Heaven, we have a very flawed man not fully understanding who she is past her protective walls, a man letting her run back into independence because he labors under a misconception of what she's gone to do. This isn't an illustration of the redemptive side of marriage, where the man is to show what Christ is willing to do for the church...Michael failed her at the end. He gave up on her and stayed on his farm in discouragement, instead of chasing after her and making sure she is safe.

The real, biblical Hosea kept after his wife, chasing her down and dragging her out of sin even when she made the choice to go back into it. Hosea was a picture of God reaching out to sinning Israel and dragging her back to a clean life.

Sarah's story is a powerful one. I felt that it often went too far into the descriptions of what she was feeling...thus, instead of giving the facts, it presented images and drew out emotions where bare facts would have been much less sensual. We didn't have to go down into the depths to feel how revolting her life was. We didn't have to spend two chapters on her being sold at the age of eight and raped by a monster, over and over again, over the next number of years.

So, in the end, it fails as an allegory; Michael doesn't chase after her quite as the real Hosea did; Sarah isn't wanting to return to a life of sensual fulfillment as Gomer was. Also, it tipped over the edge more than once into sensationalism, ending in being more like a soap opera than like a story focused only on the redemption of a soul and a lifestyle.

I welcome thoughtful comments...I'm quite willing to explain my thoughts further, but don't want to spend too much time on the review.
Profile Image for Eva-Joy.
511 reviews37 followers
December 11, 2021
I know that this book is practically worshipped in Christian fiction circles but I there were a couple issues in it that really angered me - hence, the two star rating. If you love this book, you'll probably want to skip my review...but if you enjoy a thoughtful negative review (like me, lol)...read on!

(Thought I'd start with the positives.)

-Francine Rivers is a good writer and I went through the 400+ pages of Redeeming Love rather quickly because of that.
-Angel/Sarah was a good character. I liked her and wholeheartedly sympathized with her.
-Miriam was also cool.
-It's a retelling and retellings are (usually) awesome. I did find the fact that Michael's last name was 'Hosea' to be pretty on the nose (along with Michael drawing direct parallels between the book of Hosea and his situation. *eye roll*). But I still enjoyed the retelling aspect.

(*cracks knuckles*)

-Michael Hosea. HE ANNOYED ME TO NO END, PEOPLE. I feel like Francine Rivers put herself in Angel's shoes and then created the 'perfect' hero to sweep her off her feet. Michael was unrealistically perfect...and yet awful at the same time. For starters, I HATE how he calls Angel all sorts of different names: Mara (because she's bitter - GUESS WHY, DUDE?), Tirzah, Amanda...ugh. It was like he was trying to create a woman in his mind and kept changing her name to match his ideas of Angel. Super control freakish.

Then there's the fact that he never gives Angel the benefit of the doubt (more on that in a bit) and always thinks "she's so awful and has done such awful things" BUT he never (as far as I can remember) adds "but we're all sinners - including me - so I shouldn't put myself on a higher moral plain". Ugh.

-The focus on sex. Okay, I get that there's going to be quite a bit of focus on sex because Angel was a prostitute and she doesn't trust men and she hates the thought of intimacy with any man. But EVERYTHING in Michael and Angel's relationship was about the physical attraction and Michael 'manfully' restraining his lust for Angel (and then vice-versa). Yeah, yeah, Michael's constantly all "I don't just love your good looks/gorgeous body, I love you for you" but his actions and thoughts contradict that all the time. It got really tiring, really quickly.

-Voices in the characters' heads. So, 'God' constantly talks in Michael and Angel's heads. I personally believe that God doesn't audibly talk to people ever since his Word was completed so that made me roll my eyes. But the more disturbing thing is the OTHER voices that the characters (mostly Angel) hear. Negative voices and since the positive ones are supposed to be God, I can only assume that the negative ones are demons. Or Satan himself. Which presents a whole new set of theological problems that I'm not going to get into. It's just disturbing.

And then the worst thing...


Okay, let me set the scene: Michael's brother-in-law, Paul, comes to visit. He recognizes Angel as a former prostitute and freaks out. Totally looks down his nose at her. When she tries to run away, he takes her with him to drop her off at the town she used to work in. (Because he doesn't want her around Michael.) On the way, he stops the wagon and tells her that she has to pay him for the ride...and in such a way that leaves no doubt as to what kind of 'payment' he expects. Angel technically says 'okay', but in such a way that she's trying to shame him into saying no...but he goes ahead and has sex with her anyway. She believes she doesn't have a choice in the matter (and if she'd refused, he'd almost certainly have raped her). So can we just all agree that she was raped? Yes?

So, Angel ends up going back to Michael. Michael figures out what happened but instead of laying into Paul, he basically ignores him. He blames Angel for what happened and doesn't even bother to get the full story from her (even though he asked her to go into great detail about other events in her life). Paul blames Angel. And Angel blames herself. There are no charges pressed against Paul and Michael doesn't even seem really mad at him (after the initial discovery).

But you know what makes it even worse? A new family shows up in the area and they have this super sweet, awesome, sixteen-year-old daughter named Miriam. Angel and Michael agree that she needs a husband (this is the 1800's, so 16 wasn't too young?) and Michael says "What about Paul?"

NO. NOT PAUL. He raped your wife and you don't even care enough to do anything about it! (Admittedly, Michael doesn't know all the details but he should have given Angel the benefit of the doubt AND laid into Paul until Paul admitted everything.) But Miriam ends up marrying Paul and even though Paul kind of repents it's still awful. He's a rapist/philanderer and I loathe him.

And Michael, to be honest.

So, yeah, please don't read this book.
Profile Image for Amy | Foxy Blogs.
1,409 reviews970 followers
January 15, 2022
Re-read on 1/15/2022
Listening Length: 17 hours 17 minutes.
I'm so excited that the movie comes out next week.

