Be still my heart. I have found my new favorite book. Maybe it's because I just finished two not so stellar books. Maybe it's because I liked the cover. Maybe it's because there was a message for me in it. Maybe it's because it's the first time I get the deeper meaning in a book. But this is it. My new favorite. And I think everyone should read it.
As you know, I am not a big fan in general of fictionalized Bible stories, unless Francine Rivers writes them. They just always make me nervous about how much "liberty" they are taking. I read another book by Mesu Andrews and did not like it. I wasn't even going to read any more by her, but my friend insisted I read this one so I gave it a shot. I cannot thank her enough!
This is a rendition of the book/love story of Hosea. Naturally I was a bit skeptical because who can top Redeeming Love? Funny thing is, Mesu actually acknowledges this right off in the Note to the Reader:
When you think of reading the story of Gomer and Hosea, what novel comes to mind? Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, right? I think I've read it at least four times. It's tied for first place in my all-time favorites, and Francine Rivers is hands down my favorite author. So why would I dare write a novel that might be compared to such a classic? Because Love in a Broken Vessel is biblical fiction, and Redeeming Love is a biblical story set in a prairie romance. Trying to equate the two stories would be like comparing apples and oranges--both are fruit, but very different yummy flavors. My hope is that readers wil enjoy each one for the unique story it is.
So right off you know the author is not trying to "beat" Redeeming Love, but do a different spin. You had me at "Hello."
I think the thing that just resonated over and over with me is how God/Hosea keeps on loving me/Gomer, even when I/she feel(s) so unworthy. Even when I/she fight(s) back, not wanting or feeling like I/she deserve(s) the love. Not even being able to accept the gifts God/Hosea gives me/her. It's like after I had children I kept seeing that parent relationship played out time and time again as I try to discipline my children, hearing God say the same words to me as I am saying them to my children.
Hosea is a hard book to understand. Even after reading Redeeming Love I still didn't feel like I understood the book. THIS book really brought it more to life, the loving her despite the fact she runs away time and again, loving her children born of different men, waiting so patiently on her and rejoicing in the end when she does turn to him. I had tears at the end, even knowing it was going to work out but having no idea how it would!!! Needless to say, this book gets all my thumbs up!!
Hosea has been charged by God with a difficult task--marry a prostitute
in order to show God's people the nature and depth of his love for
Israel. When Hosea goes to Israel to proclaim God's message, the
prostitute God tells him to marry turns out to be his childhood friend
Gomer. He finds her broken and abused, unwilling to trust Hosea or his
God. But when marrying Hosea becomes her only choice, Gomer does what
she's good at--she survives. Can Hosea's love for God and God's love for
Israel heal Gomer's broken spirit?
With her potent combination
of in-depth research and masterful storytelling, Mesu Andrews brings to
life a complex and fascinating biblical story of the power of love and
forgiveness in the face of utter betrayal. (picture and description from Amazon.)
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