Book Reviews of The Rapture of Canaan

The Rapture of Canaan
The Rapture of Canaan
Author: Sheri Reynolds
The Market's bargain prices are even better for Paperbackswap club members!
Retail Price: $15.00
Buy New (Paperback): $12.29 (save 18%) or
Become a PBS member and pay $8.39+1 PBS book credit (save 44%)
ISBN-13: 9780425162446
ISBN-10: 0425162443
Publication Date: 4/8/1997
Pages: 336
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 448

3.8 stars, based on 448 ratings
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

78 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
Well written and absorbing. One of very few books that give an ambiguous take on religious fanatacism. Where most books treat the subject with disdain and condemnation and stereotyping, this book makes one want to spend a week with the poignant members of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and Gods Almighty Baptizing Wind and live their kind of life - as long as one stays out of trouble.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 373 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
Fabulous writing - will make you scream with injustice at all the "good" work (that is truly so ugly) being accomplished in the name of someone so holy. This book may make you reconsider for just a moment what it means to live the spiritual life. Don't be surprised if you find yourself more forgiving of the sins of others after you read this. Above all else, it makes you realize we're all human.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Excellent book. I appreciated the point of view. You really had sympathy for her and her choices. One of my favorites.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 57 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
An amazing author who knows how to weave words into a story that you can't put down. It is a tragic story - yet encouraging to anyone who has ever felt the burden of following his or her own heart. This story is, in the end, about one young girl staying true - against all odds - to her own heart and that of the child she loves.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Heavy duty. Thought provoking. Heartbreaking and challenging.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
The Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind! Thats the name of the church these two teens belong to. Growing up in a very rigid church community where grandpa is the Preacher can be a bit difficult especially when.......I'll have to stop there ;) READ THE BOOK!!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This is the story of a girl who has to contend with her grandpa who is a preacher at the Church of Fire and Brimstone and Gods Almighty Baptizing Wind. Do I need to say more? This was heartfelt and I am shocked by what Nina has to go through but at the same time compelled by her honesty. Nina's voice is very similar to that of Caliope in the book Middlesex by Euginides. Definitely Recommended!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 229 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A really great novel about growing up in a church where everything is forbidden. But sometimes temptation comes and we can do nothing about it.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 143 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Like Reynolds' other stories-this book of the SOuth captures the hear nd soul of family, loyalties and love. Ninah's brave choices, and courage to see beyond the closed ways of a patriacharal system bring this story's best into sublime. There is more to life than Grandpa Herman's Truths.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Very interesting tale about extreme religious fundamentalism in America. Grandpa is in charge of the compound where these folks, mostly kin, live and worship together. What he says is gospel truth, even though it's mostly about his power over the others and not the grace, mercy and love that are really part of the true Gospel.

Told through the eyes of a young girl who finds herself in an impossible situation, it's interesting how many in the church really don't buy totally into the ways of Grandpa, but for some reason they are compelled to put up with the extreme punishment, constant fear and twisted sermons.

I really enjoyed this book. Unfortunately, these kinds of groups do exist in our society today, and can make those who really do try to pattern their lives after Christ look bad to those who lump all Christians into one fanatical mold.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Folksy and haunting!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I am not much of an avid reader, but this story and the writing were so captivating, I couldn't put it down. The young main character is faced with a very grown-up dilemma, but humor pokes in every now and then when she says something that only a child's mind would think of.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A dark and fascinating book, not for light reading.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on
Helpful Score: 2
Powerful and tragic. Captures the coming of age in an isolated and freakishly fundamental religious community.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 88 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I enjoyed this book so much. Well written story of what can happen if we
let others do our thinking for us.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I first read this about 12 years ago, and it is still one of my favorite books, still telling friends about it. I've read it several times, and each time I learn something new from it, I find new meaning in it as I get older. Ninah and James are two incredible characters living in the means of their family's religious beliefs, their Grandfather the head of it all. The story flows in the past and present beautifully, telling you the story of Nana and Grandpa Herman, and in the present with Ninah, James, and the rest of the family.

I was a little embarassed in my English class at CCU; when I was telling the class this was one of my favorite books on our first day, one of my classmates commented that Sheri Reynolds was her aunt!!! This author lived in this area, and even came to the class a few years later since this turned into a reading assignment.......