*Just finished doing a re-read via audiobook this time (September 2020). Still my all-time favorite book. I'm excited that next year there will be a movie of this book releasing.

**Read this book about 10 years ago. Re-reading it now! (March 14th, 2013) I finished and this book is still my all-time favorite book! Deserves more than 5 stars.*

This book is based on the love story from the Bible of Hosea and Gomer. Gomer is a prostitute and Hosea is a Godly man told to marry her. It's their struggle (she finds it hard to turn away from the life she has always known and basically born into).

This is the ultimate love story!
I loved reading about Michael & Angel's love story. There were so many things I wanted to highlight throughout this book.
One of my favorite lines was: "Hello, Sarah. I'm very pleased to meet you. Finally!"

Also this written on the cross was very touching:

Though fallen low
God raised her up
An angel.

The song Amazing Grace reminds me of this book:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Michael is definitely my book husband. He isn't someone you just date. He is someone you marry.

Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,377 reviews4,625 followers
December 20, 2014
Please note: I read the Kindle version which apparently is the clean Christian version. The original paperback is what I should have read. Darn.

4 Angel Stars


This is a Christian based love story about a prostitute finding redemption and spirituality with her farmer husband. This book quotes a lot of scripture and the story itself is based on the Bible story of Hosea and Gomer.

Set in California in the 1950’s during the gold rush, Sarah is working as a high priced prostitute after years being owned since she was just eight years old. She catches the eye of a farmer named Michael. God speaks to Michael and tells him that Angel/Sarah is to be his wife. Michael sets out to wed the closed off Angel and offers her a home and freedom.

"Love cleanses, beloved. It doesn't beat you down. It doesn't cast blame. My love isn't a weapon. It's a lifeline. Reach out and take hold, and don't let go."

Michael and Angel/Sarah were wonderful characters and their love was epic but somewhere around 78 percent the story went pretty preachy for my tastes. Nonetheless the writing was strong and it is a nice story of redemption and spiritual rebirth.

”Though fallen low, God raised her up, an angel.
Profile Image for Grace Arango (G-Swizzel Books).
1,213 reviews654 followers
July 12, 2020
I am no longer a supporter of this book.
I can't get past how much the main female protagonist is talked down to and slut-shamed by her own husband (and that's not even all).

Yes, I am a Christian but that shouldn't be an excuse for why I should endorse this book and I'm tired of being told I should.

p.s. I am expecting your hate comments.
May 14, 2022

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I am not religious, so my review of this inspirational romance will be coming from the perspective of a secular reader. Our theme read in the Unapologetic Romance Readers group for the month of May was "christian romance," and REDEEMING LOVE was actually my nomination. Francine Rivers is a name that gets bandied around a lot, not just in the christian fiction groups, but also in the historical romance groups in general. I was curious to see what she was like. As soon as I began reading this book, I literally had two people message me to inform me that this book allegedly takes two forms: the 1991 version and the 1997 version. I apparently have the 1997 version, which was edited to remove swear words and explicit love scenes to make it religion-friendly, which is definitely the case in my version. All sex scenes are very much fade-to-black, or in the case of one scene, ends with the hero and heroine soaring towards heaven - metaphorically, I'd imagine. Unless I somehow picked up a paranromal romance book without actually catching on.

Sarah/Amanda/Mara/Tirzah/Angel is a prostitute who was sold into the profession against her will as a child and then raped. Over the years she has become bitter and cold; it's her only defense against her growing despair at sleeping with men she doesn't like in a prison gilded by the gold dust of the Californian mining town she's settled in. On one of her walks, Michael Hosea sees Angel and hears God tell him that this is the woman he is destined to marry. When he finds out what she is, he throws a mini-hissy before pulling up his britches and delivering Angel the news. She is not amused, and rebuffs him multiple times. When he marries her, she's actually unconscious from a beating.

Much of the book is Angel learning to deal with her guilt and self-hatred. Her bitterness is exceptionally well done, and the pain she feels is warranted. The epilogue of this book is straight out of a bodice ripper, and the more I found out about her backstory - neglect, abuse, rape, assault, incest, probably PTSD - the more I sympathized with her. No matter how frustrated I felt with her as a character, I always felt that her actions were in line with her character. It takes a long time before she's able to trust Michael, and when she does, it happens in stages. She trusts him with her body and her well-being long before she's willing to let him have her heart.

This story is apparently a retelling of a bible story about two people named Gomer and Hosea. I have not read the original story, so I'm not sure how accurate or true the retelling is. I will say that the story manages to stand on its own fairly well and I was engaged for the majority of the book. It was in the last quarter where I feel it begins to fail a bit, as God appears to drive Angel away from Michael because she views Michael as a god instead of Him...and he drives her right back to the man who raped and abused her, which seemed...cruel? Then one of Angel's friends tells her that she has a prayer box to remind her not to be self-sufficient, but to rely on God instead, and that whenever there's something she wants to do something about she just writes a note and puts it in the box...right. I didn't mind the way God's voice was written in this book, however, and I thought it was clever how what I assume was the devil took the voice of Angel's abuser. What better way to turn her away from the path of self-betterment than to take the voice of the man who made her feel as if she were beyond redemption in the first place? I also thought that the way the religion was written in this book is probably suitable for the time period in which it was written (1850-ish), because most people in the 19th century were religious, and it formed the backbone of their social circles in many cases.

