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The Devil In Pew Number Seven

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  2,860 ratings  ·  516 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 hi...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published July 16th 2010 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lori
Jan 10, 2012 Lori rated it 1 of 5 stars
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. 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 glaring...more
Melanie
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Zette
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Christina
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
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
Georgia Herod
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
Lin Stepp
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Jennifer
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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
Jennifer Short
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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
Mark
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
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
Lyndsey
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
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!
Mandi
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
Theresa
Aug 26, 2010 Theresa rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
Ann
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...more
Bobbie
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...more
Julie scully
The writing style of this book often put me in mind of the fourth grade papers my students would submit. While the story comes straight from the heart, the writer doesn't quite yet have command of the pen and their thoughts end up sounding contrived and manufactured on paper. Figurative language is not her strong suit. Or maybe it's just my opposition to praying about everything, but doing nothing about anything.

This is a story that should never have been written because the events that created...more
Rachel
This book was an account from a seven year olds perspective, of the terror put upon her family by a person in the church. It is captivating and detailed. I found it frustrating, however, because I can't understand why more wasn't done to protect her family. I do recommend the book. It has strengthened my understanding of forgiveness and Gods call for us to be sacrificial even unto death. It will make you rethink your understanding of Gods role as protector....at least it has for me.
CJ Bowen
Remarkable and disturbing story, pious prose, and an inspiring but slightly defective understanding of forgiveness. The suffering endured by this pastor and his family over a disgruntled and evil pew-sitter would be over the top if it were fiction, but it is unfortunately true. The very difficult question of courage and faithfulness in ministry vs. protecting family is raised not as a seminary exercise, but as a daily reality. The faithfulness and Christian character of the Nichols family is a w...more
Jen Stilling
I think that I would give this 2.5 stars if I could. The book was very frustrating for me until about halfway through it.

SPOILER ALERT

I just could not comprehend how they could continue to stay in that town after all the bombings. There were also details that I wish she had addressed more...they probably aren't important to the overall message, but I do tend to think about the details. For example, what happened to the killer's wife and her son? Did they too find forgiveness? I thought it was o...more
Sarah
A decent story. A family is harassed by a jerk, and the daughter forgives him. Whoopie. The story is just entirely too long, it takes a whopping 10 chapters before you even can truly get to the real story. I nearly quit reading twice, it was so boring. The overly descriptive wording is exhausting.. "My ears burned like a hot poker touched them" then 20 pages later: "My ears burned like someone put hot coals on them." "The news hit me like a tornado."
A tornado? Really?
I wanted to like this book....more
Kate
I think we have a new winner for best memoir of 2010 folks! Rebecca’s story of terror, tragedy, and forgiveness is almost unbelievable and proves Mark Twain’s hypothesis that “truth is stranger than fiction.” The first eleven chapters read like a horror novel, each attack by the psychopathic Mr. Watts growing more and more aggressive until finally the drama climaxes and Rebecca is left a traumatized and broken seven-year-old girl.

Continue reading this review here: http://parchmentgirl.com/2010/1...more
Rehey
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
Carolyn
This is a powerful story of forgiveness and how it sets us free... it's an awesome and inspiring Christian message. The book is also an insightful commentary about the influence of fear and bitterness on a life and the devastating ripple effects on others. Images of characters in The Scarlet Letter came to mind as I read...I recommend it although at times the wording and storyline are a bit choppy. As I finished the book, I realized I now have to see the Dr. Phil episode with Rebecca Nichols' an...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.” 4 likes
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