At the recommendation of this girl I read this book. "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers is admittedly my first foray into Christian fiction. I LOVE to read!!!! But, my true written love is gritty, crime solving, who-done-it type mysteries. I had some reservations about this book from the get go...for one, I'm not a huge fan of period pieces (Redeeming Love takes place in the 1830's-50's). I like my crimes to be solved using the latest technologies available. Plus, I was worried that since it is a Christian novel complete with a study guide and group discussion section, it would be "watered down", "fluffy" or predictable...that the language would be juvenile, rife with "Gosh darn its" and "Oh mys".
But! This was a GREAT read! Rivers based the story off of the biblical story of Hosea, and immediately captures your emotions as she tell how young Sarah becomes a broken shell of a girl sold into prostitution at the tender age of 8!!! As a young woman, Sarah, now known as "Angel", makes her way to gold country California where she continues to do the only thing she knows how and the men are willing to pay for it. Yikes! Along comes Michael, who has prayed for a wife and much to his surprise, the Lord leads him to Angel. I don't want to give too much away...read the book yourself!! Just know that it was hard to put the book down at night and I would look forward to the next time I would get to read more.
After I finished the book, I taunted Crafty P for her recommendation of a book with a HUGE flaw! Truth be told, the book didn't have a big flaw...I just have a big chip on my shoulder. Allow me to explain...throughout the book, Angel is described as beautiful. More than just regular beautiful, but stop and stare beautiful...with long, silky blond hair, clear porcelain skin, all the right curves. You're telling me that a hooker in the 1850's would be beautiful???? Let alone have all of her teeth??? I'm thinking more along the lines of lice infestation, bloated with infection (STD's aren't just modern day scare tactics, people!), missing teeth from lack of nutrients. I want to yell that this reeks of a stereotypical romance novel, the beautiful girl, the handsome rugged man! It's not fair, I say! The other girls who "worked" with Angel were not portrayed as being as pretty...in fact they were described as fat and ugly and drunk. Rivers clearly used more delicate language than that, but you get the point.
I get it though, no one wants to read about unattractive people getting together...can you imagine? "His chubby, gnarled fingers stroked her scarred and pitted cheek as she looked down at his stout, bald frame." Doesn't quite do it for ya, does it? But for once, just once, couldn't an author create a less than gorgeous, quite regular looking main character and make the story work? Why can't the ugly hooker get rescued? I mean, if God is going to lead you to try to save a hooker, why not an ugly one? However, Rivers writes in a way so that it IS believable. She makes it crystal clear that while Angel may be beautiful on the outside, she looks more like Quasimodo on the inside.
I guess I have just always been jealous of the beautiful blonds. Just now I fixed my ponytail and almost started a fire with my dry as kindling, knotted mess of dark curls. As a kid, I would wrap a yellow blanket around my head and pretend I had long, flowing locks. While all the girls were feathering their hair a la Farrah Fawcett, I was stuck with a stylish Gilda Radner look. Alas, I tried being a blond for about 6 months a decade ago...and it just didn't work...plus, it burned a lot. So, I have resigned myself to the fact that if I were to be cast in a movie of this book, I would be the drunk hooker that gets killed in a fire.
Oh well. It's still a good book. I think I'll read it again...which I never do. That's how much I enjoyed it.