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The Rapture of Canaan

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  29,366 Ratings  ·  734 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 hasn't succeeded in resisting temptation her prayer partner, James and finds herself pregnant. She fears the wrath of Grandpa Herman, the congregation and of God Himself. But the events that follow show Nina ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published by Berkley Books (first published 1995)
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Oprah's Book Club Picks
50th out of 77 books — 1,993 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 12, 2007 Sammy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-the-best
First off, let me start by saying that this is not a religious book, it can be viewed that way if you want to, but in case you're one of those people that are scared off by religious books, this isn't one. Now, on to the more important matters...

Almost from the first word I had become sucked into this book and Ninah's character, a flawed, naive girl who truly doesn't know better. She's sweet, tries hard, but just doesn't know what she needs to know. The way Reynolds has written her, doesn't make
Jul 16, 2007 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading this book for the second time. I think I loved it more than the first. The only books I tend to give 5 stars to are books that make me want to reinvent my life when they are over, live a better life, and be a better person. This really isn't that kind of book but it is greatness through and through.

There were times while reading this book that I just needed to put it down. I knew if I kept reading I would get too sad. I was right there with Ninah, going through her strugg
Robert Pajer
Jan 07, 2011 Robert Pajer rated it really liked it
Sheri Reynolds paints a vivid picture of "Bible Belt Cultism," as seen through the eyes of a teen-age girl named, Ninah. The Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind is pastored by Ninah's Grandfather, Herman Langston, who, as Ninah says, "Used the Bible, of course, but only the parts he liked. He had the habit of altering verses just a little to make them match his own beliefs." The church of about eighty members is composed mostly of Ninah's family and Reynolds, through N ...more
Melodie Ramone
Sep 17, 2014 Melodie Ramone rated it it was amazing
I read The Rapture of Canaan over ten years ago and I still think of it from time to time. It's the story of a young girl, Ninah, who is being raised in a religious cult. Her only contact with the outside world is through school, where she and her fellow cult children, are shunned instead of accepted. Ninah takes this in stride, she almost seems to understand it without it needing to be explained. And that is the thing with Ninah throughout the book. To a degree she is brainwashed, she is naive ...more
Brian Stump
Mar 21, 2016 Brian Stump rated it really liked it
the book had a really interesting story but ended with a bland ending. I was hoping the end would have been as surprising as the rest of the book.
Jun 07, 2015 Karen rated it liked it
SPOILERS:This wasn't a book I wanted to savor, but along with some weaknesses, it definitely had its moments. There's a matter-of-fact line I found chilling, about women often dying in childbirth due to their boycott of doctors. The dunking and the rapture were also favorites, though I wondered if the latter was unintentionally funny. This book felt like a fairly convincing look at the inside of a religious cult, even if the language often wobbled.
Tracy Sherman
Jun 17, 2015 Tracy Sherman rated it really liked it
I started this book with just one expectation, that I wasn't going to like it. I just finished a coming of age story set in the south that started off so promising and ended cliché and disappointing. In the beginning of this book it seemed like I'd be in for the same experience. Then about 20 to 30% into the book I found myself very engaged.
The young protagonist has a very real voice, her grandmother and grandfather, the other leading characters of the book are also very interesting and well wr
Payton Polakowski
Mar 21, 2016 Payton Polakowski rated it it was amazing
Even though this book had its weird moments, it has been my favorite book yet and it was so hard to put down. All of the weird and awkward events just made me wanna read more!
Jun 03, 2010 Lowed rated it really liked it
A book of fanatical religious zealousness with abuses, torture, and mind control. Well, this can be viewed as that, or this is a story of how an innocent girl tried to emotionally survive in this kind of control.

Rich with symbolism, this story reads quickly and yet has depth and humor. The characters stayed with me long after the book ended. Well Nanna did, while I was deeply rooting for Grandpa Herman’s painful and brutal death.
Emma McKeon
This book was my favorite book so far, very interesting
John Berney
Seems like it will either deeply offend me, or be too full of irony to take seriously
This is too weird to willingly continue, and Oprah has bad taste.
had to finish it, but did not want to. ode to the necessary evils in life
Feb 18, 2008 Stephanie rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
My original review (24-3-05):

'I had some major difficulties with the book though, for example: the narrator is supposed to be Ninah, but her voice as narrator (poetical, adult & educated) is completely different from her voice as a speaking character (dialectical: e.g. "ain't", "don't reckon", double negatives); in a related way, Ninah's almost uncanny insights seem too externally derived. I just can't see a 12-15 year old girl who lives in such an insular community having such an ability to
Oct 05, 2007 Tiffany rated it liked it
Recommends it for: oprah's book club fans, religious fanatics, women
I actually liked this book a lot I would have liked it more but I wasn't so big on the ending. There was quite a few very interesting chapters in a vague disjointed kind of way.

It's the story of a young girl who finds herself in a bit of a position after she gets pregnant. She lives within a cultish community that is so far overboard they are fanatics lead by Ninah's grandfather who wasn't the same when he came back from war.

