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Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review - Redeeming Love

I was introduced to this wonderful story about a decade ago by my neighbor who, after finishing it, literally ran down the street hollering (that’s southern for “yelling”) at the top of her lungs that I had to read this book and make it into a movie. Being a Christian friend and neighbor, and a screenwriter, I thanked her for it – I had never heard of Francine Rivers or the CBA at that time. Was it some sort of Christian government agency? Anyway, the title and the fancy, romantic cover put me off initially, so the book sat on my night stand for a full year! And then one evening, for some reason, I picked it up, not expecting much, until I started reading the first chapter. I think I finished the entire book in about three long sittings, cried a river of tears, gave it to my husband, friends, bought copies for all of my bible study ladies, my sister, and even my nonbelieving Dad (who hasn’t read it yet)…you get the picture. And I became one of Francine Rivers’ number one fans, having read all of her novels to date.

For those of you who know the story, it is a nineteenth century, wild-west version of Hosea the prophet who was called by God to marry a prostitute, Gomer, and stay faithful to her, despite her adulterous behavior—even purchasing her out of self-induced bondage and servitude. Likewise, in Redeeming Love, Michael Hosea, a gentle, yet ruggedly handsome man of God, is called to marry a local prostitute, known only as Angel. Angel suffers from a long life of abuse that began when she was just a child. Beautiful and captivating, yet emotionally scarred beyond repair, she is the last woman a man like Michael Hosea would desire to marry, but out of obedience to God, he agrees. Sparks fly as Angel’s emotional state fractures under the pressure of Michael’s unconditional love—something she has never known—and when the demons from her past come back to suck her back into a life of prostitution. It is the epitome of the Christ story, with all the romance, passion, emotional trauma, evil, violence, betrayal, conflict, twists and turns that a major motion picture needs to be a success.

As a Christian screenwriter, I have to say that adapting this story into a film would be an absolute dream of mine! I have visualized many of the scenes in my head for so long, that if given the opportunity, I could probably knock out a 120 page script in no time. As of about a year ago, the movie rights were held by a major Hollywood producer who is a Christian and just released a summer blockbuster that happens to be a favorite of my thirteen year old son. No hints, but the leading star in this blockbuster would be the same as my first choice to play Michael Hosea: a handsome, supremely talented Aussie who can send many a lady’s heart aflutter. I should know as I first saw him on the London stage years ago as Curly in Oklahoma – and from the front row where the view was most optimal. Hugh Jackman is his name, and he would be PERFECT as Michael Hosea. Can’t imagine anyone else to be honest, especially after seeing him in Australia with Nicole Kidman recently. And as for Angel, my first choice would be Katherine Heigl, but Angelina Jolie would be fantastic as well. Both of them have the beauty, talent and emotional range, not to mention, Hollywood A list reputation to carry the film.

I’m sure the delay in getting this story produced is the same bump in the road so many other independent producers stumble across: coming up with the money. It is expensive to make a quality, theatrical film which will attract box office talent and secure proper distribution for an audience that extends beyond the Christian moviegoer. However, there is no reason this story couldn’t attract a secular audience, particularly with the amount of conflict in the romance between Michael and Angel and the return of her abuser, Duke, who is a deliciously, colorful villain. Think Christian Slater. Ok, now I’ve just added another fistful of millions to the budget. But with the right script, I’m convinced a number one movie could be made, going all the way to the Academy Awards – to Best Picture. Wouldn’t that be magnificent?! And it all begins with the right script - and the right screenwriter, of course. 



Caroline, I couldn't agree with you more regarding everything you have written here. When I read this beautiful, passionate story, Hugh Jackman was the embodiment of Michael Hosea to me too. I have had the privilege of meeting Hugh on several occasions and he has both the strenth and gentleness that the character Michael has. He also listens intently to you when you speak and is caring and humble. Michael Hosea is the sensitive hero of every woman's dream. We imagine a man not only loving, compassionate, smart and affectionate, but also someone who would fight to protect us against any harm; a warrior after God's own Heart (like King David). Funny enough, after reading Redeeming Love for the first time about 9 years ago, I tried a hand at writing the screenplay myself, but stopped when Francine wrote me the rights had been sold. I rested then in the fact that God knows who has to bring this wonderful story to the screen. Can't wait to see how and when this all finally comes about. Until then, I've attached a link to one of my absolute favourite pictures of Hugh for you. It's one that every time I look at it, it totally says Michael Hosea to me. Maybe you'd like to add it on this review. Blessings to you Caroline. Keep touching hearts with your gift of writing!


Caroline Friday said...

Thank you, Nevaeh! I reposted this review in an effort to get all of my book and movie reviews on my blog. Originally it was posted in but wasn't archived.

Years ago, Raloh Winter was involved with this project and knew the woman who had purchased the rights - this woman wanted Hugh Jackman in the lead! But unfortunately, no one has pushed it through, so it has remained dormant. But God has a way of resurrecting great projects in a timely manner, so let's keep praying it gets made! It is an anointed story that carries the power of God! I will post this picture of Hugh Jackman!

And by the way, I did first see Mr. Jackman on the London stage years ago in Oklahoma when he was a nobody. I was sitting on the front row and when he walked out on stage singing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning!" my heart flipped. All of my friends too! We all KNEW he was going to be a major star. It was so obvious.

Thank you and God bless!