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Rapture of Canaan
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Rapture of Canaan

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  25,822 ratings  ·  668 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
eBook, 336 pages
Published April 8th 1997 by Berkley (first published 1995)
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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
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
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
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
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.
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Melissa Andrews
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelley  C
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
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
Excellent writing, I was hooked. This was one of those books that when I am reading it I feel like I am really there and when I'm not reading it all I can think about is that place and those characters. This book was astonishing and made me cry (it might be because I just had a sweet little boy that I love so much) I was constantly being shocked, disgusted and frustrated but somehow it was still beautiful and stirred all sorts of emotions inside of me (love, faith, hope, understanding...) it was ...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Seclusion is a big theme of this book as we read:
-“When I was a child, I saw our community as a special place where God’s special children could be safe from the influence of the wicked world.” (Rapture of Canaan, page 17)

What really saddens me is that people who write such novels have nothing but embittered experiences about the side of faith. As a result, the Christian community would be parodied in a community like this as a bunch of rednecks, narrow minded, fire and brim stone. Yes, it is i
"The eye of a needle is like the gateway to Heaven," Nanna said, "Hard to tell who's going to be on a straight enough path to get through it." But I knew that it took more than being on the straight path. You had to be stiff enough not to bend when you tried to slip through. You had to be careful not to slip to the left or the right and think you were going through the middle all the time.

Having grown up in the Bible belt and attending my fair share of "fire and brimstone" sermons, I could total
Marianne Stehr
This book is like no other I have ever read. It is a complete freak show. It pretty much could not stand anyone in the book, the characters are crazy "religious" people and their beliefs are insane. that being said I also worry about how many people there are living like this is the world and polluting their children into these wicked ways of thinking. It was an interesting book, I read the entire thing in two days because I was hoping for a positive ending, I won't spoil it for you one way or t ...more
Mandi Martin
A well written glimpse into a lifestyle most know nothing about. The book showed a spectrum of emotion that enveloped the culture of the cult brilliantly. There are a lot of underlying elements that take time to digest. As more of the book sank in, it shifted from 4 stars to 5 in my mind. The author did well in portraying the feeling of the cult and how one may be drawn in by the good parts. I enjoyed seeing the evolution of Fire and Brimstone and its newness to the world. How something so all e ...more
Laura Lee
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.
Extraordinary book.

What is conviction/faith and what is delusion? What is leadership/religious stewardship and what is monomaniacal oppression? These and other questions are explored through the telling of the interwined relationships within one extended family which forms its own distinctive manner of religious expression. Explores what it means to be different and separate (women are separate from power and this particular community/family alienated from society. Portrays misogynist hegemony
I love this book, this crazy, beautiful, powerful, terrible, incredible book. I love it, but it makes me ache deep down for this girl and her baby, particularly for her baby, and I want to cry. If it wasn't for that ache - I'd flip back to the first page and start over right this second.

Well conceived, well written, well played - it is perfect.
Jenny Rebecca
I read this book when I was around 19 or 20. I remember loving it so much. Now, more than 10 years later, I admit that I love it more than I did the first time I picked it up. Ninah's story still resonates with me to this day.

I love, love, love this really sad and wonderful book.

Reread March 21, 2010
This was a well-written (if disturbing!) book with lots of great characters and character development and is the first book I've read in a single day in a long time. I would definitely like to check out something else by Sheri Reynolds. Suggestions?
I really enjoyed reading this book! The intensity of religious faith was conveyed in an admirable, yet slightly disturbing manner. Including a story of young love among this religious commune seemed only necessary to complete the equation.
Rose N
I was far, far too young to read this when I did, and I suppose as a result it has always stuck with me. I suspect it did more to prejudice me against religion than anything else I read as a child. Which makes it excellent in my opinion.
The beginning started out a little slow for me, but definitely picked up. Toward the middle-end of the book, I couldn't stop reading. By the end of the book, I was wishing I knew Nana and Ninah in real life! I highly recommend reading.
I read this book several years ago, and have thought about it often. I couldn't remember the title so I haven't been able to recommend it to anyone. Such an interesting book.


Sherrie really takes you into the heart of her freaky religious world that is convincing and vibrant. i read this thing 3 times.
Skate Penny
Rating: 3.5

All in all, I think that this one is a very realistic approach on another group of people and their perception of goodness and good ways. This is my first time to read a book of this storyline, and I appreciated the realism and the values invoked in here.

I think that the call of the author is to real freedom, and for us to experience the beauty and nature of life without being bound and chained by laws.

Morbid at a lot of times, yea. It made me gasp lots of times during the whole nove
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds 1 8 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...
A Gracious Plenty Firefly Cloak Bitterroot Landing The Sweet In-Between The Homespun Wisdom of Myrtle T. Cribb

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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.” 20 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.” 8 likes
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