Honestly, my two biggest pet peeves were that epilogue and the fact that Paul got an HEA. The epilogue annoyed me because I felt like it wasn't realistic. I get that it was intended to be a miracle, but I really did not like it. I also really did not like Paul. He ill-treats her for 95% of the book, and then at the end of the book she apologizes to him. Ooh, I saw red when that happened. I kept thinking to myself, "If this were a bodice ripper, Paul would be killed in a stampede of cows, or in a cave-in while trying to steal someone else's gold." But this was not a bodice ripper, so Paul accepts Angel's apology, condescends to give one of his own, and gets his stinking HEA (the bastard).

In spite of its flaws, REDEEMING LOVE is a good book, and I think secular readers will be able to enjoy it too (probably more so if they can find copies of that elusive 1991 edition). I'm very glad I finally got around to reading a Francine Rivers book. She is a good writer, with a sense of characterization and pacing, and absolutely beautiful descriptions of nature. Yes, religion is a definite focal point in this book but not to the point where it's utterly preachy, either. 4/10, would read more by this author later. Her Mark of the Lion series looks especially interesting, and I'm hoping I'll be able to get a copy of that on the cheap. I love Ancient Rome.

3 stars
2 reviews33 followers
September 13, 2011
رواية تضع أمام القارئ حقائق بالغة الدقة عن الفرق بين المقاييس البشرية والمقاييس الألهية في التعامل مع الأحداث التي تعترض حياة البشر . وتكشف الحكمة من العذابات والصعاب التي تعصف أحيانا بحياة الأنسان والتي يقف العقل عاجزا عن استيعابها أو فهمها.ما لا يفهمه البشر بشكل عام تكمن وراءه حكمة الهية وخير عميم . ولا يقوى على استيعاب متناقضات الحياة وأهوالها إلا من تسلح بالإيمان العميق .

تعاملات مايكل معاها, وتعاملاتها مع مايكل, هم صورة حية لعلاقتنا مع الله الذي لا نستوعب محبته وقبوله الفائق لنا مهما كان حالنا.

إن كل كلمة في القصة لهي درس عميق يري فيها القارئ نفسه مكان “سارة” ويلتمس حب الله في شخص “مايكل” البطل
Profile Image for Karen.
805 reviews1,011 followers
February 20, 2016

She thought she had been saved by his love for her, and in part she had been. It had cleansed her, never casting blame. But that had been only the beginning. It was loving him in return that had brought her up out of the darkness.

Wow. So much to say about this book. And I don’t even know where to begin. The emotions incited were overwhelming. My chest still hurts from the feelings I have. I must say, I don’t cry often when I read. And when I do, it is more often out of sorrow and pain. But this book made me cry out of sheer joy. It chokes me up still to think about it. Very inspiring read.

This story follows the life of a girl who has believed from her earliest memories that she was a mistake. Not meant to be born. A burden to everyone she encountered.

And as she grew up, her beliefs were reinforced time and time again. She lost any hope she had of love and happiness in her life. She’d had to trade those frivolous needs for mere survival. And she knew deep down to the bottom of her soul that those things were not meant for her.

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All they saw was her beauty, a flawless veil wrapped around a frozen heart, and they were enthralled. They looked into her angel eyes and were lost.

It was the 1850’s, and the California gold rush was in full swing. And it wasn’t long before Angel found herself in the midst of chaos.

Enduring the ship alone to get there was enough to take her sanity. The freedom she thought she would find upon her arrival had quickly turned into a fight to survive. Penniless and alone, she was quickly drawn right back into the life she had tried so hard to escape.

There was no freedom. There was no happiness. Not for her. Not ever. But then something happened. And his name was Michael Hosea.

Now this was a man who was told by God, that he should marry Angel and deliver her from her bondage. But Angel wasn’t buying it. The more he tried to convince her, the more convinced she was of his insincerity.

What was it about this man that got to her? She preferred the numbness to this stirring of emotion. Hope was torment. Hope was an enemy. And this man was a thorn in her side.

Until fate eventually gives her up to him, just like she knew it would… but she wouldn’t go easily.

She was the blackest night, and he the starlight piercing it, creating an unfolding pattern in her life.

This book was a struggle for one woman to overcome the power of her own self worth. And in a way, it proved that although food and water are needed to nourish our bodies, they may not be as important to our survival as faith and hope and trust.

She stared at those aristocratic hands, hands without calluses, pale and manicured. Beautifully shaped hands that were capable of unspeakable cruelty.

She remembered Michael’s hands, large and strong, clearly used to hard labor. They were callused and rough. His hands had looked so cruel and yet been so gentle. His touch had healed her body and opened her heart.

I don’t want to say much more. I will say though that this one will go straight to my favorites list. I’m sorry, I know this review is lacking in so many ways… but the book is definitely not. I will leave you with a few quotes, and photos, and my updates photos as well.

I cannot recommend this one enough.
BTW... my update photos are better. ;)
Profile Image for Arlene.
1,156 reviews641 followers
August 18, 2014
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers has undeniably earned a coveted spot on my top bookshelf of classically flawless stories. This is a book that I will probably find myself reading over and over again until it simply falls apart at the seams. Such a beautiful love story that I could not separate myself from both mentally and emotionally.

I read this book while I was traveling, and I truly don’t know how I made my connector flights or found my departing gate terminals, or even who sat next to me on the airplane. Forget all the flight instructions about cabin pressure, oxygen masks and floating devices, I was lost in my book as I was more concerned about the turbulence in Michael and Angel’s life and their ultimate destination than anything I was experiencing at the moment. I think I must have sighed a hundred times from heartbreak and angst for these characters and forget about keeping track of my facial expressions, but I treasured every moment irregardless of what people around me must have witnessed.

First off, one thing I must note about this book, and it’s probably the one small element that held me off from reading it sooner than I did, or reading it at all for that matter. The book is categorized as Contemporary Christian Fiction as it’s based on the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer. Wait!! Don’t let that turn you off just yet. Just give me a few more moments to share its fabulousness; I swear I’m not a religious fanatic (See?? I’m swearing!). But before I move on let me explain my reading preferences.

