Last year, I became part of a review panel for new books published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing. The deal is, I occasionally receive emails containing the title and description of a book. It could be just about any kind of book… Christian fiction, parenting, homemaking, self-help, etc. If it looks like something I’d like to read, I respond to the email, and a few weeks later, my book arrives.
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.
In my humble opinion, “in-depth research” and “masterful storytelling” are gross understatements. The amount of cultural and historical information included in this novel is staggering, especially because it’s done in such a beautiful fashion. Andrews paints pictures so vivid, you’ll practically feel the dust on your sandals.
When I read traditional romance novels, I realize there may be some heartache and misunderstanding between the characters. Never before have I read a tale so heart-breaking and tragic that I almost couldn’t bear to finish it. I found myself slamming the book closed, willing the pain to stop… only to open it right back up again because I didn’t want to leave Hosea and Gomer suspended in the midst of the drama.
It’s so awful to think of the sadness and rejection Hosea endured… and then the realization sets in that his trials with Gomer were a direct reflection of God’s own heartbreak over Israel’s rejection of Him. Our modern world is in the midst of committing the same kinds of adultery, but it’s glossed over as “freedom of speech” and “freedom of religion”… no one wants to speak up, as Hosea so bravely did, to remind humanity that (for lack of a more politically correct way to say it) God brought us into existence, and He can just as easily wipe us out. BUT He doesn’t want to wipe us out! He wants us to continue to love us and lavish His blessings upon us… we just have to let Him.
This is a story you won’t soon forget, and you’ll never read the book of Hosea through the same lens again.
I’m giving away my gently used copy of this book, as well as my first review novel Picture Perfect! If you’re interested in receiving either story, please let me know… first come, first served. 🙂
Disclosure: I was provided a free copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.