June 1, 2013

Michael Hosea

Today marks a very special day here at Fiction Hero Features and in the life of this author. I began Redeeming Love in a tire store waiting area on a Saturday morning in January of 2010. That afternoon, I made a hard phone call to a close friend apologizing I would be missing her mom's bridal shower because of a book. She understood because she's also an avid reader. That evening as I finished it in absolute brokenness fused with hope, I knew I'd been given a true picture of what it means to live out the love of Christ.

Michael Hosea owned this hero girl from that day forward, becoming the greatest, most epic literary hero that all others would be judged by. I insisted my closest friends read it until they did. They all thanked me afterward and one purchased copies as Mother's Day gifts for her family. Another lady in my bible study I shared it with was able to talk about how it blessed her on a mission trip in Nicaragua. Another lady on the mission had also read it and sparked an impromptu book discussion. When that lady returned home, she purchased twenty four copies, one for every member of the mission team. Once you experience this story you can't help but want others to have the opportunity to be changed by it also.

When I first envisioned Fiction Hero Features, in the recesses of my heart lived the hope that maybe, someday, I would be able to feature Michael Hosea. That someday is today and I thank God for giving me the desires of my heart in His time, not mine. Thank you to Francine Rivers for continuing to be such an inspiration, and for saying yes. Thank you to Beverly and Margaret at WaterBrook Multnomah, Katie at Tyndale, and Alicia at RandomHouse who helped make this possible. A special thank you to two of my crit partners and loyal blog followers, Joannie and GKE, for their help and encouragement with this one. I'm blessed to have a Miriam in you both.

About Redeeming Love:

California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.

Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.

Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.

But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does…the One who will never let her go.

A powerful retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.

Gallant Score:

Michael's chivalry is a natural product of his virtue resulting in a life completely devoted to serving Christ. That's not to say Michael is perfect. He would be the first one to say so, which only adds to his depth of character. In thought, word, and deed, Michael strives from his core to live out his faith and love like Christ--sacrificially, completely, unconditionally, and steadfast. Moments that stand out are his visits to the Palace. I'd bet the farm he was the only man in the place keeping his pants on and his hands to himself. Then not hitting Angel back the first time she leaves. Setting Paul straight when he very freely gives his opinion of Michael's new wife. Stopping to help the Altmans when they were stranded and then taking them in for the winter. I could go on and on for paragraphs but will skip to the most powerful moment of Michael's gallantry for me as a reader.

Angel decides to confess the worst of her past, determined to shatter forever the bond forged between them by Michael's love for her. Instead of casting her out, giving up on her once and for all as she knew he would, Michael again goes to the Lord to draw strength. He then overwhelms Angel with acceptance, love, and compassion. This is my all-time favorite line from the novel.

She destroyed his dreams, and he made her wind chimes.   

Wounded Score:

Angel breaks Michael's heart, deeply and often. Most of the time intentionally drive him away because of her own wounds, and through that we witness the toll giving unconditional love requires. A touch of this orange predates Angel and the beginning of the novel. Michael did not come west alone and lost someone very dear to him on the journey. One of the things that never, ever fails to touch my heart no matter how many times I read this book is that the deeper the pain, the closer Michael draws to God.That is a huge chunk of what makes Michael the hero he is.

Softie Score:

Michael's tender and often humorous side is so endearing as he loves Angel to wholeness through Christ. Both the reader, and Angel, spend so much time seeing this side of him it is easy to forget he has fists and knows how to use them. When this is finally made into a movie, that will be one of the toughest scenes for me to watch. Michael charging up the stairs at Murphy's, kicking in the door, taking back his wife, and fighting their way out. Even in those moments when there is nothing soft about him, you understand and love him as much as when he's melting your heart with his compassion and gentleness.

Stupid Strikes:

Not in a million years. He's Michael Hosea.

Orange Heads to the Nth Power - But They Wouldn't All Fit

Swoon Score:

Michael is love. Not the tingly feeling, not the Valentine's Day, greeting card, riot-inciting man-gorgeous our culture has come to equate with swoon-worthy. Okay, yes, Michael actually does elicit that from most readers, particularly me, but way beyond that Michael is the personification of God's love. Journeying with him as he lives that out over and over and over again, not only in Angel's life but all around him, is what leaves readers indelibly changed by Redeeming Love. Before I read this novel, it was my heart's cry to truly know the love of man so powerful he would be willing to sacrifice everything for me. To die for me. I'm a girl who grew up in church and in the Bible, yet it took Michael Hosea to remind me I'd already been given that love at the cross of Calvary. I have that love. It was mine already to discover, to come home to, and more importantly, to give to others. It is why I believe so strongly in this book and this hero--because Michael Hosea leads straight back to my truest hero, Jesus Christ.

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, a mother of three, and an established romance novelist.

Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books and then rereleased by Multnomah Publishers in the mid-1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the time of the California Gold Rush, is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the CBA's top-selling titles, and it has held a spot on the Christian bestseller list for nearly a decade.

Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes—all bestsellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. Francine's novels have been translated into over 20 different languages, and she enjoys bestseller status in many foreign countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

Francine and her husband, Rick, live in northern California and enjoy time spent with their three grown children and taking every opportunity to spoil their grandchildren. Francine uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and she desires that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.

The FHF Exclusive:

Francine's schedule didn't permit an exclusive but this is directly from the author.
The story of how Redeeming Love came to be Redeemed.


I'll say it again. I believe so strongly in this book and this hero because Michael leads straight back to Jesus Christ, who loves you more than you can possibly fathom. So I've assembled an AMAZING prize pack.

You have to see this in person and inhale its leather scent to really appreciate it, but leading off is a brand-new in the box NKJV Macarthur Study Bible. I had Michael's name put on it for two reasons. First, Michael's Bible didn't just live on their mantle in the cabin until it was time to sit by the fire and read. The words and truth of them lived in his heart and his life. The Bible is a gift to us from God. Learn it. Know it. Let it change you and deepen your faith so you can live and love like Christ to the world around you as Michael did. Second, how amazing a conversation piece is this? (Selfish truth here but I almost kept it.)

The Amazing Love: The Story of Hosea DVD. I have watched this movie twice and laughed and cried both times. Yes, that is my hand and no I don't have long, pretty polished fingernails. I'm an author. There are some that can do both but I haven't learned their secret yet.

A gorgeous Bob Siemon He Loves Me necklace inscribed with John 15:9 on the back. It is a beautiful verse and even more beautiful truth which says "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. "

And as always here at FHF, the book itself. A brand new, crease-free, copy of the 20th anniversary edition of the trade paperback to experience for yourself. Or maybe replace the one you loaned out that was never returned. Or to give to a friend who needs the truth of this book to point them to the Savior.

Also available at:

Amazon  Barnes & Noble   Christianbook.com

Every person who leaves an answer will be entered in the giveaway drawing that ends at Midnight central time on June 13th. I have to have a way to reach you so if your profile doesn't link to an e-mail address, leave it in a spam-fighter format like whynot (at) itwilldo (dot) com. 
Joy W. Doering gets a second entry for correctly guessing the hero from the last post. Congrats!!!
And because I want so, so much to get this book from "I've heard of it" to "Oh wow," like it happened for me, if you will share this post and tell me in your comment you did, I'll put your name in the drawing twice.  Now then, let's play!

Who would you cast as Michael in the movie? As Angel?
How did Redeeming Love impact you?


Joy W. Doering said...



Thank you Nancy for all your hard work & also to everyone else who made it happen.
'Redeeming Love' is an amazing book. I worked at a Christian bookstore for 4 years. One of the reasons I love RL so much is because all I had to do was mention the title- literally- and I could SEE the change in the reader's eyes. And everyone has a story to go with the book. The first time they read it. How it spoke to them. How it changed their life. It is a book that never truly leaves you- and I love it because it draws you right back to God's word.
As far as casting a movie- I would need to read the book again to have proper suggestions - it's been too long.
I am sharing this post! It's too much fun not to. :)
Jd family zero8 (at) yahoo dot com

Melissa Jagears said...

I worked at a Christian bookstore too, a loooooong time ago, and I sold this book constantly, even when I worked at another store years later. Anyone that asked "What novel should I buy?" I went straight back and picked it up and handed it to them. No asking them, just said "this one, I promise."

I read it aloud to my husband (because he's dyselxic and audio is better for him) early on in our marriage, and we still occasionally talk about it, just a few months ago actually, forget why....

And I also convinced my college roommate (also a looooong time ago - the year it came out, actually) that there weren't only lame romances in CBA with this book.

Gretchen K. Engel said...

We already had this discussion but there's no way I would have picked up this book. A virtuous farmer marrying a prostitute set in the Wild West. Not my cup of tea.
But knowing it's the story of Gomer and Hosea and more importantly, the story of Christ and His love for us, it takes the story to a much deeper level.
Thank you :-) You know Miriam is my favorite character b/c I'm a lot like her.
I already posted on Facebook promoting this FHF!

Gretchen K. Engel said...

Oh and I see my real name not "happygret" shows up now. I like that better.

Erynn said...

Casting! I LOVE casting! I've thought about this SO many times. For Michael, I'm thinking maybe Henry Cavill? I actually haven't seen him ACT. His picture looks similar to how I pictured Michael, but I'll reserve final judgment on his suitability until I see Man of Steel.
I picture Angel something like Katheryn Winnick or Rachel Taylor, but same boat. I haven't actually seen them in anything.

