I finished my Francine Rivers book already and I think that is all the library has by her :-( . (Question - Does it bother anyone else to put a period after a emoticon, I feel like I just gave the little guy a zit, but can I leave the sentence with no punctuation?) She is such a great writer and every time I finish one of her books, I want to find another. I don't normally read "Christian fiction" because for the most part, well, they are lame. But there are a few exceptions to that and Rivers is one of them.
I really liked the one I just finished but I think my favorite is still "Redeeming Love". If you haven't read "Redeeming Love" you should, right now. I mean, why are you reading this post when you can be reading such an amazing book instead? I find it odd that she took some heat on this book because not all of it was considered "appropriate" by some of the Christian women who read it. It retells the story of Hosea but in Gold Rush times. That's right, the Bible story of Hosea, the prophet who God tells to marry a prostitute. So in the book, a farmer marries a prostitute (gasp!) who not so surprisingly, comes with some baggage (gasp!). So yes, there are some people sinning in this book. Why is that a bad thing?
She doesn't write like a bunch of other Christian fiction writers seem to. With happy endings in which a person accepts Jesus and never has any worries or cares or problems ever again. And heaven forbid there would be any mention of things like sex or even kissing in a book about a man marrying a prostitute. Despite the fact that the book is based on a Bible story. The Bible is a book that leads us to God, so it shows humans why they need God... because they sin. And the story of Hosea, and Redeeming Love, is an allegory. Hosea unconditionally loves his prostitute turned wife just like God unconditionally loves his children. It wouldn't be a very good story if the wife was amazingly wonderful person who never made any mistakes. As you read the book (Bible or Rivers) you are amazed by Hosea's love for his wife when she seems to be making all these awful decisions that keep hurting him. And then you realize that we do that to God on a daily basis. So those critical people should just go away.
I would feel differently if she put "bad" stuff into her book just to be shocking or because she thinks the worlds in awful place full of nothing but suffering. You know the kind, where everything just ends with no purpose to the sufferings or hardships, no hope for the characters. So many secular fiction writers seem to do that and those books are just depressing.
No, her stories are real. In the real world, sometimes crappy stuff happens that you can't change. People made bad decisions and sometimes they have to live with those consequences, and sometimes the consequences affect other people without the original person even knowing about it. In her books, not everyone becomes a Christian by the end of the story, not every problem is solved. Just like in real life - we all will have crappy stuff to deal with because we are living in a world full of sinners, us included. But those who love God know that even when they have problems, he is there with them. And that is what makes such a difference.