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The Devil in Pew Number Seven: A True Story

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,821 Ratings  ·  632 Reviews
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 ...more
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Published December 1st 2010 by christianaudio (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lori
Aug 19, 2015 Lori rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Overly-sentimental religious people who need to dawdle over a horrific event
Sometimes an author has a good story that would have worked well in <10,000 words. This is one of those stories.

Alonzo gives a personal account of a nasty man in a tiny NC town who tried to (literally) bomb her family into leaving the church where her dad was a pastor. The story itself -- in short form -- is pretty gripping. The author uses her personal experience to appeal to others to forgive those who have wronged them. I appreciate the "heart" of the book very much, but it suffers from gl
...more
Melanie
Sep 23, 2012 Melanie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Natalie Vellacott
The title had put me off this book but I decided to read it in the end. Labeling someone as "the Devil" may help to sell books/catch a readers eye but i'm not sure that it's justifiable especially in light of what subsequently happens in this book.

The author relays events beginning when she wasn't even born. She uses journals/diaries and later records her own memories. Her Christian parents move to a small town for her father to take up a pastoral position in a church. On arrival, however, they
...more
Zette
Dec 20, 2011 Zette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eddie Snipes

Few books have touched me like this one. If I had to summarize it in two words, it would be ‘Forgiveness personified.’

The book begins by Rebecca telling her story. In a short time her life went from being a daughter of a happy country preacher, to a living hell when a power hungry man realizes he can’t rule the young preacher and decides it’s time for him to go. The preacher is determined not to be driven away by the vindictive man, but to serve the congregation he loves and tough it out. The ma
...more
Christina
Apr 22, 2011 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Devil in Pew Number Seven isn’t your typical true crime story. It is a story about the power of forgiveness.

Back cover blurb:

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 te
...more
Lin Stepp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Short
Feb 05, 2012 Jennifer Short rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
Jan 06, 2011 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matt Parbs
While the book was a quick paced thriller, the true potential and weight of this story never materialized. While the narrator gave you insight, the book screamed for an objective and omniscient narrator. While you see a rationalization of motive from the victims, you never see the motives of the Devil. While the basic development of plot was well done, especially the twist, it was the motives behind that twist that ruined the entire plot. While the point of the tale is received, the author didn' ...more
Jill Kemerer
I read this book exactly one week after the terrible tragedy in Newtown, CT, and it served to remind me evil has been targeting children throughout time.

As a parent, I don't agree with the author's parents' decision to continue living in such a mentally and physically threatening environment, but as a reader, I couldn't put this book down.

Rebecca (Becky) shares an unflinching tale I found depressing, frightening, and ultimately inspiring. I applaud the author for giving us an insight into the
...more
Georgia Herod
May 08, 2012 Georgia Herod rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a page turner from the get-go! Because I'm a pastor's wife and we've served several churches, the subject matter got my attention immediately, though we never encountered evil personified as Robert Nichols and his family did.

When Mr. Watts, a "pillar of the church," disagrees with the pastor and decides that he's going to run the preacher out, the conflict escalates dramatically with random harassing phone calls, anonymous letters filled with threats, dynamite explosions, gun shots into
...more
Kathrina
Apr 30, 2016 Kathrina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oakdale-prison
Here is my hard lesson of forgiveness: The book that is wrong, wrong, wrong for me might be right for someone else. I will try to forgive this author her tortured similes if it helps one man in my book group find solace. But I will have to practice this forgiveness anew every day.
And I will not concede on this: When your neighbor shoots through your bedroom window the FIRST time, God wants you to move.
Janet
This book is a perfect example for the saying 'Don't judge a book by its cover.' I downloaded this book from the library simply because the cover looked interesting, not knowing what it was about or that it was a true story. I've leaned my lesson. This book was so poorly written I barely made it through it. In fact I skimmed over large portions that had no bearing on the story.

(view spoiler)
...more
Mark
Oct 13, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How good is this book? Let me put it this way: I am a slow reader and will usually take a month or more to plow through a book of 263 pages a few pages at time. I received this book in the mail on Tuesday afternoon, and here it is Thursday morning, and I've finished it.

While there were moments when I had to set the book aside, unable to press on because of the horrid nature of what was happening to the author's family and the anger I was feeling toward the perpetrator, for the most part I could
...more
Lisa Johnson
Jan 31, 2012 Lisa Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Devil in Pew Number Seven
Author: Rebecca Nichols Alonzo
Release: August 2010; 2012
Pages: 289
Publisher: Tyndale




What happened in the Spring of 1978 that would irrevocably change lives? How was a community so radically changed by these events? Where was God when all this was happening and why didn’t it stop? Would those closest to the event follow God with all their heart despite the depth of pain then and still living with now?
“Devil in Pew Number Seven” is a book for people everywhere to rea
...more
Rehey
Dec 13, 2011 Rehey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An unbelievable story but deserves better telling. If every part of the story is told with so much dramatic flourish and hyperbole, then nothing serves as a contrast to create impact. In addition, this serves a certain demographic ( of which I am a part), but will certainly alienate a segment of those readers who picked up a true crime story and left with a sermon. Good writing trusts the reader to infer from simple statements. There's no need to wax on for thirty pages on what to believe. This ...more
Lyndsey
Apr 29, 2013 Lyndsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit that I don't read to many inspirational/Christain books but this one is wonderful.
It's the true story of a Preacher and his family being tormented by a person in the community who does not want him there and how they use the strength of their beliefs to make it through.