I pick up books for fictional journeys, normally young adult, paranormal, and dystopian. For me to pick up a book with a religious/spiritual tone, well… let’s just say I��d never think that would happen, and I’m just being honest. Secondly, I’d be lying if I called myself a devout anything… Christian or Catholic. Nope, that’s not me… the devout part that is... so when the situation feels preachy, I get uncomfortable. I’m not saying I have absolutely no faith… not the case at all. I just wouldn’t normally read a book about religion, faith or spirituality. And, I’m not going to feel guilty about that because God and I have our private convos, and let’s just say… we’re good. Okay, so keeping that in mind, I still picked up this book and I was wowed… Not in a spiritual sense mind you. It was more like it showed me how when you really love someone, you’re willing to sacrifice a piece of yourself and forgive your partner’s grievances no matter how much it might hurt sometimes. I saw it from more of an emotional perspective rather than a spiritual sense. So if I missed the mark… oh well… it was mine to miss.

Overall, this book does a masterful job of blending love and betrayal, hope and despair, self-destruction and ultimate redemption. I fell in love with these characters as Michael and Angel experienced a turbulent journey towards trust, hope, love and ultimate faith. Michael Hosea was the true angel in this story for the number of times he forgave Angel’s transgressions and painful, ongoing betrayal. He was such a gentle and trusting soul and just an all around, too good to be true person. His faith in God and his belief in his purpose as dictated by a higher being were heartfelt and poignant. As for Angel, for all of the mistakes and sins she committed, I still held a soft spot for her and cared for her character deeply, and that never wavered. My heart broke when her back-story was revealed, and I read about how she was betrayed, destroyed and used. No matter how awful her choices were and how badly they hurt Michael, I still wanted to come to her defenses. What an emotional ride!

Another thing I want to share about this book. It has one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve ever read. There is a part in the story, right after Angel betrays and abandons Michael (and not for the first or last time) that he takes her to an unknown destination. She is frightened that he’ll hurt her as punishment, and their journey through the dark forest to get where they were going was intense. He ultimately leads them to the crest of a mountain and he points to the moon… yes, that ball of cheese in the sky, and he holds her tightly. After resisting him for some time, she finally stops to look at the beauty around her as the hours pass, the moon descends and the sun begins to set. He doesn’t say much, but he shows her the hope held in the renewal of a new day and the absolute beauty around you if you just stop to look and listen, rather than destroy it or pretend it doesn’t exist; and he simply tells her, “This is the life I want to give you.” *tear...sob*

Am I a total sap if I admit it reminds me of the song Moonlight? Noooo, not the Barry Manilow version… more like the Jason Castro rendition. :) So for me to quote a sappy love song, you know I was moved by this book! Gah!!! *head desk*

I’ve been pegged as being a sucker for melodramic love stories. Well, I’m good with that and willing to own it because it’s books like Redeeming Love that remind me some of them are just worth it. Absolutely worth it! There are some books you want to convince everyone to read and then there are some that you want to keep to yourself because you’ll be disappointed if someone bashes to pieces something you just absolutely adore. I’ll tell you right now, I loved this book, but if it doesn’t gain traction by many, I’ll feel comforted that it’s safe and treasured on my bookshelf.

Now here are the lyrics to Moonlight and I’ll just end with that. :)

Midnight, not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory, she is smiling alone
In the lamplight, the withered leaves, collected my feet
And the wind begins to moan

Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days, it was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life, and I mustn't give in
When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory, too
And a new day will begin

Burnt out ends of smoky days, the stale cold smell of morning
The street lamp dies, another night is over, another day is dawning
Touch me, it's so easy to leave me, all alone with the memory of my day in the sun
If you touch me, you'll understand what happiness is
Look a new day, has begun

*sniffle... sniffle... tear... tear*
Profile Image for Mona M. Kayed .
275 reviews254 followers
January 21, 2014

قرأت هذه الرواية لأول مرة في يومين ، ثم أعدت قراءتها بعد ذلك أربع مرات على مدار ثلاث سنين ، بساطتها و عمقها تجبرانك على الولوج في الأعماق الإنسانية كما لم تفعل من قبل ..

كلماتها مفعمة بالتسامح و المحبة غير المشروطة ، لا أحد على وجه البسيطة يملك الحق في اتهامك أو تصنيفك ، لا أحد يملك سلطة على نفسك ، قد تكبلك القيود لكنك وحدك تملك مفاتيح أقفالها ، و حين تنهي قراءتها تتفهم تماماً أن معظم آلامك كانت نابعة منك أنت لأنك لم تكن قادراً على مسامحة نفسك و لم تتمكن من استيعاب طبيعتك البشرية المجبولة على الخطايا ..

يحدث أحياناً أن تنتزعك الشدائد من نفسك انتزاعاً ، تفقد على إثرها القدرة على المواصلة و تغدو سقيماً في أعماقك، كافراً بكل النعم المحيطة بك ، لكن حياتك قد تنقلب إثر صدفة ، مجرد صدفة تلقي في طريقك حباً عظيماً و تسامحاً أعظم ، صدفة تهبك الراحة التي تنشد حتى لو ظننت في داخلك أنك لا تستحقها .. كل ما يتوجب عليك وقتها أن تفتح نوافذ قلبك للشمس و أن توطّن روحك لاستقبال المحبة ، فبالرغم من كل ما حدث ، أنت إنسان من حقك أن تحب و من حقك أن تكون محبوباً ..

