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The Last Sin Eater Paperback – February 1, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 406 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Even in her romances, Rivers (Redeeming Love, LJ 11/1/97) tackles some difficult issues, so this story of a family and a community in turmoil is different from her other books only in that it lacks a love interest. Ten-year-old Cadi's grief over her beloved grandmother?the only person who seemed to love her unconditionally?is compounded by a previous family tragedy for which she believes her family blames her. While at her grandmother's grave, Cadi sees the "sin eater," a human who absolves the residents of the tiny Smoky Mountain community of their sins. Somehow Cadi, touchingly portrayed by Rivers, comes to realize that the sin eater is false and learns of Jesus, and her conversion to Christianity leads to a reconciliation with her family. Rivers delivers both a powerful message about Christian beliefs and the need for forgiveness of sins and an evocative portrayal of life in the 1850s. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Taking a bold step into the arena of historical suspense, Francine Rivers draws readers into a captivating tale of suffering, seeking, and redemption. Set in the highlands of the Great Smoky Mountains, The Last Sin Eater is a masterful blend of realistic characters, historical accuracy, and compelling mystery. As always, Rivers weaves a story that goes beyond entertainment to the only One who can truly set us free: Jesus, the Christ. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Later Printing edition (February 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0842335714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0842335713
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (406 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #782,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the second Francine Rivers novel I've read. ATONEMENT CHILD was the first. After reading both of them, I found myself praying and thinking for a long time after. In my opinion, that's a good book!
Some reviews stated they thought Cadi and Fagan's King James Bible talking unbelievable. I had no problem with it. Like the masterfully woven dialect, the way the children talked after being saved kept pace with the rest of the story.
For three nights (two in Fagan's case), they'd been listening to the "man of God" speak to them in this way (King James) for hours and hours. These children had no television, no deficit of attention as we do. :) They soaked up and repeated everything they'd heard over and over--to Miss Elda, to Bletsung, to the sin eater, to each other.
I also saw their child-like faith as a perfect picture of the new believer. The Word is everything then--nothing else matters. There is an urgency to witness and share that can only be described as "life or death".
For me, Rivers recaptured my own salvation experience and fascination with the Word of God. Althugh I still study the Bible daily and witness often, I spent hours after the final page searching myself for the initial passion (and compassion) for the lost I had during those first hours, days, weeks, of my conversion.
This book is not only an entertaining read, but a picture of how God blesses those who love them, even to a thousand generations. I wonder too, who among my ancestors held out, praying, hoping... for me.
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By A Customer on April 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Like other reviewers, I had never read Francine Rivers. If this book had not been given to me as a gift I never would have read it. I am so thankful I received it! I plan on reading more of her work.
This is the story of a girl's journey to find forgiveness. Her pain is deep and believable, and if you've ever needed forgiveness you will identify with her immediately.
All of the characters in The Last Sin Eater have depth. After finishing the book, I found myself thinking of them, something very few authors have made me do.
Although this is an easy read, it is suspenseful,humbling, heartwarming, and very well written. Definitely not one-dimensional. I laughed and I cried. I had to force myself to put it down at 3:30 a.m., (and it was difficult). I highly recommend it.
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By A Customer on June 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is the best book I've read in a very long time. The story pulls you in and leaves you wondering what's going to happen next. As the mystery unravelled, I couldn't put it down! But beyond the interesting story line, more importantly, this book really opened my mind and soul to the real meaning of forgiveness. Young Cadi's struggle with her remorse and guilt had me crying, and I don't easily cry over books. I should also say that I'm not a frequent Christian-fiction reader. I have read the Left Behind series, and those are just sadly lacking in inspiration compared to The Last Sin Eater. If you're looking for a great story that's going to reignite your faith and goodness, read this book!
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Format: Paperback
WOW!! i was blown away by this book and the message that it sends out. This is a great book for people of all ages of every nation!! this book is one of a kind because you see that the main characters are young children, most fiction books are written with adults as the main characters. Having a young main character draws in young readers like myself!!! This IS the greatest book of all time... once you start it, it is impossible to put down! you will want to just keep reading it over and over again!!! (which i have many times)
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By K. Miller on July 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
What an amazing book! Francine Rivers does it again with The Last Sin Eater. Some of the main themes in this book are forgiveness and standing up for what's right even when it isn't popular. Mrs. Rivers does an excellent job of writing characters complete with flaws and unique personalities. This book illustrates how the Lord can use even the most ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. The story is compelling and will make you stop and think.
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Format: Paperback
The sin eater is a tradition that came from England to America. It was a person who was paid a fee to take the sins of a community upon himself. That person then became a social outcast and recluse. This book tells the story of the last sin eater, deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Little Cadi Forbes feels the weight of her sin so severly that she is driven to find the sin eater. The process is one of discovery, intrigue, and redemption, as she learns the true nature of sin and salvation and ends up turning her whole world (and her secret-bound community) completely upside down. Easily Rivers' most unusual book, it is also one of her most powerful. Five Stars.
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Format: Hardcover
This book quickly and completely drew me in. Not usually the sentimental type, I pretty much cried nonstop through the first eighty or so pages.

Like others on this site, though, I was disappointed by the "sunshine and lollipops" conversion of the primary characters. These characters deserved more depth, more struggle with both their old nature and their deep-rooted misconceptions of redemption and forgiveness.

That being said, I was pleased with the resolution of my two favorite characters--Cadi and her mother. Let's face it, by page 10 most of us were ready to adopt the guilt-wracked child and struggled to see a deeper level to Cadi's mother than the woman's frigid surface. The final scene with the two was delicately constructed and wonderfully revealing, and saved an otherwise saccharine ending.

So, the 3-star rating is an average--I give five to the engaging beginning, four to River's 11th-hour rescue of the ending, three to the cast of characters as a whole, two to the misuse/underuse of a potentially riveting character like the sin eater, and one to the "Lifetime movie" treatment of Cadi's conversion.

Not a bad piece of fiction, though, and I will seek out Rivers' work again.
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