Review: The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo

Title: The Devil in Pew Number Seven
Author: Rebecca Nichols Alonzo with Bob DeMoss
Released: July 2, 2010
Publisher: Tyndale House
Pages: 288
Overall: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Rebecca never felt safe as a child. In 1969, her father, Robert Nichols, moved with his family to Sellerstown, North Carolina, to serve as a pastor. There he found a small community eager to welcome him . . . with one exception. Glaring at him from pew number seven was a man obsessed with controlling the church and determined to get rid of anyone who stood in his way.

The first time the Nichols family received a harassing phone call, they dismissed it. The same went for the anonymous letter that threatened they’d leave “crawling or walking . . . dead or alive.” But what they couldn’t ignore was the strategy of terror their tormentor unleashed, more devastating and violent than they could have ever imagined. Refusing to be driven away, Rebecca’s father stood his ground until one night when an armed man walked into the family’s kitchen . . . and Rebecca’s life was shattered.

If anyone had reason to harbor hatred and seek personal revenge, it would be Rebecca. Yet The Devil in Pew Number Seven tells a different story. It is the true saga of relentless persecution, one family’s faith and courage in the face of it, and a daughter whose parents taught her the power of forgiveness.

I think we have a new winner for best memoir of 2010 folks! Rebecca’s story of terror, tragedy, and forgiveness is almost unbelievable and proves Mark Twain’s hypothesis that “truth is stranger than fiction.” The first eleven chapters read like a horror novel, each attack by the psychopathic Mr. Watts growing more and more aggressive until finally the drama climaxes and Rebecca is left a traumatized and broken seven-year-old girl.

What is even more incredible than the bizarre sequence of attacks that her family suffered is the compassion, love and forgiveness with which they responded to it. Rebecca’s parents forgave their tormentors right to the end, praying for them to know the love of Jesus, and Rebecca followed the trail they blazed by proving the power of a forgiving heart.

This story is very well written and told with just the right amount of detail. There are black and white photos at the beginning of each chapter which bring the characters and setting of the story to life. This is a book you won’t want to miss reading, and one that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Other things you can do:
Visit the author’s website.
Purchase a copy of this book.

Disclosure: This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of this review.

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  1. says

    Hi Kate!
    My church book club has considered this book for an upcoming discussion. Is this book conducive to a book club setting? Or is geared more toward an individual read? Thanks for your help! :)

  2. says

    I’m about to enter your giveaway of this. It sounds horrific and fascinating, and I’m a bit terrified to read this, but I know it’s one of those books that will ensure that I don’t shelter myself from the reality of the world. Every now and again, it’s important to remind yourself of that. Not to mention, it’s inspiring to me that someone could go through this horror and still want to go through the process of forgiveness of the very people that created the terror. I’m impressed with that, and not sure if I could be as strong as this author.

  3. says

    Wow! Until I began book blogging, I had a huge aversion to memoirs and biographical books, but my favorite two books of the year (the ones that made me laugh and cry) are both non-fiction. I’m running over to put this on my Goodreads list. I think (well, I know) I will probably cry with this one too, but books are SUPPOSED to make you feel, and the fact that you gave it 5 stars is the clincher. Thanks for the review!


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