It's got both interesting little sides stories in it, as well as the
Daniel Simmons
Jun 18, 2015 Daniel Simmons rated it it was ok
After a middling beginning (wait, is that an etymological contradiction?), this book picked up steam, then lost some steam, then became downright steamy, then doused itself with cold lake water, then I give up on this metaphor. It was an easy read but seldom a very compelling one, partly because I found the antagonist (Grandpa Herman) unconvincing and that made the whole frame of his religious fringe community unconvincing as well. Overall: Not bad, but nothing special. Probably best suited for ...more
Sep 07, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
I think I give everything three stars. I think the star rating system is messed up. But, that's a soapbox discussion for another day. I enjoyed The Rapture of Canaan. Reynolds writing is top notch. It is however, very Oprah book club-- well written, well drawn characters, who go through a whole lot of crud. The good thing is the crud moves along quickly in this one. I didn't feel like I was bogged down forever, and looked forward to opportunities to read. On the flip side, I wish Reynolds would ...more
Jun 18, 2015 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
More of a 3.5. Enjoyed its subtle and not-so-subtle creepiness, and that it never tiptoes around religious misogyny, but it does take an awfully long time to get where it's going. It reminded me of a favorite YA outing, The Miseducation of Cameron Post.
Jun 02, 2015 William rated it liked it
This was pretty good. Again, I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be "YA fiction" or not, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. It's probably not a great grown-up book. Too heavily symbolic and ultimately unsatisfying for that, but it should be OK young adult.
May 22, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
A fast read and (mostly) an engrossing one, although there are some melodramatic parts (weaving a cross? barbed wire? whut?). I was a bit sorry when Ninah fell in love, though; I could tell the rest of the story would be centred around that, and I found the beginning and its portrayal of the cult more interesting.
Syri Ammon
Mar 20, 2016 Syri Ammon rated it really liked it
Oddly enough, I loved this book. It might have been really messed up and crazy, but I think that's what made it so great for me.
Carrie Poppy
Mar 13, 2015 Carrie Poppy rated it really liked it
Laura Lee
Sep 28, 2012 Laura Lee rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read! It was loving and heartbreaking and inspirational. Ninah was born into a community of holy rollers, with strict rules and regulations. As she falls in love, she begins to question the way things are done. I fell in love with Ninah and wanted her to come out whole. She's a wonderful, three dimensional character. I cried at the end, when she is finally released in her love. Beautifully written. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
Lizzy Warfield
Mar 22, 2016 Lizzy Warfield rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting book to read, and I loved that it was through the eyes of a young person, who was being forced to be something she wasn't while all the while defying it all, and becoming her own person anyway. Truly a very good book, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good, simple, but also very deep read.
Allie Brayton
Mar 26, 2016 Allie Brayton rated it liked it
Let's just say this book is very interesting. I couldn't put it down since I just kept wanting to know what twisted thing would happen next!!
Beeper Baswell
Mar 29, 2016 Beeper Baswell rated it liked it
This is the weirdest book I have ever read, but it was ok.
Melissa Andrews
Jan 14, 2009 Melissa Andrews rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is the story of Ninah Huff, the granddaughter of the founder of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind. Say that three times fast. I dare ya! Basically, the people of the congregation spend their time striving to do the "Lord's good" while denying themselves earthly pleasures (No TV, very little free time, you get the picture) because they don't want to be stuck on earth when the good Lord comes back. To avoid earthly sins, the members of the church are known to ...more
Kelley  C
Dec 30, 2013 Kelley C rated it it was amazing
Synopsis: Ninah is a member of a cult-like "church," the awesomely-named Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind. Basically the church members are all related and the women can't cut their hair, have to wear dresses, condemn the sinners who aren't part of their church, use pain as punishment, etc. Common punishments are beatings, sleeping on nettles, and sleeping in an open grave. There are characters named Mustard and Barley.

MAN, I love this book. This is an old favorite,
Rhonda Rae Baker
Dec 20, 2009 Rhonda Rae Baker rated it really liked it
I have much in my mind about the ‘innocence’ of my youth that affected choices and events in my life. Reading this book has brought to mind many circumstances that I’d like to mark in reflection of what I’ve learned and experienced.

From as early as I can remember, my thoughts were naive and immature in regards to those around me. I remember thinking that there was no one to talk to about what was happening within my body. It is this type of thing that I've always tried to avoid with my own child
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds 1 12 Jan 11, 2015 09:13AM  
Oprah's Book Club...: The Rapture of Canaan 1 24 Jun 05, 2013 04:19PM  
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Sheri Reynolds is an author of contemporary Southern fiction.

Sheri Reynolds was born and raised in rural South Carolina. She graduated from Conway High School in 1985, Davidson College in 1989, and Virginia Commonwealth University in 1992.

Her published novels include Bitterroot Landing, The Rapture of Canaan (an Oprah book club selection and New York Times bestseller), A Gracious Plenty (98), Fire
More about Sheri Reynolds...

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“There's only so much room in one heart. You can fill it up with love or you can fill it with resentment. But every bit of resentment you hold takes space away from the love. And the resentment don't do no good noway, but look what love can do.” 23 likes
“Then I wondered if that's all God ever is--somebody who loves you enough to come back from the dead to visit every now and again. Or if that's all that other people ever are--different faces of God walking around.” 9 likes
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