WINNER of the 2011 "Retailers Choice Awards" for ‘First-Time Authors'!
Rebecca never felt safe as a child. In 1969, her father, Robert Nichols, moved 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. Determined to get rid of anyone who stood in his way, he unleashed a plan of terror that was more devastating and violent than the Nichols family could have ever imagined. Refusing to be driven away by acts of intimidation, 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 a 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 amazing 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.
- lovely story
Wonderfully-written. One of those books you MAKE time to finish. Hard to put down. Lovely story.
- couldn't stop listening
This is an amazing story of faith through very difficult circumstances and events. A must read or listen.
- Overwrought and self-important
I hated this audiobook. I kept waiting for SOMETHING to happen. Her neighbor didn't like her and her hard-partying father, boohoo! Each TINY event is filled with a "Twilight " level of juvenile internal dialogue. BARF!
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- How can I not forgive after this book
This book was the struggles a family had upon arriving at their new church. The narration did an excellent job of portraying thought and feelings. This book will truly shed a light on the petty things we fail to forgive others for in life. If she can forgive then there is no reason I can't
- Devilish Forgiveness
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café (jacobscafe.blogspot.com).
I recently listened to the audiobook version of The Devil in Pew Number Seven. This is an autobiographical tale of Rebecca Nichols Alonzo, whose family was terrorized for several years by a neighbor who also attended the church her father pastored.
While not spoken by Alonzo herself, the narrator, Pam Ward, did a very nice job making the story come alive and feel real. I have listened to many crime audiobooks, and the audio kept up with those decently. The structure, organization, tone of the tome was great; I wanted to keep listening and find out what happened next. I could easily see this book transformed into a gripping film.
What I kept having trouble fathoming was that this was not fiction. It was very much real. Alonzo's various media interviews provide some photographs of the people involved, which add a level of authenticity to the story. Her CBN interview, in particular, did this nicely. If you don't want to know the major plots points, though, don't watch it; it's a rather detailed synopsis of the whole book. On that note, before you read further, here's a...
**MINOR SPOILER ALERT WARNING**
The tale did a fabulous job exploring the dilemma of standing up against evil rather than running. Alonzo's parents chose to stand and fight through faith (they never engaged in physical violence or character assassination), believing God put them in this church for a reason. Yet the amount of harm they encountered poses an interesting question of whether God would put children, in particular, in harm's way. As a psychologist, if they came to me, I would be required to make a CPS report. The terrorists would be the perpetrators, but could the Nichols be sanctioned for failing to protect their children?
Over time, the protection of the home definitely increased, including a guard. But I was amazed how long that took. I would imagine in many small communities that at least the church members might take turns standing guard.
I don't mean to be judgmental here. This community faced something extraordinarily difficult. My comments are more to explore moral and ethical questions and how we, as humanity, can improve in the future. I think this community did very well under the circumstances.
I absolutely loved the narrative of the book. It was a wonderful look into real-life struggles of faith and how to face adversity. It even dealt with mental health issues pretty well.
The last section, though, changed directions. It moved from telling the story of Alonzo's life to essentially becoming a sermon on forgiveness. It was well-written; it just felt out-of-place. It also felt preachy at times. Ultimately, my reaction was that this took away from the emotional power that the rest of the story and Alonzo's experience with forgiveness. This section should have been shortened into a simple epilogue.
Overall, though, I give it a high recommendation. It combines the best elements of nonfiction and the structure of nonfiction into a tome that really encourages the reader (or listener) to consider and struggle with the ideas of persecution, faith, and forgiveness.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook in exchange for a review (with no obligation for a positive review).
- Captivating Listen
I recently listened to The Devil in Pew Number Seven by authors Rebecca Nichols Alonzo with Bob DeMoss for the christianaudio Reviewers Program (http://christianaudio.com).
Being a true story, and true to form that “truth is stranger than fiction”, this book is not only a captivating account of the horrific events in the life of a pastor and his family, but is mind-boggling in the scope of it’s details. I found it so hard to comprehend that this family actually lived through this complex and devastating narrative. The genuine nature of Christ in the life of the pastor and his family is pitted against the demonic nature of a crazed neighbor and church attendee who is obsessed at getting this family out of his community and church, dead or alive. The fact that the story is so bizarre and yet so real is enough to compel the reader to finish the book without too much delay.
The authors display a fabulous use of vocabulary as they weave words together in a way that showcases a southern dialect and thought process. Although not my favorite narrator, the book is read in a way that is conducive to the setting of the story.
