My college literature courses first opened my eyes to the wonders of reading. Though I’d been required to read in high school, the task was more chore than discovery. Learning the elements of fiction and the versatility of the language is what turned my head, and once I acquired the taste, I couldn’t stay away. Each semester I filled my mind with the nuts and bolts of story and genre, and during the breaks, I’d veg out on the romantic and fantastical. The best of both worlds.

Not until years after graduation did I come across the book that changed my view of fiction forever.  Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers breathed new life into my love for reading. As an English major, I learned early to appreciate the educational value of a good book. I also readily accepted the entertainment value of a nice, happily-ever-after romance.  But Redeeming Love offered something more.redeeming-love-250[1]

Set in the 1800s and based loosely on the biblical story of Hosea, Francine Rivers’ 1997 historical romance chronicles the story of a young woman’s journey from the degradation and abuses of prostitution to the hope and healing of a life-changing, soul-deep love.  Though the story revolves around the tangible expressions of that love shown by Michael Hosea, the hero of the novel, the heart of the story lies in the revelation of “God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.”

Never before had a work of fiction challenged the way I viewed life or made me reevaluate my definition of love. This novel did more than educate or entertain. It transformed my ideals, my outlook, and my worldview. Redeeming Love showed me of the true power of story and taught me never to take it for granted.

What book opened your eyes to the power of story?