I just finished reading a book, called Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. Actually, I listened to it on audio. The book is horrifyingly life changing. I will never forget it. But, the audio reader leaves a lot to be desired. She tries and is not so bad that I could not get into the book, but she could have been better.
So, the book! It is an allegory of the biblical book of Hosea, in which the prophet Hosea is told, by God, to marry a harlot. He is to represent God and she is to represent the nation of Israel. In the story of Hosea and Gomer, God is showing Israel how he loves them in spite of their spiritual and, at times physical, harlotry/adultery.
In Francine Rivers’ book, the main character is a prostitute in the 1850’s gold rush days in California who has had a very hard life and the story is told from the time she is six years old until she dies of old age as a much-blessed and much-loved Christian woman. She was wooed out of a brothel and the nightmare life of an unwillling lifelong prostitute by a Christian man named Michael Hosea. In reality, it is God who is wooing her. (She was sold into prostitution when she was eight years old.) It takes years of patience and trials and her leaving Michael until the Lord finally converts her. The story is raw, horrifying, ugly, moving, beautiful, and encouraging. I was exhausted after it was over, but it was very encouraging to me, as it could be to any Christian.
Francine was a romance writer before she became a Christian and this was her first book after her conversion.