ببساطة ، هي رواية مناسبة لمن يبحث عن الاختلاف ..
Profile Image for Eastofoz.
636 reviews342 followers
April 12, 2009
This is a difficult book to rate because at times it’s a 1 and then a 3 and I can even see how readers could give it a 5 star rating. It’s an inspirational romance that at times is quite heavy on the religious aspect in my opinion. If the idea of a kind of self-sacrifice to the extreme that doesn’t seem to benefit anyone apart from God (but even then that’s debatable) appeals to you, then you’ll probably like this book. I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but I could appreciate it.

It’s not the greatest writing in the world. It’s very simple in style and reminded me of something like the Good News Bible where Biblical verse is written in a more modern, accessible way with a simplistic approach to what is otherwise complicated religious dogma when you really look at it. The relationship between the two frontier families is a bit too utopian but fits in with this striving-to-be- like-God ideal and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think you have to like reading about that sort of “wholesomeness”. There’s a note from the publisher that says it’s a PG 13 novel and maybe for people who read inspirational romances it is but I didn’t think so. There was one very brief disgusting scene but given the situation and the period I thought that was misleading to brand it PG 13. There is virtually no physical intimacy in this book, apart from the odd kiss, and any sex is glossed over leaving you wondering if they had sex or not. The violence in the novel is treated the same way and I think it’s a disservice not to “show” the reader what the author is seeing. You get these one liners about horrific beatings, great sex on a very spiritual level but no detail. The author shows a lot about God but not enough about the h/h together as a married couple. Emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy make for better rounded characters I think and I felt short changed not to get all that. The book could probably be a good 4 ½ stars if this aspect of the writing had been developed.

The hero and the heroine are very well-drawn. Michael is a true saint and if you took away his devout belief in God he’d make one of the best romance heroes around. He gets kicked in the teeth so many times but he still keeps coming back for more. He reminded me of poor Job at times. His self-sacrifice skirts the incredulous and I still can’t see what he got out of it during those years of waiting. His character’s endless patience reminds me of Sarah McCarty’s Asa in Promises Linger. As for Angel/Sarah, she is such an irritating/stupid woman. She has heaven in hand and she keeps throwing it away. Her life is a nightmare and it’s a wonder she never killed herself to get out of it, but I had a hard time understanding that after so much unconditional love from Michael that she felt too she ended up leaving him.

It was difficult to believe all this love at first sight and God speaking to these people in mysterious ways. It’s the Old Testament mysterious mean God in this story at times who takes everything away and you get to live in emotional hell. Why I don’t know and that’s what I really didn’t like about this book from a romance perspective. Michael’s a good guy why keep testing him? Angel has been through hell and back why have her leave her haven incessantly? I guess you could say that they both had things to do first before they could be together but I think they really wasted some very valuable time that they could’ve been better spent together.

The epilogue is quite moving and God finally decides to give something back apart from just his love which is supposed to be the true reason for living, but I didn’t really see what kind of happiness it brought these people because without each other they were horribly sad and lost.

If you take the novel as a retelling of the Book Hosea(what little I know about it) it’s pretty good, but if you read it as a romance you may be disappointed. So two stars for romance, four for the retelling of the Book of Hosea for me.

FYI: If devout believers who see God in everything as well as true faith being the only way to find happiness in life bother you, you may want to pass on this book.
Profile Image for Ivan.
417 reviews279 followers
July 15, 2017
DNF @ page 50

I was supposed to read this to page 200 as punishment for lost bet but I'm gonna be dishonorable scum and just bail out of it because I just can't go on with this. This book is probably good if you are into this kind of stuff but religious romance about redeeming love for anti-romantic, cynical atheist like me was just torture.
Profile Image for ♡Karlyn P♡.
605 reviews1,209 followers
April 25, 2009
wow, a very powerful story! I listened to this one on my iPod. I tried so hard not to cry (especially toward the end) but I finally had to pull over and wipe my eyes when it ended. So much grief, redemption and joy. A fantastic story that drew me in and kept me glued.

Its a historical romance set in mid 1800's gold country region of California. Angel is a damaged young woman working a brothel and struggling with many horrors from her past. Michael is a devout Christian who believes God wants him to marry Angel - a soiled dove.

Apparently this is a retelling of a bible story. I think this may be only the second Christian themed novel I've ever read, which means its the first one I ever finished. While it was very inspirational it refrained from being preachy.

Its not a light read, and at times was even depressing. But the writing was so spot on and the characters so real I couldn't stop. And it does end with a great ending. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to crawl into the book to talk with Angel, hug Michael, slap his brother, kill a bad guy, shelter a person down on their luck...etc. I can see why it has such high ratings by sooooo many people. But my next book will be a light read. I don't think I could take two books like this in a row!
Profile Image for Oceana.
632 reviews830 followers
January 16, 2022
This book will always be the first time I saw God’s voice in a story that spoke directly to my heart’s longing to know His love for me.

I’m doing a LIVE-SHOW to discuss the contents of this book and their impact on SUNDAY JANUARY 23! Join me on YouTube at 1pm PST!!!
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,859 reviews5,634 followers
August 12, 2013
I can safely say that I should have never started this book.

I have heard about this book for ages. It pops up from time to time on friends' feeds, and with over 70,000 Goodreads ratings and over 1,600 Amazon ratings, I'd say it is a pretty popular book. When I saw this come up on NetGalley, I was hesitant to give this a try. However, the Kindle book costs $9.99, so I figured this was my only shot to see what all the fuss was about. I asked a few GR friends if they thought that this book was appropriate for someone who isn't Christian or religious, and they all said yes, that it was more of an uplifting love story than anything else.

I have to respectfully say that they were wrong.

This book is very heavy on the religious themes. There is a case of insta-love (as dictated by Jesus) and God saving a woman from a life of despair and prostitution.

