“Redeeming Love” has achieved bestseller status, and any reader with spiritual sensibilities will quickly sense why. Rivers is one of the true masters of Christian fiction, and this is probably her best book. (I’ve read three in the past six or so weeks.) The story is well told, and she is really unmatched at creating evocative word pictures and capturing the essence and beauty of the Old West settings. Her landscape descriptions are lush and beautifully illustrative.
My wife and I read this book during the same holiday stretch, and I trust her feminine analysis. The book works best if kept in the category of ALLEGORY. It’s a stirring testimony to the pursuing love of God and Christ’s insistence on wooing back His lost creation. If read strictly as a 19th-century love story – pious and stubborn stranger (repeatedly) rescues prostitute from brothel and they live happily ever after – then the tale admittedly has too many unbelievable threads. But as a poetic and often gritty retelling of the Old Testament Hosea story, it’s a wonder.
For me (this is my male side showing through) the story was overdone in terms of endless self-analysis and moral flagellation. Also, some of the romantic element, while tasteful, was somewhat over the top: pulse pounding, weak in the knees, skin tingling, can hardly stand upright, oh Michael please kiss me, etc. But again, if the reader maintains an allegorical perspective, then it is a powerful and redemptive success. It’s safe to say that anything written by Francine Rivers is worth the purchase price. Be sure to read her personal testimony at the conclusion of this novel; it’s a powerful confession.