Loved this. Just writing this review makes me want to go get it and start reading.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 53 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
After reading Escape by Carolyn Jessop, I found myself looking for books centered around religious cults because the traditions and beliefs are astounding. I ordered this book hoping to feel enthralled and captivated by the religious culture portrayed in this book.

I did finish this book, but only to see what happened at the end. The entire time I read this book, I felt like it was written by someone in a middle school english contest. I understand that the ideas and language style refered to the main character herself, but I found it annoying. I felt like I could have written the same and had it published as well. The story itself was ok, but I feel it was poorly written.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This was an interesting look at how a religious belief can be taken to the extreme. I enjoyed reading the book.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I enjoyed this book very much. This type of story line is right up my alley... I seek out books like this, fictional yet believable... I only gave it 3.5 stars due to the hands issue. I don't want to reveal too much for those reading this review prior to reading the book. I have already passed it along to my fellow readers with a good recommendation.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Not worth my time. I did not at all enjoy this book. I had to finish it because I thought I needed to know how it ended. It didn't matter I was confused thru the entire book and never really caught on to what the story line was. I would not suggest this to anyone who is new in faith/religion, because it has a lot of "cultish" type suggestions.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book definitely kept my attention through the whole book. It tells of a different, relious group of people who formed their own town which is mostly made up of family and of their strict life. To tell more would be giving the book away but it has unexpected turns and events. Overall, I enjoyed really this book.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 59 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really like this one. It was a fast read for me.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book so much, it made me want to go out and learn how to weave.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book is very depressing. Better ending though.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very powerful reading!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a very emotional book. It is well written with very strong characters. Many twists, turns and surprises throughout the book.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 643 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Rapture of Canaan is an honestly good book. A highly engrossing tale about an extremely religious commune and the severity of their faith. A novel of sharply-crafted twists and turns and one that will play with your emotions. This is a story of one girl's faith in her church and in God and her struggle to balance freedom within the iron walls of the world in which she lives.
Grandpa Herman, founder of The Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind, has a flock to tend to -- his congregation, where some mimic Herman's steadfast and unnerving faith, and some who occassionally stray from the righteous path. And perhaps the most surprising stray of all is his granddaughter, Ninah. Twelve-year-old Ninah, who finds difficulty in controlling her first adolescent stirrings, manages somehow to twist them and convince herself the things she does with her prayer partner, James, is nothing more than learning about Jesus's love through each other. And once the community finds out, the whole system of the Church is shocked to a halt. "The wages of sin is death," says Grandpa Herman. The story plays out wickedly as the truth of Ninah's transgressions plummets to an end....The rapture has come.
The Rapture of Canaan is a powerful and stunning novel. Shari Reynold's prose is a tapestry of faith, religion, fear, sadness, life and death, all woven to create a picture of a cult-like existence and how it effects those in which it governs. A truly page-turning saga that expresses the all-encompassing love for Jesus and the trials of a girl finding her way. An uplifting and frightening mix. A great read.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Heartbreaking.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book definitely made me rethink my attitudes about some of the obscure cults out there. This book was an interesting read.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 643 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Rapture of Canaan is an honestly good book. A highly engrossing tale about an extremely religious commune and the severity of their faith. A novel of sharply-crafted twists and turns and one that will play with your emotions. This is a story of one girl's faith in her church and in God and her struggle to balance freedom within the iron walls of the world in which she lives.
Grandpa Herman, founder of The Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind, has a flock to tend to -- his congregation, where some mimic Herman's steadfast and unnerving faith, and some who occassionally stray from the righteous path. And perhaps the most surprising stray of all is his granddaughter, Ninah. Twelve-year-old Ninah, who finds difficulty in controlling her first adolescent stirrings, manages somehow to twist them and convince herself the things she does with her prayer partner, James, is nothing more than learning about Jesus's love through each other. And once the community finds out, the whole system of the Church is shocked to a halt. "The wages of sin is death," says Grandpa Herman. The story plays out wickedly as the truth of Ninah's transgressions plummets to an end....The rapture has come.
The Rapture of Canaan is a powerful and stunning novel. Shari Reynold's prose is a tapestry of faith, religion, fear, sadness, life and death, all woven to create a picture of a cult-like existence and how it effects those in which it governs. A truly page-turning saga that expresses the all-encompassing love for Jesus and the trials of a girl finding her way. An uplifting and frightening mix. A great read.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Thought provoking book. Very haunting.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 158 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Two cassettes, total running time 3 hours. Abridgement approved by the author.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 386 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a very good book. It immerses you in the life of a cult member, and lets the reader really see what that kind of a life is like. The main characters are well defined and complex but realistic in their reactions. Reynolds resists the temptation to demonize the cult leader (though at times he seems intolerable) and writes with insight. Great book.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Quick read- compelling characters
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 216 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Teenage sexual tension set in an isolated religious community where everything is run by one man - Grandpa Herman. Compelling story.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 91 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
You easily get involved with the characters in this quick, compelling read.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
OPRAH BOOK CLUB
HELPED ME TO UNDERSTAND HOW SOME RELIGIONS CAN TRAP GOOD PEOPLE INTO BECOMING AWFUL
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Haunting. You will remember the people in this book long after you have finished it.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Takes you to another place. A really nice read.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 524 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Beautiful story of religion and love.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 7 more book reviews