The theme of the story is based on the Book of Hosea from the Bible, where God told the prophet, Hosea to marry a prostitute.

"Go marry a prostitute and have children with her."

I can see how people who have a religious background and like the idea of Jesus leading them to their soul-mate would love this book. It is a love and God conquers all type of story. However, religious content aside, this book is just not my speed. The beginning of this book is actually very sad and depressing. It features child abuse and neglect, all of which I dislike reading about. Also, technically speaking, I wasn't too impressed with the writing style. It often dove into the realm of "cheesy" and "eye-roll-inducing". Besides, the insta-love is annoying in any setting.

I won't do a long, picky review of this book. I didn't finish it and I'm not rating it because I recognize that I am not the target audience for this story. Despite what people might say, this is 100% a Christian book and should be read only by those that enjoy religious fiction. I'm glad that many of my friends have loved this one but this certainly isn't for me.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Peter Derk.
Author 24 books335 followers
February 17, 2012
Okay, before getting too far into reading this, understand that I only read this book because it was required of me for a book club. I wouldn't normally review something I felt this unkind towards because I would not finish it. Nor would I expect to like it.

Fair warning.

Redeeming Love is a part of the genre we like to call "Inspirational Fiction" where the word "Inspirational" is a more friendly and inclusive way to say "Jesus-y" or "religious" or, as I like to say it, "Jesus C fiction where the "C" stands for "Centric" AND "Christ."

And in this case, I don't mean that Jesus is an important figure in the characters' lives or that their belief system informs their decisions. I mean that god literally speaks to the characters. In case you're wondering, god's words are differentiated by being in bold. On the plus, you can just flip through and still catch most of the god stuff. I kind of feel like god would have the graphic design sense to have his own font, but what do I know?

To briefly summarize, Angel is a prostitute, and Michael is pretty much the best guy ever who comes along and hears god's voice telling him to marry Angel, which he does. They go back and forth a bit, she leaves him three times and bangs his brother, Paul, on the side of the road. A family traveling to Oregon comes across their land at one point, and Michael invites them to live on the land with them. They have children who Angel likes, and that brings ups the fact that Angel has undergone some sort of barroom hysterectomy, which apparently didn't take because the epilogue explains that she inexplicably has kids anyway, Paul marries one of the cross-country travelers after he and Angel make peace, and all accept god as being The Man.

I can sort of understand the appeal of this book in some ways. It's compulsively readable in the sense that you can read 100 pages in a sitting, easily. Lots of stuff happens, and there's a pacing to it that keeps it all moving.

But aside from that, I really have a problem with a lot of what this books sees as love.

For starters, if there was a god who literally spoke to me and told me that a particular person was "the one" that would simplify things quite a bit. Seriously, if god used his god-to-brain telephone to let me know that someone crazy, Courtney Love let's say, was the one, then I'd really have no choice but to pursue that person because nobody else would make me equally happy. I probably wouldn't wait until a pimp beat the holy bejeezus out of her to make my move and ask her to marry me the way Michael did in the book, but I'm just saying the path is a little clearer-cut.

But life isn't that easy. It's really not, and perhaps Courtney Love is the one for me, but I don't suspect that she is, and therefore I won't be busting my ass to try and convince her that a Derk/Love wedding is the ultimate fulfillment of god's plan. If it were, the good news is that we could at least all come together on the fact that good is crazy and has very bad taste in Fleetwood Mac covers.

One of the unfortunate, difficult things about love is that there will always be uncertainty. I've talked to people who have been with lots of partners, and they're never sure. I've talked to people who married the only person they've ever dated, and there's uncertainty there too. I'm not saying it's the kind of uncertainty that causes infidelity or wandering or whatever, but part of loving one person exclusively is accepting a certain level of doubt and learning how to put that aside or work through it. Or spending a lot on flowers and tennis bracelets.

The one kind of person I've never talked to is the kind that says god literally told him or her, in an audible voice, who "the one" was.

So if god tells you directly that California's hottest prostitute is the one, I would highly suggest getting a second opinion. St. Francis maybe? Is that a guy?

Now, I don't know enough about the romance genre to say whether this is endemic within it, but I have seen my fair share of romantic comedies, and there is a sort of love narrative that I don't approve of.

A lot of romcoms push the assumption that Person A can love Person B so much that it doesn't really matter that Person B doesn't love Person A. And in the romcom world, it is acceptable to pursue someone with a naked aggression that would never be acceptable in real life.

Imagine some of the things that people do in romcoms to show their love. If someone came sprinting through Manhattan traffic to catch you on the other side of the street, wouldn't you question his sanity? If you caught a woman peeping into your house from a position in a high-up tree branch, wouldn't you consider updating your security system to include some sort of lasers or robotic dogs? If Lloyd Dobler was playing a boombox outside your window, would that really change your feelings about him? (actually the correct answer to that one is "No" but only because you loved Lloyd Dobler immediately and always)

The point is, I don't belive in loving someone so much that they eventually love you, and maybe some couples end up together because one person engaged in an untiring pursuit, but I would think it's very rare that several rejections end with an equally shared love. Wearing someone out to the point that it's easier to say Yes than No is not really the same as making them love you. It'll do in a pinch, and if you're a lot better at being annoying than charming it's worth a shot, but overall it's not the best plan.

Let's talk about characters for a minute.

Michael, the main guy, couldn't me more flat if he were digitally rendered for the Atari 2600. All this guy does is listen to god, and then forgive his wife for everything. Relationships have to be about forgiveness to some extent, but I don't think you should forgive your wife for banging your brother on the side of the road for no apparent reason. Or your brother, for that matter (unless, as we discussed earlier, your brother happens to be Lloyd Dobler, in which case who can blame them?). I mean, if my brother banged my wife, I think this would warrant, bare minimum, a heated discussion over a dinner that I don't even finish because I'm too busy being mad at my brother and wife equally.

