Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers was probably the first romance I read when I was in college. And I loved it!
Redeeming Love is actually based off the Biblical story of Gomer and Hosea. You know the age-old story where God tells Hosea to marry that girl and Hosea is all, but she’s a prostitute God! And God is all, did I stutter? Tale as old as time. 😉
Anyhow, when I first read this book I was like how in the world is this going to unfold, because I had read the Bible story and most of the characters in the Bible (imo, not to offend anyone) are pretty bland and straightforward because they are teaching lessons not entertainment. So how was she going to bring these two-dimensional characters to life? Well, she did and she did an amazing job!
I loved both love interests. Angel has a heartbreaking backstory and her attitude stems from that, and her brokenness is why I was drawn to her character.
Michael is a little too good to be true at times, but his persistence also makes him a likable character.
Overall, this was a really good book to start off the romance genre for me. Not to mention I love the time period of the gold rush. If you are looking for a sweet romance with some dark undertones and a religious background I recommend you read this book.