Francine Rivers: 20 years of 'Redeeming Love'

Posted by Les Ellison  ·  Be the first to comment

After 20 years in print and with more than 1 million copies sold, Francine Rivers classic novel 'Redeeming Love' still holds its place on the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) bestsellers list.

Set in the 1850s California gold rush, Francine Rivers' classic retelling of Hosea's relentless love for Gomer is reissued in a collector's 20th anniversary edition.


Redeeming Love is about God’s love for each of us... he created us to be in an intimate relationship with Him."        - Francine Rivers


Francine Rivers' life changing story

Set in California’s gold rush country, when desperate men sold their souls and even more desperate women sold their bodies, Redeeming Love is the story of Francine Rivers' tragic heroine, Angel. Given to prostitution as a child, Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. She survives by keeping hatred alive.

Michael Hosea is a man who defies Angel’s every bitter expectation. But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. So Angel runs back to the darkness and away from her husband’s pursuing love. Her final healing must come from the very source of Michael’s unconditional and redemptive love.


Redeeming Love is what God is all about

Francine writes, "Redeeming Love is about God’s love for each of us. In the novel, God speaks to Michael and teaches him how to love Angel." "What I wanted was to make people long for the kind of love Michael Hosea offers."

"He’s a pale reflection of God’s love, a paltry example. God is passionate and fierce," says Francine, "zealous for us. He created us to be in an intimate relationship with Him.  He’s been called the hound of heaven, pursuing us with His love."


Hosea as prophet, lover and rescuer

On her created hero, Michael Hosea, Francine says, "It's the character of Michael Hosea that has such appeal: someone faithful no matter what, who keeps promises, someone who sees the best in others."

She paints Michael as, in her words, "...a 1 Corinthians 13 lover. Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly. Love never fails."


A surprise and contraversial ending

Readers have questioned why Francine stripped Angel at the end of the story.  "There is a simple answer to this," she says, "and a more complex one." The simple answer is that she wanted Angel to be like Eve before she offered the fruit to Adam, naked and right with God.

Drawing on her own experience Francine says, "When I accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord, I entered into a relationship with God that was like the one in the Garden. I entered into a personal relationship. The more complex answer is that Angel was shedding all the things that had happened to her... She was casting off the past."


Redeeming Love’s most difficult section

When she started writing Redeeming Love, Francine thought about beginning the book with Angel already a prostitute living in a brothel. "I realised quickly that readers would not empathize with Angel unless they knew her back story."

"I happened upon an article about missing children, some of whom reappear in pornographic films. Just looking at one of those pictures tore at my heart. Although I wrote the novel as my statement of faith, I also wrote it for her."


Old West suits the story of redemption

"The Old West suited the story. People from all walks of life clamoured to find treasure. Most ended up broke and disillusioned. All of those things seemed to sum up the condition of humanity. So many strive for the things of this world and ignore or mock the One who offers life abundant."

Reader responses to a Christian classis

Over its 20 years in print, Francine Rivers has received many personal letters some from deep wells of pain and suffering. "Some readers identify with Michael, suffering over the infidelity of a beloved spouse. Others identify with Angel and her horrifying childhood."

"I've received letters from prostitutes, incest survivors, rape victims, battered wives, faithful, loving husbands married to an Angel, men and women in prison where they’re facing their past and crying out to God for answers."

After 20 years, Redeeming Love continues to touch and move the hearts of readers - Christian and with no previousl personal spiritual convictions.

Quick Guide to


Quick Guide - Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love 20th anniversary edition

Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love - What is it?

  • 1 million copy novel from best selling Christian author Francine Rivers.
  • A story of love, loss and redemption in California’s gold rush country.
  • A life changing story of what it means know the love of 1 corinthians 13.

Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love - Why should I read it?

  • For a new and engaging retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer.
  • To better understand the struggle of coming to God for the first time.
  • As a discussion starter for a study group or Christian book club.
12th March

March 12th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison

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