- Gripping True Tale
This audio book, narrated by Pam Ward, follows the tale of Rebecca Nichols, in the small, quaint settlement of Sellerstown, North Carolina. Using a quiet voice, Ward imitates the writer's intent of the voice of the Rebecca, seeming fear-filled, young, and lost. Ward reads as if Rebecca were telling her autobiography to an audience at a school presentation or church setting. Following her true tale of horror and suffering, the listener is guided through the events that occurred by who is known as the "devil in pew number seven." Rebecca's father, Robert, moved them to Sellerstown with the intent of being the new pastor at a seemingly-friendly small community. Little did they know, however, that one individual in the church had issues of an evil sort. Driven by rage and control, this man would unless unbelievable hatred and fury on the Nichols family, and these true events would be recorded into this tale.
Ward does an excellent job with narration, moving listeners to tears at times. Great for nonfiction and fiction listeners alike, don't come to this audio tale with the expectation of joy and sunny days, but with the somber realization that evil does exist, and Rebecca's tale provides us the waking experience on how to handle it when it knocks on our own door.
See this review and more at scriptedgenius.com/blog!
- Love Your Enemies
"The Devil in Pew Number Seven" is a memoir written by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo, who was a young girl when the terrifying events of the early 1970s took place. Alonzo also recounts the background story of her parents, Robert and Ramona.
Pam Ward does a fine job narrating the story. She does an excellent job expressing the emotions of the characters, drawing you into the story. This is definitely a story perfect for audiobook. However, her Southern accent was inconsistent at times.
"The Devil in Pew Number Seven" is an unbelievably true story. I couldn't imagine myself going through what the Nichols family went through. In the face of persecution, they stood their ground and trusted in the Lord. I admire Ramona and Robert Nichols for their perseverance and courage . They have a wonderful testimony of what true Christianity looks like. This story is horrifying, traumatic, and tragic. It really struck a chord in me as a wife and mother. At times, I couldn't bear to listen to the audiobook, but at the same time I wanted to know what was going to happen. Despite the negative, this story has a happy ending. It speaks volumes of Christ's life-transforming love and forgiveness.
This review was written as part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program.
- Interesting true story, a bit slow at times, and disappointed in the ending.
I recently listened to the book The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo with Bob DeMoss. I must admit I was intrigued by the books title. The book is a story of forgiveness in the face of repeated painful acts of violence. For the most part, I enjoyed this book although it was slow at times. There are points where, in my opinion, the author spends a little too much time using overly flowery language or explaining too much of a back or side story.There was a point where I probably would not have finished the book if it weren't one I was supposed to be writing a review on for the christianaudio.com reviewers program.
I appreciated that at various points in the book she gave voice to the various theological questions that naturally arise when bad things happen in our lives. She raises up hard questions, and for the most part, avoids giving simple pat answers. I do wish that she spent more time talking about her journey to forgiveness. She talks about that some through out the book but I was disappointed that the book ended with more of an abstract sermon on forgiveness than the honest questioning and wrestling I found in the rest of the book.
The narrator of the book was Pam Ward. She had some weird voices for some of the characters that I found a bit distracting but over all she has a clear smooth voice.
- Amazing Grace
What an amazing audio this is! As I was listening I kept reminding myself that it was a true story. The events of the author’s life are so traumatic, that they seemed like they were the contents of a novel.
For a biographical account it is written in a beautiful and not sensational manner which comes across really well as an audio.
It is narrated perfectly by Pam Ward, that I got really involved and experienced lots of different emotions whilst listening.
There is never any bitterness in this story, which is also amazing when I consider what the author has gone through. She is full of so much grace and forgiveness, which has really challenged me in the way I react to petty offences in my own life.
This audio is for everyone. There is some excellent very practical advice at the end about unforgiveness, which I have found very helpful.
Thanks to christianaudio.com’s Reviewers Program for this copy.
- Incredible true story of forgiveness.
This is an incredible true story of forgiveness. I was so mad at the "devil" and the small town backwoods politics that allowed this tragedy to happen. I can't imagine having to go through the terror that this family endured and the twist at the end when Rebecca was in high school is inspiring. It motivated me to look at my own life and rethink whether I had truly forgiven someone who had deeply hurt me. Anyone who has gone through the struggle to forgive someone after having been wronged needs to hear this story.
- Long winded storytelling
An amazing true story from the eyes of a preacher's daughter as the family was subject to a continued campaign of fear and violence from a power hungry member of their community.
The book takes some time to get going, I'm not a fan of long winded story telling and the first two or three chapters seem to meander endlessly along its own course setting the backdrop in almost every conceivable detail and as the story progresses there are lots of details that keep the pace of the story slow. However, as I persevered the story itself becomes riveting enough to keep engaged.
Review for christianaudio Reviewers Program christianaudio.com