This book not only is amazing in the story but in the message it sends to the reader. To be as strong as Becky and her brother Daniel are is something to strive for.

This book is the true meaning of a Christian.
Donna
Aug 18, 2011 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is difficult to believe this is an actual TRUE story, it reads so much like a thriller, a novel. What this family went through is such a horrible tale, and yet a story of their faith as they continued to trust that they were where God wanted them to be. I was brought to tears several times and Rebecca's story unfolded. It is a story of courage and forgiveness that I could not put down. This was recommended to me by my daughter, Terri. Thank you!
Yibbie

It's a quick read. I was done in about 3-4 hours. That wouldn't have a been bad except - I started it as I was going to bed. Sleeping, even after finishing it in the early morning hours, wasn't easy, and would have been impossible without finishing it.


By every standard that we use to measure success, this family was a failure. They lost their job, their friends, their home, their family. They were even run out of town. They were failed by the system. Justice was never really served.


But-
(view
...more
Blain Dillard
Jul 29, 2015 Blain Dillard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
It is hard to imagine this book was not a work of fiction, the events told were so terrible and disheartening. Yet, the author and her brother and family embodied God's instruction of forgiveness to a degree greater than the horrors they experienced.

While the book summarizes well the events and terrorization of the victims on a physical and emotional level, I have to believe there was even more to the story on a spiritual and "church politics" level. I can only imagine the division within the ch
...more
Mandi
Jul 30, 2012 Mandi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I saw that one of my "edgy" friends had just finished this book and she said it was a must read. I downloaded it to my Kindle and started it. The first chapter (actually the first page) had me hooked! I was excited to read more about how this Christian family was terrorized in their own community by one man who seemed to have more power than God himself. Unheard of things happening to this young family who moved to the community so the father could be the new pastor. And the new pastor was anyth ...more
Tina
Nov 04, 2012 Tina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to believe that people can be this evil and in your church.
Aimee
Nov 03, 2014 Aimee rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
New York Times best seller? Really? That catch phrase was one of the reasons why I chose to read this boook in the first place. This long-winded, horribly written tale of a family put through hell because they were too proud to move away from the town where their persecuter lived could have been cut by at least 200 pages. After the first few chapters I speed read the rest of the book, only reading the first and last lines of each paragraph to make sure I had some grasp of what was going on. What ...more
Xerodog
Aug 27, 2014 Xerodog rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great material for the telling, but poor technique and frankly unbelievable assessments of people, their motivations and their actions. I was tempted to give one star only, but did feel that there was some merit in the the final chapter (prior to the afterword), which attempted a discussion of the theology of forgiveness. The writer had some talent in explaining this theology, perhaps; but as storyteller there are serious flaws.
Firstly, as many people have noted, she has no real understanding o
...more
Adair
May 27, 2014 Adair rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had quite a few problems with this book, but these four have stayed with me since I finished reading it a few days ago.

(Spoilers ahead)

One, the author's use of simile. It's bad. Really, really, really bad. So bad that it distracts from the author's story.

Two, the author' slack of critical distance from her parents. The common assumption is that we spend our youth viewing our parents as infallible or god-like; the beginning of our independence and adulthood happens when we recognize that our pa
...more
Theresa
Aug 26, 2010 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Older teens through Adult
Recommended to Theresa by: FIRST
I have no idea how many times I had to stop reading this book and give myself a little time to grasp what I had read. Did you ever hear that saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction"? This book definitely fits that category. If this had been a fiction book, I would have said the author was really stretching things - this would never happen in real life. But this book is nonfiction, and it really did happen.

I am still trying to find the words to express my mortification of all the events that took
...more
Poiema
A young minister and his family are terrorized by Mr. Watts, the upstanding citizen in pew #7. Threatening letters and phone calls escalate into gunshots and bombs, keeping the family on edge and in fear. Justice is served too late and too little.

Rebecca Nichols Alonzo is the minister's daughter, looking back as an adult on those hellish experiences that dominated her childhood. God's grace has kept her from bitterness and enabled her to forgive the ones who shattered her family and normalcy. S
...more
Cafelilybookreviews


The Devil In Pew Number Seven is a heart-wrenching read! I found myself thinking about Rebecca, her brother Daniel and what their family endured long after I finished the last page of this book.

I felt so much pain for Rebecca and her brother and what they lost during their childhood, due to the hatefulness of one man and his demonic behavior. The hell that this family was put through was unbearable at times for me to read. I often found myself wondering why Pastor Nichols and his wife chose to
...more
Shannon Augustine
Sep 24, 2011 Shannon Augustine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Be prepared to have a box of tissue close to you. I brawled out when I read this book. This man was a sick man who tormented an innocent family just because he was upset that they ousted his wife from the church when they discovered that she was skimming Church money. When she was ousted, she did not turn in any of paperwork except for "new" checkbook and something else that they could not tell what they did.

Rebecca described how she felt when his family was going through hell with this man. Eve
...more
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“Forgiveness is the language of heaven.” 7 likes
“Layer upon layer of soft-packed snowflakes settled in near silence, forming a quilt of feathery ice crystals.” 6 likes
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