Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (Grade: B)

I've finished Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  It was an uneven read for me; some parts were really engaging and some parts were paper thin.  It is an unapologetic Christian romance novel and if you read it as such, I think you may enjoy it.  I grade this book a B.

Redeeming Love is about a young lady, Angel, in California in the 1850s, who was sold into prostitution as a little girl.  She tries to run away from her life of prostitution but is ultimately unable to by herself.  A young man, Michael Hosea, sees her as she is taking a walk on the streets and he hears God tell him to go and marry her and so he tries to take Angel away from her life of prostitution to marry her.  This is the story of Angel and Michael Hosea and how Angel finds freedom from her past and herself.

This is a Christian romance novel.  If you read this book with any other expectation you may find it disappointing.

Rivers is a competent writer.  I think she knows her writing strengths and what her audience wants.  She does not try to write above her ability and she gives a satisfying story with a strong ending.

Rivers does have weakness as a writer such as her character development--her characters are essentially one dimensional.  Also, the reasons why her characters do things or don't do things are far-fetched at best at times.

So yes, there are times where the story and writing is less than great.  But there are also times, where the story is very engaging.  Rivers seems to understand how to write a page turner.  I found myself reading a hundred pages in one sitting more than once.

Also, as I've said before, the ending is very story, which seems to have ameliorated me to the book as a whole.

There is the issue of content.  There is a bit of suggestive content in this story but none of it is explicit.  I guess the reservation on the content of this book come from how frequent sex is mentioned (not described) or referred to in this book.  There are some deliberate shocking revelations in the book too.  So if you are used to, let's say, Stephen King, the content is negligible but you are expecting the book to be as clean as Randy Alcorn, you may be in for a surprise.

Overall, the book was a fun read (but you must remember that it is a romance novel) with a strong ending.  I would recommend this book more for ladies than for men.  I grade this book a B.

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