I don't read romance novels. My wife does, but I don't. I like to read all kinds of books, but I don't read romance novels. In fact, I pride myself on the variety of books that I read. To illustrate, I'm currently reading William Demski's The Design Revolution about intelligent design, and I've recently read a huge biography of Benjamin Franklin, and some novels by Randy Singer and an inspirational book by Max Lucado. And of course, I read the Bible every day. I just started reading Blue Like Jazz, a kind of quirky spiritual book by Don Miller. So I think I can show that I read a variety of books. But until I came across Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, I did not read romance novels.
So why did I read this one, especially when it is 467 pages long? Well, I was preaching through the Bible this year, and my mom said that Redeeming Love was the retelling of the story of Hosea in the Old Testament. So I started to read it, and found it engrossing. I recommended it to some ladies, and they came back to me with tears in their eyes saying they had bought it, read it, and it changed their lives. Meanwhile I was still making my way through the book myself. It was so captivating, that I couldn't put it down, but whenever I wanted to take it somewhere to read (like when I was waiting at the doctor's office), my wife would ask me not to take it out in public. The book cover is so feminine (see the picture here that I stole from amazon.com) that I guess she was afraid people would think I had turned into a sissy or something carrying the thing around. So I wanted to read it, but had to wait until I had time to read it around the house.
Anyway, I finished it. Wow! Imagine a PG-13 rated Western romance novel that makes you feel the constantly forgiving love of God right in the pit of your gut, and you have a slight idea of what it was like to read the book. Women will cry their eyes out. Guys will say, "Man, I wish I was like Michael Hosea." And everybody who reads it will say, "What an awesome God we have!"
For those skeptics who say I'm over the top to say "everybody who reads it," I would refer you to amazon.com, where over 300 people reviewed the book and the average rating was 5 stars out of 5 stars. Check it out, guys. It might make you fall in love with your wife all over again, and make you want to be a man of God.