Friday, 12 February 2016

Review: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Title: Redeeming Love
Author: Francine Rivers
Publisher: Monarch Books
Pages: 448
Genres: Romance, Historical Fiction

Redeeming Love

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.

Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father's heart in everything, Michael obeys God's call to marry Angel, and to love her unconditionally. Day by day, he defies Angel's every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance, her heart begins to thaw.

But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. So Angel runs...

I will admit, I was seduced by the rave reviews and high ratings of Redeeming Love. I went into this book with sky high expectations of being blown away by a powerful message of redemption, faith and altruism. That was a big mistake.

My first issue with Redeeming Love was that it was just far to neat and clean for my liking. I understand it is Christian fiction but I was expecting it to be first and foremost a historical romance, with a lot more detail. The book is set in California during the gold rush; and apart from a couple of references to miners and gold dust, there was a distinct lack of world building. The writing style was very simple, and very light on rich description. Disappointing. I also did not enjoy the disembodied voice of God that judgementally propped up throughout, speaking to the characters. Very strange in my opinion and it felt very forced and disjointed. There is no coarse language, sex scenes, or even graphic violence. The lack of any of these made the book kind of dull, and gave distance to the reader. Situations are hinted at and completely glossed over - there is nothing to pull the reader into Angel and Michael's shoes.

Why did I not rate this book lower? Well despite the above problems I had with it, the story was very compelling, bare though it was. Michael Hosea is a beautiful character and I really warmed toward him. I also cared about what happened to little Sarah as she grew up and went through life. I especially loved the finality of the ending, it was very sweet and very apt.

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