There is somethig about this Michael character that we are supposed to see as very strong, but to me comes off as the worst kind of weak. His entire purpose in the book, the entire scope of his life, is putting up with a woman who takes a very long time to actually love him. He apparently has nothing in his life and is a simple, empty vessel waiting for the right woman to come along and not only make him complete, but be his Wizard of Oz and give him brains and a heart and whatever the hell else those other losers got.

This character is a bad example for men and women alike. Men should not strive to be like him because his forgiveness extends so far that it would make any real person extremely unhappy. Also, following his example means living a life that is devoid of purpose outside of having a romantic relationship, which means you are an empty, soulless person, and good luck attracting someone else if you have no interests, no passions, and nothing about yourself that you've built or cultivated.

He has no personality, nothing that sets him apart from other men other than he's on the "good" side of the line that ALL characters in this book could be categorized by. Seriously, this really is like an Atari game in that you could easily divide the characters into two camps: good guys and bad guys.

Through the lens of Angel, we discover that there are two kinds of men in the world: sex-crazed maniac murderers, and the nicest guys ever who still only vaguely manage to suppress their sexual urges through a close relationship with god. Basically, all men in the book are tormented by their relationship with sex, and it's all about whether or not they "give in." Even with a spouse, there's some sex that's okay and some sex that's not okay because it's "giving in."

What a terrible way to look at the world. I personally believe there are many men out there who have healthy relationships with sex. Lord knows I'm not one of them, as my internet browsing history could easily confirm, but I strongly believe that those men exist, and I also think there are men who struggle with sex without forcing their struggles on others. Sex or sexual desire can be something a man wrestles with a little without becoming a crazed sex maniac who bangs his brother's wife on the side of the road. I'm really obsessed with that, in case you can't tell.

The author doesn't understand men at all. If you think the ideal man is an empty vessel waiting to be filled, then buy a blowup doll and whisper your prayers into it every night until he's full. Then wish for him to be a real boy and see how far that gets you.

And what about Angel, the female lead?

Ah, the hooker with a heart of gold.

The idea of the hooker with a heart of gold is very odd to me because it makes some very unfair assumptions. First, why would we assume that someone who has sex for money does not have a good heart? Why would our default assumption be that this person is heartless and mean as opposed to having a good heart? Why is this the only profession that we hear this about? When someone says their husband works at a grocery store, they don't throw in, "but he has a heart of gold." I've never heard of a baker with a heart of gold. And flipside, if these gold-hearted hookers are such an anomoly, how come I never read stories about hookers with hearts of wet garbage, or hearts of heart meat that perform their functions adequately if a bit coldly?

I do have a great idea for a steampunk novel called Hooker with a Heart of Gold about...well, exactly what it sounds like. And somehow the mechanical heart gives her fuck powers. I haven't worked out all the details yet, but I suspect the end involves her 40 years later living in a small cabin, the one bullet she stopped still lodged in her golden heart. If only she'd been able to stop the other...

Anyway, I thought I would have more to say about Angel, but she's just as empty as Michael. She's empty in a different way in that she seems like a self-contained unit piloting her way through the novel, going whichever way she is steered by the various characters. At least she had a career of sorts so she wasn't totally empty. And I didn't mean that as a hooker pun, but once you start denying hooker puns you've already kind of lost the battle.

The most redemptive part of the book is the idea that Michael is constantly forgiving Angel for her past. I suppose that's a somewhat enlightened view of things, and I wouldn't expect that many men of god living during the gold rush would be too excited at the prospect of making a hooker into a wife. Warts and all. LOTS of warts and all.

But, the book loses touch with reality because it's not about recognizing the past as something that has shaped a person into the person you love today. It's about getting over the past, hitting the reset button and starting a new life, which doesn't even work in the book because everything is thrown into total disarray everytime the past comes up, which it certainly will.

As an adult, you do have to reconcile with the past, both your own and your partner's. You have to recognize that the past shaped the person you're with today, and that's the person you love, so for better or worse things have sort of worked out.

What the book doesn't make clear is that you also have to balance the past. Yes, I think it's good that Michael can make peace with the fact that his wife was a hooker. I mean, it's a little easier to do and really doesn't bring up a lot of the core issues because she had no choice in the matter, but nevertheless, he didn't seem terribly judgmental of her past. But if your wife brings up the fact that she had sex with her own father in a revenge scenario, that's a huge red flag. If someone is angry enough at their own father, or confused enough or whatever, that when he walks into a brothel she has sex with him, it doesn't really matter how cool YOU are with her past because she obviously still has some stuff to work out there.

I don't know what kind of love people of the world are looking for. But I hope this isn't it. If you are expecting this story to match your own, I am very sad for you because I don't have very high hopes. I wish you the best of luck, however, and try not to fuck anyone's brother or your own father and you'll already be going down a better path.
Profile Image for Tahani Shihab.
592 reviews828 followers
July 14, 2020
سارة، إنجيل، أماندا، هي كلها أسماء لفتاة واحدة. سارة التي أتت إلى الدنيا نتيجة علاقة غير شرعية، ينبذها أبوها ويهجر أمها وهي في سن الثامنة. لم تقبل الكنيسة توبة أمها، ولم يقبل جدها أن يستقبل أمها في بيتهِ أيضًا، فتضطر الأم أن تعمل كمومس لكسب قوت يومها. تموت الأم بعد فترةٍ بسيطة تاركة ابنتها سارة برفقة صديقها المخمور راب. الذي يبيعها لاحقًا إلى شخص سادي اسمه الدوق. لا يتورع الدوق عن قتل راب أمام أعين سارة الصغيرة. بعد أن يغتصب الدوق الطفلة يجعل منها مومس صغيرة. بعد عشر سنوات تنجح سارة في الهروب لتقع في حضن الرذيلة من جديد، لا أحد يرحم الطفولة والجمال؛ الكل ينهش في جسدها الصغير.

