So, this is one of those books that I think could have been so much better. The story is basically about Christian redemption, but the book is much too long for the story.
In a (loose) retelling of the biblical book of Hosea, a young girl, Sara, is sold into prostitution and bullied and abused by her pimp. Ten years later, during the Gold Rush, Sara/Angel/Amanda is beaten to a pulp and agrees (sorta) to marry a simple Christian farmer, Michael, to escape the situation. Michael is basically a saint, but Angel/Amanda keeps running away from him and from her feelings.
NOTE: Apparently, there are at least two versions of this book; one includes much more graphic violence and sex. This audiobook was not that version. However, the story is about a prostitute and does include many references to that trade and it’s risks.
The Biblical Hosea was one of the minor prophets in the Old Testament; the book of Hosea is seen as an analogy of God’s punishment and redemption of Israel. There are references throughout the novel that might confuse readers not familiar with the Bible story. A single example is the fact that Sara/Angel/Amanda sheds her clothes on one important scene that has nothing to do with her job as a prostitute. In case you need them, these are the Cliff’s Notes (seriously) for Hosea.
The main character of this novel is definitely Sara/Angel/Amanda, not Michael. She was mistreated, I get it. She was not in control of her life, I get it. Michael is her chance at redemption, I get it. There was no need to continue to pound those facts into my head over and over, with multiple examples and side stories to assist. The story can basically be told in a single paragraph, but this novel took over 17 hours.
I see some reviews here on GR that gush about this book, and maybe it’s because I’m not the target audience (although I am a Christian). But I found it repetitive and overlong.
The narrator, Kate Forbes, does a fine job with the material. There are both male and female voices in the story and her tone and inflection changed just enough to tell who was speaking.