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The Devil In Pew Number Seven

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  4,197 Ratings  ·  685 Reviews
2011 Retailers Choice Award winner!
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
Paperback, 296 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published 2010)
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Jan 10, 2012 Lori rated it did not like it
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
Sep 23, 2012 Melanie rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Natalie Vellacott
May 17, 2016 Natalie Vellacott rated it it was ok
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
Eddie Snipes
Sep 22, 2011 Eddie Snipes rated it it was amazing

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
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
Oct 13, 2011 Zette rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2011 Jennifer rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wilson
Feb 05, 2012 Jennifer Wilson rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lin Stepp
Nov 17, 2012 Lin Stepp rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Kemerer
Dec 22, 2012 Jill Kemerer rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 29, 2016 Kathrina rated it did not like it
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.
Halley Hopson
Jan 05, 2017 Halley Hopson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I am actually speechless.

Not necessarily because of the writing was phenomenal or anything that I would normally be in awe of regarding a book; but because of this woman's absolutely heartbreaking and incredible testimony and how it shows the true depths of God given forgiveness.
Aug 14, 2012 Janet rated it did not like it
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)
Matt Parbs
Sep 18, 2012 Matt Parbs rated it it was ok
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
Georgia Herod
May 08, 2012 Georgia Herod rated it really liked it
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
Sep 25, 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
Oct 11, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
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
Lisa Johnson
Jan 31, 2012 Lisa Johnson rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 06, 2013 Lyndsey rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 16, 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!
Jul 25, 2012 Mandi rated it it was ok
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
Blain Dillard
Mar 20, 2013 Blain Dillard rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 04, 2012 Tina rated it really liked it
Hard to believe that people can be this evil and in your church.
Nicole Means
Jun 12, 2017 Nicole Means rated it it was ok
Although I zoomed through this book due to its readability, I wouldn't say I even particularly cared for this book. When I first learned about this book, I thought it was slated as fiction. The story sounded intriguing and unique; when I received it in the mail and found out it was nonfiction, I was even further intrigued. The author opens her book with the words, "Let me be clear about one thing. The story you're about to read actually happened, every last detail of it." I was hooked. However, ...more
Aug 27, 2014 Xerodog rated it it was ok
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
May 27, 2014 Adair rated it it was ok
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
Jul 20, 2010 Theresa rated it really liked it
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
Aug 31, 2010 Cafelilybookreviews rated it liked it

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
Oct 20, 2012 bird rated it really liked it
Wow. What a story. From the moment I picked up this book and read the first words "I ran" I was enraptured by this story. The Devil in Pew Number Seven is raw, unforgettable, and disturbing.

It's the story of a madman whose need to control a church destroyed a family. I wasn't sure how to write this review because it's such a different book. It's mentally upsetting that a seven year old and itty bitty toddler were put through this. I'm used to violence, but people that are easily upset and sensi
Oct 11, 2012 Ann rated it it was ok
I have been very torn on what to rate this. I'm setting on 2 stars, which seems like a real shame. I will give some disclaimers to start my review.

First, I listened to this on audiobook. The narrator drove me nuts with an overdone southern drawl (this from a southerner myself). So that might have influenced my appreciation.

Second, this is on the book as entertainment and literary value. I hate to judge a memoir harshly, but c'est la vie, and such is the nature of this site.

I was looking forwar
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The Devil in Pew Number Seven 1 4 Mar 23, 2012 07:39AM  
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“Forgiveness is the language of heaven.” 9 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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