I read Redeeming Love for the first time in high school. I remember being so ANGRY at Angel--being offered everything every woman desires and not only rejecting him, but actively seeking to hurt him at times. WHO does that?! And then I realized . . . me. I do that. Christ offers me so much MORE than I even know to ask for, and so often I throw it back in His face and seek to satisfy myself with other things. Stupid girl. Sadly it's a lesson I have to learn over and over again.
I'm so thankful for this novel, which paints such a beautiful picture of God's grace for me to return to time and time again.

ENewman(at)outlook(dot)com and I'm going to go tweet about this RIGHT NOW!

Lisa Medeiros said...

This book is my ALL time favourite! I loved it and would love to own a copy!!! :) For Micheal I would cast Gerald Butler and yes I would keep the accent :) As for Angel, I would cast (I know she is a singer but still...) Carrie Underwood... :) This book is amazing in how it is a great story but even more importantly it tells of Gods love and forgiveness! :)

Joy W. Doering said...

Yes Lisa! A kindred spirit! :) The first person I thought of was Gerard Butler. He could carry the emotion really well. I also think Hugh Jackman would be a great choice. :)

Lisa Godfrees said...

Great review of a fantastic book. I posted your link on my FB page to share the love. That's a fantastic prize package you've assembled!

KayM said...

Enjoyed your post very much. I loved Redeeming Love. It really is a life-changing book. I need to read it again. I don't know enough actors and actresses to make a decision on who would be good at playing the characters. I shared your link on Facebook.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

Marissa said...

Oh. My. Goodness. This is my favoritist book I have EVER read!! It was one of the first Christian historical romances that I ever read and I was like, "Are all Christian romances THIS good??" Haha, no, just Redeeming Love is! I have some parts of the book memorized and that line- "She destroyed his dreams, and he made her wind chimes." is one of my favorites too!!


Whitney said...

I don't know if you remember, but you sent this book to me many moons ago and I just last week put it back on the shelf after retrieving it and our other things from LA. I started this book said moons ago, but did not get to finish it at the time and so I am excited to get to read past chapter one now. :) Thank you again in advance.

Veronica Sternberg said...

I really enjoyed this story too! I used to work in a Christian bookstore and it sold all the time but it took me years to read it. I had flipped it open once and knew it dealt with some hard things. I was glad I finally read it and I absolutely loved Michael! He is the bar all men strive for! shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

Natalie Monk said...

Great feature, Nancy! Epic. Seriously, who can top Michael Hosea?
So many things I could say about Redeeming Love, but I will simplify.
This book changed me.
I read it when struggling with forgiveness and loving hurtful people. Then Michael's character shamed me and won my heart, all at the same time. I learned so much about God's incredible, limitless love for me and my own unworthiness and vices.
One of my favorite things is the different names he calls Angel. So much meaning there.

Hmm... Casting. Erynn mentioned Henry Cavill, which is my top pick for Michael (happens to be the photo inspiration for my own WIP's hero), but I haven't seen him act, either. Looking forward to Man of Steel, though. With a five-o'clock shadow, Tom Welling might work for looks, but I've only seen him in teenage roles. Not sure if his acting is up to the challenge. (Funny, both play Superman.) For Angel, I keep thinking Scarlett Johansson or Amanda Seyfried.

Lisa Medeiros said...

That is a beautiful prize pack! And I wanted to mention that I loved your review! It showed the story beautifully without spoiling the book! :) Also where did you find that beautiful necklace?

Nancy Kimball said...

We do, don't we? Loved your enthusiasm the past weeks and glad he was worth the wait. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

That's awesome, Melissa. =) It was actually too edgy back in 91 for most Christian publishers. I learned that reading Francine's blog.

Nancy Kimball said...

You're welcome! Just a rewarding part of what I do here. And yes, I know you're a lot like her. =) *HUGS*

Nancy Kimball said...

Erynn, I related to that completely. I'm routinely getting the "retests" from the Lord but thankfully he never gives up on me.
I like Henry Cavill. I first saw him in Count of Monte Christo and he did a good job in that. His other stuff has been okay (Immortals - don't watch that movie) but he does have the face and I could see that. The accent would concern me. I've never seen him work without it. I'll have to check out your suggestions for Angel. I'm not familiar with either name. Let me know after Man of Steel.

Nancy Kimball said...

Gerry Butler is an amazing actor. If you have never seen the indy flick Dear Frankie with Emily Mortimer and Jack McElhone, see it ASAP. He's a little older than I imagined Michael but I could see it. Same with Hugh Jackman but he's a great actor too.

Thank you, Lisa, I work really hard not to pack the reviews with spoilers because most of the time followers reading it have not read the novel yet. But it also needs to resonate with those that have, so it's a fun balancing act.

The necklace is available at Christianbook.com and also at Lifeway stores (That's where I purchased this one and the study bible.)

Nancy Kimball said...

