I saw this book on a bloggers site. They described it as life changing so I had to read it for myself.
P.S. I’ve added subtitles since the review is longer than anticipated.
This novel is the retelling of the book of Hosea which is about a prophet who is told by God to marry a prostitute. This books mirrors the story through Angel, a young woman who exposed to prostitution at a tender age, and Michael, a man of God, deeply rooted in his faith who
This made me think about life (rather cheesy but true). In the prologue, we are taken into the life of a young girl called Sarah who lives in poverty with her mother who hangs onto strange men as a way to meet ends. The prologue ends after her mother dies, and she is taken by her then step-dad to live with a new family. Little did they both know she was being sold into a life of early prostitution.
Throughout the book, Angel refers back to her childhood in order to compensate for who she has become. As the reader we have also seen her childhood, and we can track back to it as a vague memory. The same way you would if you were to trace back your own. I like the way Rivers enabled us to do that.
The first chapter flashes forward into Angels life, as the story unwinds we get a feel of who angel is; a dark, stubborn, fearless, young and beautiful lady. At times I would forget that she was once an innocent girl called Sarah, yet I learned to love her as the character holds so much strength and she is nothing less than honest about who she is and her situation. She lives life not caring what happens to her and keeping herself to herself. The deeper we go into her mind, the easier it becomes to relate to her, despite the fact she was in a situation I couldn’t imagine being in. Rivers describes Angel as she is her faults and weaknesses, and her strengths.
Then Michael Hosea comes into the scene. He is the example of what a perfect husband should be. Strong, kind, men fear him and women would throw their bodies at him. He has self-control and has faith in God. He marries Angel, and takes her out of prostitution, only for her to betray him several times and refuse to display the same affection. On Michael’s behalf it is a constant battle with his God and his mind. Rivers writes his mental battles so realistically. Throughout the novel he does nothing but good towards Angel, and there are moments where I wonder if he is out of his mind by never leaving his wife’s side, regardless of what she does. Then I remember that is the whole point of marriage.
Rivers places us in America 1800’s, the imagery was great, and I could feel the air, see the horses and costumes as if I was placed in the scenery. Rivers brings us deep into Angel’s world before introducing Michael Hosea, who marries her and takes her away with him to his farm. Angel’s life changes drastically, she goes from being a high class silk wearing harlot to a farmer’s wife whose daily clothing is her husband’s dead sister.
This novel looks at commitment to you and to others. It makes you see how our past can corrupt a beautiful future laid out before you. Rivers gives us insights into both Michael and Angel’s past, as they open up with each other. The story ends with a summary of where Michael and Angel end up. Although the ending felt predictable whilst reading, each conflict and heavy stone Rivers chucked at the characters felt as if they would never reach their destiny. In fact I wondered if one of them would not even make it to the end.
Note: There are many biblical references. If you know your bible many names hold meanings and scenarios can be traced to parables and stories.
What’s it changed?
I have always been in the middle of the nature/nurture debate in terms of where our habits and personalities come from. It’s impossible to measure the exact reason why someone behaves a certain way. This book has opened my eyes to tracking back certain scenes in childhood, and letting them go. For a majority of the novel, Angel had been holding onto so much hurt, and for her to live her life to its fullest potential she had to let go of everything.
I’ve also realised how completely different our paths of lives can be, yet there can still be a way to connect. Michael and Angel had completely different upbringings, but were able to eventually (after years of perseverance, patience and heartache) to live in some sort of harmony.
I would recommend this book, particularly those interested in relationships; it’s changed the way I perceive myself and love.