A moving story of families and faith.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 21 more book reviews
At the Church of Fire & Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, and everyone obeys - or else! But even in this isolated community where it seems nearly everything is forbidden, temptation occasionally touches the congregations... and for Ninah, temptation comes in the form of her prayer partner James............
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 13 more book reviews
A very moving story of the strength and determination of a girl brought up in extreme religious circumstances that shapes her life forever.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 7 more book reviews
I read this in 24 hours. It was a really good story. I definitely recommend this one!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 682 more book reviews
Wow what a freak show this book is. It was like a tain wreck, you know you shouldn't look but you cannot help yourself. There is not a likeable character in this book, they are all crazy and pollute one another with their skewed thinking. that being said, I read it mostly in one day and really wanted to know what happened! I know it is fiction, but it does leave me with concerns that there really are people out there in the world living like this and that saddens me.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 4 more book reviews
Excellent book, a real page turner. I was initially hesitant to pick up this book, unsure if it was going to be religious or not, but it turns out that while it dealt with a cult-like religion, the book itself was not religious. The book was very well written and the story compelling, I would highly recommend it!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 112 more book reviews
Great Story!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 524 more book reviews
A very interesting book from a good Southern writer. The tragedy and heartbreak is palpable and I actually felt sorry for the characters in the book. Even if you are not a "religious" person, this book will hold your attention.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 3 more book reviews
The Rapture of Canaan is a powerful and stunning novel. Shari Reynold's prose is a tapestry of faith, religion, fear, sadness, life and death, all woven to create a picture of a cult-like existence and how it effects those in which it governs. A truly page-turning saga that expresses the all-encompassing love for Jesus and the trials of a girl finding her way. An uplifting and frightening mix. A great read.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 205 more book reviews
very good
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 21 more book reviews
A indepth insite into a young girls life in a cult. It was extrememly interesting but so sad at the same time. I wish that they would come out with a second book telling more of life after this one
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 22 more book reviews
An oldie but a goodie! Contemporary Southern fiction. Happy Reading!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 9 more book reviews
It's been awhile since I read this, but I LOVED it! One of my favorites.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 4 more book reviews
Deep...maybe too deep for me to fully understand. Nevertheless, I couldn't put the book down!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 39 more book reviews
I did not particularly care for this book. The writing can be engaging at times, however, I found the subject matter to be strange and, at times, disturbing. I am not even sure that I can say that this is an interesting 'look' inside a religious cult. There is so much focus on punishment and suffering. I found scenes like repeatedly dunking a caged, pregnant 14 year old girl in a lake because she refused to 'confess' to be as disturbing as some of the child abuse stories we read about in the papers and hear about on the news today. At best, I would say this was a strange book.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 11 more book reviews
A story about a teenage girl trying to make her peace with the world and with God. Beautifully written.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 19 more book reviews
Ninah Huff is the granddaughter of the founder of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind, an isolated southern religious community ruled by its patriarch. Ninah is fourteen and full of contradictory feelings. She sees the world only at school, where her long dresses and uncut hair mark her as odd and keep her apart from the other girls. She loves her family, but is never sure that she is truly "holy" enough.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 47 more book reviews
the first time i read this i was astonished by her honesty!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 8 more book reviews
A Christian novel about how God ways are mysterious.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 134 more book reviews
Wow. I had no idea this was an Oprah's book Club selection when I read it... the cover doesn't say that on my copy.
This book was gripping. I couldn't put it down. Sad. Powerful.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 194 more book reviews
"The story compels...Reynolds has an imagination that takes the reader into what feels like the world of a teen-age girl trying to make her peace with the world and with God." Highly recomend
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 58 more book reviews
Honestly, I have sold this book about five times throughout the years and finally it isn't worth much so I looked at it and decided to read it. Well! If I knew how good it was going to be, I would have read it instead of selling it the first time! This book started great and kept me reading word after word page after page. I ended up finishing this wonderful book after a couple of days. While it was sad in some aspects, it was very interesting in others and funny in some ways. I highly recommend this great read!~
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 9 more book reviews
At the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God\'s Almighty Baptizing Wind, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, and everyone obey\'s, or else. But even in this isolated community where it seems nearly everything is forbidden, temptation occasionally touches the congregation...and for Ninah, temptation comes in the form of her prayer partner, James. Ninah is determined not to sin with James-so determined that she\'s willing to fill her shoes with shells to keep her mind on Jesus pain. Nevertheless, she soon finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the church members, and God himself. But the events that follow show Ninah that God\'s ways are more mysterious than even Grandpa Herman can understand...
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 8 more book reviews
Oprah Book Club® Selection, April 1997: Members of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind spend their days and nights serving the Lord and waiting for the Rapture--that moment just before the Second Coming of Christ when the saved will be lifted bodily to heaven and the damned will be left behind to face the thousand years of tribulation on earth. The tribulation, according to Grandpa Herman, founder of Fire and Brimstone, will be an ugly time: "He said that we'd run out of food. That big bugs would chase us around and sting us with their tails . . . He said we'd turn on the faucet in the bathroom and find only blood running out . . . He said evil multitudes would come unto us and cut off our limbs, and that we wouldn't die . . . And then he'd say, 'But you don't have to be left behind. You can go straight to Heaven with all of God's special children if you'll only open your hearts to Jesus . . .'"