Thanks! I saw that post and followed it through to Mike's review. Interesting. Great books do that though. I think a lot of his points have more to do with the book being twenty years old and it being general market first are addressed in the blogpost I linked to on Francine's blog, but I decided not to post there because I'm so passionately in love with this story there's no way to keep that out of what would turn to a passionate and spirited defense, hehe. But I respect not all books are for everyone. Because sometimes I'm that person thinking "I don't get it." But CLEARLY not with this or any novel featured here. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

Hi Kay! Thanks and good to see you. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

Marissa, you have great taste my friend. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

I didn't remember! But I've bought quite a few copies of it so that might be way. You're welcome my friend and you deserve that and more for being such a supporter of me and my work back when I had no clue what I was doing, hehe. wags to you. ;-)

Nancy Kimball said...

Well now I feel like the ONLY hero girl who hasn't been blessed to work in a Christian bookstore. Agree that Michael sets a high standard. I love him so much. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

I don't know. No one has yet. =)
And yes, the progression of her names was one of my favorite parts. Like in the old testament when God would give men their new name. Which made the VERY end with the names that much more special. =)
I could see those choices too.
Funny but I like less familiar actors for Michael and Angel.
Andrew Cheney from Seasons of Gray for Michael and Erin Sossamon from Meant to Be for Angel. (Meant to Be is a GREAT movie I came across recently. Really great.)

Melody said...

We are missionaries in Mexico and Nicaragua. Recently I found Redeeming Love in our bookstore, in Spanish! I was so, so excited, bought it and have the ladies at our Dump Church (church and folks live in the old dump of Reynosa, MX) reading it. I can't tell you how it has blessed their hearts. Besides living in shallow homes with dirt floors, outdoor banos, ride in wagons...they are so eager to learn. Today was our last day there till Sept, as we'll be in Nicaragua.

I have no idea who should play the characters, I'm sorta outs the loop on actors...maybe the wonderful dude from The Notebook...he loved her...regardless!

missionwife AT hotmail DOT com

Melody said...

Shared on my Facebook!

missionwife AT hotmail DOT com

Natalie Monk said...

Good heavens, yes. Andrew Cheney would do nicely. ;) And I could totally see Erin Sossamon in the role. She's young, but Angel was also young.
You're actually the second person who has recently mentioned/recommended Meant to Be. Must be a sign I need to check it out. :)

Carol Moncado said...

I've not read Redeeming Love. Bad me. But it is in my TBR stack. I need to find time soon!!!

Carol Moncado said...

I posted on Facebook :).

Andrea Strong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea Strong said...

Yes. Bad Carol. Read it!

But thanks for tagging me in your post. ;)

Andrea Strong said...

Who should play Michael? I always picture him a lot like Michael Peterson, a country singer who was popular (and one of my favorites) around the time I first read the book.

Angel is tougher. Perhaps the model who provided the inspiration for the cover art of my copy. That's exactly how I picture her.

Nancy, I never worked in a bookstore either, much to my chagrin. But I'm not dead yet, so who knows what the future holds.

I was the roommate Melissa Jagears mentioned above. Before we met our freshman year in college, I had no idea Christian Fiction even existed. I was willing to give it a try, but was certain it would never live up to the secular romance I devoured on a regular basis. Boy was I wrong!

This was the first Christian Fiction book I ever read. Needless to say, not all of the Christian Fiction I've read since, has met the high standard set by Redeeming Love. But in the intervening years, I've come to find Christian romance as a whole infinitely more satisfying all around than it's worldly counterpart.

I suspect many other readers of Christian romance can share my claim of, "This is the book that started it all!"

Andrea Strong said...

I too shared you on Facebook

Lisa Medeiros said...

I just have to say if I worked in a bookstore my pay check wouldn't make it home with me :) but I would love every minute of working there :)

Nancy Kimball said...

Melody that is awesome! Blessings serving in Nicaragua and I look forward to getting to know you.

Nancy Kimball said...

You know I have a lot of author friends who haven't read it so don't feel bad. But read it. BUT, because you are also an author, be prepared for it to break all the "rules". There is a prologue (GASP) and it's really long (double gasp). And there is head hopping. Serious head hopping. But when I first read it, I didn't even know what that meant and sometimes wish I could go back to there, hehe.

Nancy Kimball said...

Thanks, Andrea. Let's make a pact that working in a Christian bookstore will be on our bucket list! That's cool you were roomies w/ Melissa. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

True. =)

Nancy Kimball said...

I wish you all could have won, I do! But we have our winner courtesy of Random.org as shown in this this NOT HD video made with my "dumb phone", hehe. The drawing winner was Gretchen K. Engel. Enjoy your swag, my friend. If you haven't read this book yet, fix it. Seriously. And let's keep praying for it to hit the big screen and change even more lives! Amen =)

Joy W. Doering said...

Woohoo! Congrats Gretchen! :)