I first read "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers in college (this newest copy is a 20th anniversary edition). A dear friend of mine recommended it and I devoured it. I was a new Christian, stepping out in faith and walking in the light. I still love being around new Christians; they have such an enthusiasm. I had such enthusiasm when I read this book, which is a love story that tells you about God's unconditional love, I believe I read it in a few hours.
In "Redeeming Love" a man named Michael Hosea takes a leap of faith when God leads him to marry Angel, a woman sold into prostitution as a young child. He (Hosea) loves her unconditionally, despite her checkered past and often disgruntled attitude toward him. Angel feels her heart softening and runs (if your heart is hardened that much, I imagine it'd be scary to feel it thaw out). She runs back but realizes that she cannot run from the One who loves her even more unconditionally than her husband: God.
I don't normally like love stories. I read a lot of them growing up and still do (Twilight, anyone?). I think most love stories give an unrealistic view of marriage (or shacking up). "Redeeming Love" is unlike other romance novels in that it is merely a re-telling of a Bible story. It's not a Christian Harlequin romance all dolled up in beautiful religious-sounding words. No, it's a story about God. It's a story about following Him despite the unknown or scary-seeming places He may lead us.
I really do enjoy this book. I have never heard anything bad said about it (and a LOT of my girl friends have read it). Obviously, it continues to resound with women 20 years and over one million copies later because it's not just a human love story. It's a story about our ultimate Lover.
Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others may or may not have the same experiences that I've had.