My rating: 4 of 5 stars
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE BOOK:
This was picked as part of a new bookclub. I didn’t know about our first pick before they told me it’d be all about Christian and historical fiction– oops, lol. I’m not an enthusiastic reader for historical fiction, AND I’VE NEVER READ CHRISTIAN FICTION BEFORE. I had no idea how daggy it would be, but I was reluctant at first glance. Oh well! The book was OUT OF THIS WORLD AMAZING. The writing and character arcs were so brutally emotive, I felt so invested in this book. I’m sad this isn’t a series!
Sarah (Angel/Amanda): Aka Gomer from the Bible. GUYS. THIS BOOK CAN BE EXTREMELY TRAUMATIC FOR SENSITIVE READERS. BE AWARE IT HAS MANY TRIGGERS TO DO WITH RAPE, CHILD ABUSE, AND NON-CON. Poor, sweet Sarah. The story shows her entire life: from being disowned by her wealthy father (she’s a bastard), to losing her mother, to being sold (at age EIGHT) into prostitution, being battered by the pimps, and then the journey of her finding love (and what a pure love it is, actual GOALS!). Sarah was an incredibly multi-dimensional character who reflected so many progressive ideas about women, sexuality, and status.
Michael Hosea: WHAT A DREAM! I loved Hosea. He was the perfect guy in all ways. He was more of a single-dimensioned sort of character, but I thought he was faultless 🙂
Paul: What a great anti-hero! I am not happy with him as a person, nor his happy ending, but he’s necessary to represent what most would still think of Gomer’s situation today.
Set in the Gold-Rush of California, a bastard child is sold into prostitution. She finally has an escape thanks to a Christian man who wishes to marry her. She denies him and so the cat-and-mouse came continues! The story explores faith but more importantly, self-discovery. You can sympathise with all positions in this book: pro-Angel, pro-Michael, pro-Paul, or explore entirely how you can be against their ideals. Readers will learn about themselves as they experience each of the characters’ journeys.
There are 35 chapters (including an epilogue). This book is incredibly fast-paced, and each chapter is prefaced with a quote from the Bible. It’s narrated in third-person, which is so fitting when I think we can also view this story from the POV of God, in an abstract way.
– Gomer and Hosea
– Redemption and self-forgiveness
– Is slavery a sin?
My book club agree that the ending felt rushed. The climax is around chapter 31, and so that does not leave much space for a resolution– but feel safe, fellow readers, it ends as an HEA (thank goodness).
I will be reading all of Rivers’ books from now on. She is now considered a God-tier writer in my eyes, similar to Cassie Clare or SJM. It gels so well with my preferences and I’m not sure what the technicality or reason is– if anybody can tell me, I’d love to know, so then I can search for more and have it accurate in my pursuit! 😛