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MY 5 FAVORITE NOVELS OF THE 1ST HALF OF THE YEAR

1. REDEEMING LOVE
By Francine Rivers

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Redeeming Love is the retelling of the book of HOSEA (found in the Old Testament).
God told Hosea to marry Gomer the prostitute. He keeps on loving her despite her acts of adultery. Their love story was written to display the relationship between God and Israel.
Francine Rivers brilliantly chose to retell this raw, yet riveting love story in the midst of the 1850 California Gold Rush, a time when men sold their souls for gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep at night.
What this story is REALLY about:
This story is about Love. Matchless, dangerous, and boundless LOVE. The theme of this beautiful love story is how true love can transform even the worst of humanity into something brand new. What was once tarnished and dirty becomes reborn. This story isn’t about second chances. It’s about third and fourth and fifth and so on…
Like Angel, we all run from love and true acceptance… don’t we? We assume our past deems us detestable and blacklisted from Grace. As you read the pages from this book I suspect your soul will resonate with the hardness, fear and anger that Angel uses as a shield to block every good thing that comes to her. She is convinced she is unworthy.
This story is about God saying YOU are LOVED, YOU are WORTHY, YOU are MINE.

2. THE ATONEMENT CHILD

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You’ve got to pardon me. I read other writers books but I’m so hooked on Francine rivers. She’s an awesome, brilliant veteran writer.
I first read The Atonement Child in 2011, and its powerful message has remained with me ever since. Dynah Carey knew where her life was headed. Engaged to a wonderful man, the daughter of doting parents, a faithful child of God, she had it all. Then the unthinkable happens: Dynah’s perfect life is irrevocably changed by a rape that results in an unwanted pregnancy. Her family is torn apart and her seemingly rock-solid faith is pushed to the limits as she faces the most momentous choice of her life: to embrace or to end the life within her. This is ultimately a tale of three women, as Dynah’s plight forces both her mother and her grandmother to face the choices they made. Written with balance and compassion, “The Atonement Child” brings a new perspective to the most controversial topic of our times.
What impacted me the most was the portrayal of the Christians in Dynah’s life and how they reacted to the tragedy. While I’d like to think that I would be supportive of her and do whatever I can to help her, I know that I’m not perfect and I would likely make presumptive judgments as well. It made me think about the ways that I approach situations and taught me to not make assumptions about people.
The Atonement Child is powerful, and it is yet another masterful work by Francine Rivers. It is worth your time!

3. AND THE SHOFAR BLEW
Also by Francine Rivers

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In the Old Testament, God called His people to action with the blast of the shofar, a ram’s horn. He still calls His people today.
In this relevant and timely novel, dynamic young preacher Paul Hudson is committed to building his church—but at what cost? When Paul accepted the call to pastor the struggling church, he had no idea what to expect. But it didn’t take long for Paul to turn Centerville Christian Church around. Attendance is up, way up, and everything is going so well. If only his wife, Eunice, could see it that way. Still, he tries not to let her quiet presence distract him. But Eunice knows that something isn’t right . . . and it hasn’t been for a long time.
The more Paul’s zeal and ambition builds, the more he loses sight of the One who called him. As Paul and those around him struggle to discern what it truly means to live out their faith, they must ultimately choose between their own will and God’s plan.
And the Shofar blew is a profound book and a must-read for Christians especially. The book is realistic in its description of the day-to-day life of the average pastor. It also highlights the importance of a praying spouse and a godly grandmother, and emphasizes the importance of having a relationship with the Heavenly Father.
Finally, the book points out the fact that no one is perfect; everyone has their flaws, and only the grace of God can keep one on the right track.

4. BRIDGE TO HAVEN

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The book begins with Pastor Zeke discovering a little girl, just born, abandoned by the bridge into Haven. Taking her in for her first years, he eventually feels he must give her to another family from his church to raise. Devastated, Abra kicks back against the situation, feeling that it is just another instance of her being abandoned. You can sense the deep hurt on both sides, but also the integrity as the pastor tries to do what he feels is right.
Eventually Abra grows into a beautiful young woman, but when a fast-talking, fast-driving boy turns up in town that both she and her ‘sister’ fall for, it is she that turns her back on all she has known and runs away with him. Abra soon learns life’s lessons the hard way as she is used and abused by the boy.
Ending up in Hollywood, Abra becomes a rising acting star – but only due to a controlling agent desperate to make a comeback.
There are so many things that spoke to me in this story. It is obviously about temptation, grace and unconditional love. However it is also about making mistakes and having to live with the consequences, feeling helpless, lost and alone, what it is like to have to let go and watch someone make decisions you know aren’t good for them, learning to grow up and take responsibility, having to face those you’ve hurt (and those people face you). Even though the book was set in 1950s America, the themes are universal and timeless.

5. LEOTA’S GARDEN

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Leota Reinhardt’s garden had always been a sanctuary. She’d named it Victory to keep her spirits up during her husband’s tour of duty in World War II. Now an elderly woman, Leota has lost hope and her garden is overgrown with weeds.
In the nick of time, Leota’s granddaughter, Annie, comes to visit, hoping to close the gap between her grandmother and her mother. Corban Solsek, a young, university student studying the elderly, takes interest in Leota for his research project.
Hope rebounds as these compelling characters struggle to make peace with the past and bring Leotas garden back to life.
Francine Rivers is a master gardener, deftly pruning brush and deadwood, using poignant humor and bittersweet revelation to open hearts to reconciliation.

ABOUT FRANCINE RIVERS

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Francine Rivers, an ECPA gold medallion winner, is the beloved author of several best-selling books like the Mark of the Lion series, Redeeming Love, and the Atonement Child. Many of her books have sold up to a million or more copies and continue to remain on bestseller lists around the world. Learn more about her here

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