I’m Dani Ward,

and I do lots of things.

Redeeming Love

Welcome to my Redeeming Love review series, in which I take this well-loved Christian novel and critically analyze it through a lens that prioritizes consent and respect.

I’m going to be upfront with my overall review from the get-go: this book, while well-intentioned, tells dangerous stories about the nature of love and can be downright toxic for survivors of sexual assault who come to it for hope and healing.

I’m reviewing it in sections rather than by chapter. It’s broken apart into rather obvious sections, so I think it’ll flow a bit better to do it that way. I’m very thorough, so breaking it into sections like this allows for a more complete investigation into how the author explores the topics of love and healing from abuse, topics that are very near and dear to my heart.

Trigger warnings.

I’m coming to this book and these reviews as a survivor of both childhood and adult sexual abuse, topics this book explores in uncomfortable depth. For this entire series, there are major trigger warnings for frank discussion of childhood sexual abuse, rape, sex trafficking, incest, and domestic violence. I’ll do my best to be sensitive, but I will also be as forthright as needed when addressing how Rivers’ depicts this violence and her characters’ reactions to it. I’ll put specific trigger warnings at the beginning of every post, so that other survivors can decide for themselves whether the review is something they want to handle on a particular day and so they’re aware of what they’re getting into.

Credit where credit is due.

My friend Lindsay wrote a really excellent review of this book in 2014 (republished here). Hers is literally the only review I’ve ever found that approaches the book critically, and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the work she did in putting that review together. I’m sure you’ll notice that we found the same themes problematic, and I hope that lends credence to our critical analysis of this well-beloved novel.