إنجيل تلك المومس الجميلة التي تزن بالذهب لمن أراد أن يقضي معها نصف ساعة، يراها صدفة مايكل هوشع، فيسقط قلبه بين جنبيه، يقرر أن ينقذها من حياة الدنس والرذيلة ويتزوجها. من هنا تبدأ القصة في البداية لم أتعاطف مع مايكل. لماذا يفرض حبّه على إنجل؟ ما هذا الهراء الذي يؤمن به مايكل؟ لكن عندما توغلت أكثر في الرواية فهمت أن الكاتبة تتناول الأدب الديني المسيحي.

الكاتبة لها أسلوب جميل جدًا في الكتابة يمكن للقارئ أن ينهي الكتاب في يوم واحد.
Profile Image for ESRAA MOHAMED.
629 reviews290 followers
November 3, 2018
الرواية من الأدب الديني المسيحي ومعتمدة اعتمادا كليا علي ذلك في توضيح أهمية الدين للوصول إلي بر الأمان ..
جسد واحد بحيوات عديدة بائسة ... سارة الفتاة البريئة ... انجل الفتاة المُغتصبة ثم بائعة الهوي ... أماندا أو ترصة زوجة الفلاح ... لتعود في النهاية إلي سارة الرقيقة زوجة المحبوب مايكل ..
فتاة نبذتها الحياة وكل ما ومن فيها بدءا من أبيها عشيق أمها مرورا بصديق أمها ومواجهتها لحياة الساقطات في كل مدينة حتي نبذت هي نفسها وأصبحت تحمل أوزارها في كل مكان ..
بنت سورا عاليا حول قلبها فهي لا تستحق الحياة منذ البداية لذلك لا تؤمن بشي ولا بأحد ..
كره ويأس وعدم إيمان ... استغلال وعنف واستنكار ... حب غير مشروط وغفران وتسامح ... غضب ومقاومة ورفض للحياة ...
تعاني سارة من كل هذا وهي لم تصل إلي العشرين بعد فقد عاشت أعمار كاملة منذ عمر الثمان سنوات ...
ولكنها وصلت أخيرا إلي شاطيء الأمان بين يدي حبيبها مايكل من أنار قلبها للحقيقة والنور ، من رسم لها طريق الخلاص ...

استمتعوا ...
دمتم قراء ❤❤❤
Profile Image for ☾ Dαɴιyα ☽.
447 reviews73 followers
April 20, 2015
Well, I only have myself to blame for this one. Actually, myself and all the rave reviews on Goodreads saying this was such a moving, inspirational book. Now that I've finished it, I'm left wondering what exactly should have inspired me about it. As a reader I didn't like this book. As a woman -- I loathed it.

Maybe in some alternate reality I could have gotten over the poor writing style, the one-dimensional characters, their often irrational behavior, perhaps, though I doubt it, even over the fact that God actually speaks in this book, I cannot and will not get over the crap Angel was put through because she was a woman. The double standards for men and women is something that pisses me off all the time, and here I almost wanted to burn the damn book. Why, you might ask. The part of the book that made me hate it is the part where Paul, Michael's brother-in-law made Angel have sex with him as payment for letting her travel with him. I admit, I wanted Angel to at least argue with him, but nevertheless, he was a disgusting son of a bitch that asked it, and then did it. What a decent human being that really has the moral high ground when it comes to prostitutes. I believe the little sleezeball was just pissed that he was never a good enough client to even get to Angel. When I find prostitution like this in a book, I feel sorry for the prostitute. I especially felt bad for Angel. She was forced into it by a pedophile when she was only eight years old. For her, I had sympathy, but for those men that came to her, I only had contempt. Paul -- I despised that man with all my might. And if forcing Angel to have sex with him wasn't bad enough, when she ultimately came back to Michael, he still treated her as garbage. He showed his hatred towards her every chance he got. Hey, Paul, I've got news for you! You're garbage! You're despicable! If you think prostitutes are that filthy and unworthy, well, guess what, you went to them, so you're much, much worse!

And Michael was behaving like nothing happened. All forgiven. I don't know... I'd expect my loving, protective husband to kill the bastard, or at least beat the crap out of him, and never speak to him again. But that's just me. Oh, that's not all. Angel spent the whole time blaming herself, trying to redeem herself, justifying Paul. In the end, she actually apologized to him. What the fuck was that all about?! I was reading it, and I couldn't believe it. It's okay to rape a prostitute? Is that it? She had it coming? Putting the blame on the victim is something I can't stand. The way almost every man in Angel's life treated her, she should have shot them all.

I also hated the fact Angel's past was showed as her sin. She was abused in every way for at least ten years. I know there weren't any psychologists there, but for God's sake talk to her, help her, don't ignore it, and pretend it never happened. The victim of such abuse needs therapy, not forgiveness for something they were forced into.

In the long list of my problems with this book was also the part where Angel said the purpose of a woman's life is to bear children. Okay, having children if you want them is all great, but are we really implying that women who can't have children, or perhaps end up with men who can't, have meaningless lives?
And sure, even though Angel couldn't have children, she ended up having them because I guess God reversed whatever that "doctor" did to her to make sure she never got pregnant again.

I've mentioned at the beginning some of the other things that bothered me while reading. I haven't got the energy to go into them, though they bothered me a lot. But, never mind, I'm just glad I'm done with this book, and that now I know never ever to pick this type of book again.
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