(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Redeeming Love is a both a romance novel and a modern retelling of the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer. The story, specifically aimed at a Christian audience, reveals the power of unconditional love to restore, heal, and redeem the wounded heart. As a child growing up in the mid-1800’s, Sarah discovers that her father did not want her to be born. Rejected by their family, society, and the church, Sarah and her mother ended up living on the docks, where her mother works as a prostitute until she dies of guilt and a broken heart, clinging tightly to her rosary. Sarah is taken to a wealthy man, called Duke, who names her Angel.

For ten years, Angel first is abused by Duke and then, as a high-priced prostitute, brings him influence and income. Used, unloved, and guilt-ridden, she escapes to California, where she unwillingly returns to prostitution in the gold town Pair-a-Dice. She gains hope when Michael Hosea arrives. Seeing Angel on a walk, Michael hears God whisper to him that he is to marry Angel. Despite his shock at her profession, he obeys and asks her to marry him. She rejects him until, nearly killed by the brothel bodyguard for demanding her freedom, she changes her mind in order to escape her life as a prostitute.

On Michael’s farm, Angel begins to heal, but despite Michael’s attempts to win her trust, she remains distant. As he begins to break down her barriers, she leaves for Pair-a-Dice but returns, intending to leave for good in the spring. Shortly after she comes back, Paul, Michael’s brother-in-law, returns from panning for gold and recognizes Angel. Convinced that she has tricked Michael into marrying her, Paul begins to undermine her new life. He helps her return to Pair-a-Dice, using her along the way, and she returns to prostitution until Michael comes and takes her home by force.

When back on the farm, they try to revive their relationship. Returning from a trip to Sacramento, they come across the Altman family’s broken-down wagon. Michael invites the Altmans to spend the winter on their farm before heading to Oregon,...

(The entire section is 855 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Eble, Diane. Behind the Stories. Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House, 2002. A chapter of this book of essays relates what Francine Rivers has learned through her writing about God, her writing, and herself.

“Finding Faith in Fact and Fiction.” Challenge Newsline, August, 2003, p. 3. A short article that describes Rivers’s development from a writer of romance novels to a writer of faith.

Hudak, Melissa, and Barbara Hoffert. “Book Reviews: Christian Fiction.” Library Journal 122, no. 18 (1997): 66. Includes a plot synopsis of the book Redeeming Love as well as a brief assessment of its quality.

Riggs, Jack R. Hosea’s Heartbreak. Neptune, N.J.: Loizeaux Brothers, 1983. A commentary on the biblical book of Hosea, providing an explanation and critical analysis of the text as well as lessons for personal application.