Thursday, July 25, 2013

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Just finished reading one of my favorite fiction novels...for the 3rd time!  I know a book is good when I can read it more than once (with a few years in between each time) and have it still captivate me.

Redeeming Love is a story that can be understood on many different levels.  First there is the fictional story, set in the California gold-mining era of 1850, in which Michael Hosea senses a call from God to marry a prostitute.  It is grand love story in which patience, grace, and forgiveness are key.  Very well-written and never a dull moment!

But this is more than simply fiction.  The main plot is taken from the story of Hosea and Gomer in the Bible.  Adding the fictional elements to the true account allow the reader to think through what that call of God truly meant.  What kind of faith would it require for a man to follow through on God's command to marry a prostitute?  What other issues may have arisen?  What could God's purpose have been for including that story in His Word?

The life-changing aspect of this story occurs when the reader understands that the love Michael has for Angel (or that Hosea has for Gomer) is a reflection of God's heart toward us.  It can open our eyes to the consuming, grace-filled, redeeming love God has for us.  A love that sees what we've done and still pursues us, wanting to give us a full and greater life, and also desiring to be loved in return.

If you are looking for a book that will captivate your heart and mind, while speaking God's truth at the same time...give this one a try!

There is also a reading group guide included in this anniversary edition.  While it's nice to have some discussion questions to draw from, I wasn't impressed with the way it was organized.  There are 6 sessions to the guide, but no clear directions as to which chapters each section refers to.  It seems like the book should be read completely first, and then the group would meet for discussion.  But, if that's the case, 6 sessions seems a bit long to stretch it out.

*I received this complimentary book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Angels in the Fire by Dann Stadler

Angels in the Fire is the true story of Dann and Tracey Stadler, who survived a car accident and the resulting life-threatening injuries.  Tracey shares her experience of being rescued by an angel and Dann describes other supernatural experiences that their family has witnessed.  It is a book about walking through difficult circumstances while at the same time keeping our eyes open to the way God is working around us.

It is very difficult to review a book about a person's experience.  For anyone who knows this couple, especially family, I'm sure this book is a priceless treasure.  It is a testimony to what they have written in ink for future generations. 

My opinion that I present here is for the average reader with no connection to this family.  I thought the book was easy to read and interesting...but too detailed.  I would estimate that 25% of the book contained information that was relevant to the rescue and other spiritual experiences they had (which is what I expected the book to be about).  The rest of the book contained details about their medical conditions and other family members that wasn't necessary for my understanding. 

The Stadlers story is worth being told.  I just would have preferred a shorter version :)

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.