From Page to Screen: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
This post is the first in a new feature of mine: From Page to Screen! One thing I have always loved doing is reading books and watching their subsequent film versions.
First Up: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
I must be brutally honest to begin with. I did not know going into this novel that it is a Christian Romance. I have nothing against the genre, but it isn't particularly to my taste. Please take my opinions on the novel with a grain of salt, especially if you enjoy the genre.
Since publishing my own work and studying the work of others, I have found that long, drawn out prologues are not for me. This one starts with a fifty-page prologue giving the backstory of the main character. While the information is necessary to the plot, I wasn't too crazy about the author's execution in utilizing the prologue as they did.
The story opens years later, when the main character, going by the name Angel, is working in a brothel in a town called Pair-a-Dice (a play on words that I didn't get until I watched the movie!) The love interest, Michael, spots her on one of her supervised walks through town and determines that it is God's will that he marry that woman.
Michael spends what little gold dust he has in order to meet Angel over the course of three days. Each time, he's the highest bidder for Angel's night, and, each time, he wants to talk. Just talk. I thought this was a really sweet gesture, and it endeared me to him from the start. By the third night, Angel continues to rebuff his proposals to marry him.
Then, something happens that forces her to accept. He spirits her away to his farm in the middle of nowhere. Angel has known nothing but cruelty and being used since she was a small girl, so Michael's tenderness and patience is completely alien to her.
Over time, Angel begins to open up. She and Michael build a friendship that eventually turns into love. I won't spoil any of the details there.
I wasn't the biggest fan of the author's writing style. A lot of it was telling instead of showing. One thing she did was have the characters peer back to conversations that happened in the past. While they happened on the page, they didn't always happen chronologically.
The main character was lacking. To me, she read as though she were stuck in a catatonic state for years. I rarely felt emotion for her, and I really wanted to.
By the end of the novel, I was just ready to put it down.
Admittedly, given that I didn't really enjoy the novel, I wasn't looking forward to watching the movie.
I was wrong.
I don't know that I've ever been so glad to be wrong about a movie.
The film follows the same basic bones of story that the novel did. However, the writers of the film actually gave Angel a personality. She was witty and sarcastic. She was unapologetic and empowered. There was very little, if any, of that in the novel. It was refreshing to see.
The film sprinkled in bits and pieces of Angel's history that were spelled out in the prologue, and they did it in such an artful way.
I enjoyed getting to see the friendship and romance play out between Michael and Angel. It more than made up for what the novel was lacking in the romance department.
There were a few key changes that I really liked. In the novel, Michael renames Angel like twice. I think he meant for it to be sweet, a way of breaking her ties to her past. However, in the movie, he completely accepts her for who she is. He doesn't try to change her, and that, to me, is so incredibly beautiful.
The movie condensed a 500 page novel into an hour and a half movie. They did a really great job with it.
Of course, I love anything to do with the Old West, so seeing the costumes and settings set in the mid-1800s was a treat.
If you enjoy Christian Romance, you may enjoy the novel. However, expect to find plenty of prose and not very much romance on the actual page.
If you enjoy any kind of romance (similar to Bridgerton really in the historical aspect), definitely check out the movie. It is well worth the watch!
Also, Tom Lewis, I have a devilishly handsome villain that I'd like you to play. :)