Such talk of damnation weighs heavy on the mind of Ninah Huff, the 15-year-old narrator of Sheri Reynolds's second novel, The Rapture of Canaan. To distract her from sinful thoughts about her prayer partner James, Ninah puts pecan shells in her shoes and nettles in her bed. But concentrating on the Passion of Jesus cannot, in the end, deter Ninah and James from their passion for each other, and the consequences prove both tragic and transforming for the entire community.

The Rapture of Canaan is a book about miracles, and in writing it, Reynolds has performed something of a miracle herself. Although the church's beliefs and practices may seem extreme (sleeping in an open grave, mortifying the flesh with barbed wire), its members are complex and profoundly sympathetic as they wrestle with the contradictions of Fire and Brimstone's theology, the temptations of the outside world, and the frailties of the human heart.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 223 more book reviews
Rapture of Canaan

ANNOTATION
This "assured, devastating" novel (Booklist), the story of a teenage girl growing up in an isolated religious community and daring to indulge a forbidden love, is "gracefully written" and "a worthy successor" to Sheri Reynolds' bestselling debut. From the author of Bitterroot Landing. A choice of the LG.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
At the Church of Fire and Brimstone and Gods Almighty Baptizing Wind, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, and everyone obeys, or else. Try as she might, Ninah can't resist her prayer partner, James, and finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the congregation and God Himself. But the events that follow show Ninah that God's ways are more mysterious than even Grandpa Herman understands.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 103 more book reviews
At the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind,Grandpa Herman Makes rules for everyone,and everyone obeys,or else.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 404 more book reviews
Editorial Review Amazon.com
Oprah Book Club® Selection, April 1997: Members of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind spend their days and nights serving the Lord and waiting for the Rapture--that moment just before the Second Coming of Christ when the saved will be lifted bodily to heaven...The Rapture of Canaan is a book about miracles, and in writing it, Reynolds has performed something of a miracle herself.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 21 more book reviews
Best Fiction book I have read in a long time. Here is the discription from the back of the book:

At the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, and everyone obeys, or else. But even in this isolated community where it seems nearly everything is forbidden, temtation occasionally touches the congregation...and for Ninah, temptation comes in the form of her prayer partner, James. Ninah is determined not to sin with James-so determined that she's willing to fill her shoes with shells to keep her mind on Jesus' pain. Nevertheless, she soon finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the church members, and God Himself. But the events that follow show Ninah that God's ways are more mysterious than even Grandpa Herman can understand.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 20 more book reviews
great book!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 162 more book reviews
I loved this book
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 51 more book reviews
Wonderful book!
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 18 more book reviews
FROM THE PUBLISHER
At the Church of Fire and Brimstone and Gods Almighty Baptizing Wind, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, and everyone obeys, or else. Try as she might, Ninah can't resist her prayer partner, James, and finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the congregation and God Himself. But the events that follow show Ninah that God's ways are more mysterious than even Grandpa Herman understands.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 49 more book reviews
"At the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, and everyone obeys, or else. But even in this isolated community where it seems nearly everything is forbidden, temptation comes in the form of her prayer partner, James. Ninah is determined not to sin with James - so determined that she's willing to fill her shoes with shells to keep her mind on Jesus' pain. Nevertheless, she soon finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the church members, and God Himself. But the events that follow show Ninah that God's ways are more mysterious than even Grandpa Herman can understand..."
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 88 more book reviews
I couldn't get into this book. I didn't even finish it; not my kind of read.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 468 more book reviews
"At the Church of Fire and Brimstone and Go'd's Almighty Baptizing Wind, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, and everyone obeys, or else. But even in this isolated community where it seems nearly everything is forbidden, temptation occasionally touches the congregation . . . and for Ninah, temptation comes in the form of her prayer partner, James. Ninah is determined not to sin with James--so determined that she's willing to fill her shoes with shells to keep her mind on Jesus' pain. Nevertheless, she soon finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the church members, and God Himself. But the events that follow show Ninah that God's ways are more mysterious than even Grandpa Herman can understand . . .
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 49 more book reviews
Amazon.com
Oprah Book Club® Selection, April 1997: Members of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind spend their days and nights serving the Lord and waiting for the Rapture--that moment just before the Second Coming of Christ when the saved will be lifted bodily to heaven and the damned will be left behind to face the thousand years of tribulation on earth. The tribulation, according to Grandpa Herman, founder of Fire and Brimstone, will be an ugly time: "He said that we'd run out of food. That big bugs would chase us around and sting us with their tails . . . He said we'd turn on the faucet in the bathroom and find only blood running out . . . He said evil multitudes would come unto us and cut off our limbs, and that we wouldn't die . . . And then he'd say, 'But you don't have to be left behind. You can go straight to Heaven with all of God's special children if you'll only open your hearts to Jesus . . .'"

Such talk of damnation weighs heavy on the mind of Ninah Huff, the 15-year-old narrator of Sheri Reynolds's second novel, The Rapture of Canaan. To distract her from sinful thoughts about her prayer partner James, Ninah puts pecan shells in her shoes and nettles in her bed. But concentrating on the Passion of Jesus cannot, in the end, deter Ninah and James from their passion for each other, and the consequences prove both tragic and transforming for the entire community.

The Rapture of Canaan is a book about miracles, and in writing it, Reynolds has performed something of a miracle herself. Although the church's beliefs and practices may seem extreme (sleeping in an open grave, mortifying the flesh with barbed wire), its members are complex and profoundly sympathetic as they wrestle with the contradictions of Fire and Brimstone's theology, the temptations of the outside world, and the frailties of the human heart. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 12 more book reviews
I think it MIGHT have been an Oprah's book club selection--I can't recall.
reviewed The Rapture of Canaan on + 137 more book reviews
At the Church of Fire and Brimstone and Gods Almighty Baptizing Wind, Grandpa Herman makes the rules for everyone, and everyone obeys, or else. Try as she might, Ninah can't resist her prayer partner, James, and finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the congregation and God Himself. But the events that follow show Ninah that God's ways are more mysterious than even Grandpa Herman understands.