Title: Love in a Broken Vessel
Author: Mesu Andrews
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
The story of the prophets of Israel after the nation had been divided into Judah and Israel, includes that of Hosea. In this well-written novel, the lives of the prophets Jonah, Hosea, Isaiah, Amos, and Micah are interspersed with that of the kings of Judah and Israel.
Those familiar with Hosea and Gomer, the prophet commanded to marry a prostitute and raise children born of prostitution (Hosea 1:2), will likely look at their story with different eyes after reading this book. Bringing ancient Biblical characters to life while weaving threads of idolatry, child sacrifice, and ritual prostitution in pagan worship, ultimately reveal the story of God’s relentless love for those who remain unfaithful to Him. The story of Hosea and Gomer, and their children, is played out in the larger picture of God’s Redemption.
Having just finished this book, I am still absorbing it all. Mesu writes with incredible depth and intensity. Every time I read her books, I am transported to the place and time and people of the story. In Love in a Broken Vessel, Hosea and Gomer come to life as former childhood friends separated by tragedy and unimaginable horrors. Reunited by a command from Yahweh, Hosea takes Gomer to be his wife. Although neither of them are at all prepared for a marriage relationship, the story of God’s love for Israel is characterized by the difficulties and challenges that Hosea and Gomer face.
The harsh realities of being a prophet of Yahweh in the face of evil kings is highlighted, and the idea that Jonah is a teacher-prophet in this book added great interest. These prophets of old were often given such dire warnings to utter, and the danger they faced as well as the personal anguish they felt, comes to life in this book.
I think one of my favorite aspects is how Gomer is portrayed. In Scripture, we know she is a prostitute, unfaithful to her husband. That is truth. But do we really know the whole story of who Gomer was or how she came to be a prostitute? I don’t think it is too far-fetched to consider this character in this fictionalized account, especially in our own world where human trafficking is at a critical high, to consider that she may have been a victim of circumstances in her world, and yet she represents the bride of God, who was also unfaithful and betrayed God with infidelity and idols. In a culture where pagan worship included prostitute-priestesses, where children were sacrificed in a fiery alter, and where little value was placed on women and children – it is not too hard to believe that Gomer was more than just a hardened harlot.
Hosea, too, is a mix of emotions and I really appreciated the fact that he was not just some holier-than-thou kind of man forced to marry beneath himself, but rather a real human being who loved the Lord and wanted to live for Him and sought to fulfill His commands.
Mesu’s characterizations come across as utterly believable, which is why I am drawn into them. Her research provides validity blending well into the fictionalized plot, twisting the realities of idol worship and God’s judgment into the overaching story of love, betrayal, infidelity, and redemption that is seen both in Hosea’s marriage to Gomer, and God’s relationship with Israel.
The characters are so relatable, the villains so unlikeable, and the blend of Scripture and story so well-done: it’s a pleasure to read Mesu’s books every single time. I can’t wait for her 4th book to come out!!!
Disclaimer: I was not paid or asked to provide this review. My mom ordered this book for me and asked Mesu to sign it for me. I met Mesu, several years ago, and we have slowly developed a “love for all things Bible” friendship over the internet. I have read all three of her novels and plan to read every novel she writes, as her stories are so beautifully written. The links to the books in this post ARE my affiliate links for Amazon. If you use them to purchase any of Mesu’s books, I would like to say “Thank you” for the modest commission I will make.