Sunday, July 12, 2009

Book Review: The Last Sin Eater

After reading my first Francine Rivers novel, I promptly put the rest on my Bookmooch wishlist. The Last Sin Eater showed up from the Philippines several months after I mooched it; unfortunately it showed up at the same time as a large stack of review books. Finally, I got to it this weekend. Unfortunately, it wasn't worth the wait.

The story is set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1850's. The main character is a ten year old girl. When her grandmother dies, she is taken to the cemetery with bread and wine placed on her body. Before she is buried the "sin eater"; a man wearing a mask, comes down and eats the bread and drinks the wine and takes her grandmother's sins away so she can go to heaven. According to a forward by Rivers, sin eaters were common in the early 19th century in Wales and Scotland, which is where the people in this area were from. This girl was carrying a horrible burden of sin--or shall we say blame--and decided to try to get the sin eater to take her sin away even though she was still alive. In searching for him, she runs across a man who is trying to teach about Jesus, but the local leader won't let him. When she finds the sin eater, the sin eater agrees to try to take her sin, but makes her promise to do what he asks. He asks her to go listen to the man of God and tell him what she learns. Of course she learns that Jesus is the only one who can take away our sins. There is more to the story, including how the sin eater was chosen for the job but still and all, I could see where this was going from the very beginning. It was not up to par with Rivers other work.


  1. Anonymous8:20 AM

    Have you read The Atonement Child? Our book club read it and I really enjoyed it. It was a little contrived, but the message was good.

  2. Yes, I read it, and like you, I liked the message but thought the book could be better.

    Some of Rivers' other books I've read:


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