“Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers tells the story of Sarah, a girl born to a single mother as the result of an affair with a married man. From the start, Sarah’s father did not want her; she had even overheard him say that he wished she was aborted. Sarah’s mother fights poverty and finally resorts to prostitution to support herself and her girl. She dies when Sarah is only eight, and the girl ends up sold into prostitution by her mother’s boyfriend. Duke, Sarah’s new “owner,” does horrible things to her. No wonder that Sarah grows up hating men, herself, and the world.
Prostitution being the only way to make a living Sarah knows, that’s what she does. Now eighteen, with her name changed to Angel, she works at a brothel in California. One day when Angel walks the streets, a Christian man named Michael Hosea sees her. Michael has been praying for a wife, and he suddenly feels that God is pointing out this woman to him and telling him to marry her. Michael is very serious about God and His commands, so he obeys. He goes to the brothel and pays the required price to be with Angel, but instead of having sex with her he tries to talk. Needless to say, when Angel hears that he wants to marry her, she thinks the man is crazy. Although she hates what she does, she cannot believe that anything good can happen to her and change her lifestyle. The concepts of love and marriage are absolutely foreign to Angel.
Despite her refusal, Michael persists. One day, after Angel is severely beaten in the brothel, she agrees to marry Michael just to get away from the place. His love and kindness slowly begin to make their way into Angel’s shut-up heart, but she cannot just drop all her life-long defenses. When she realizes that she is developing feelings for Michael, she feels ashamed and unworthy of him, so she runs away and goes back to prostitution. Michael finds her and brings her back, more than once. As if Angel’s own feelings of guilt are not enough to deal with, there’s Paul, Michael’s brother-in-law who had used her “services” as a prostitute. He hates Angel and does all he can to drive her away. He succeeds one more time. When Angel is gone again, Michael decides not to chase her this time and see whether the unwavering love he had shown her will make her come back on her own.