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The Atonement Child

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  31,141 Ratings  ·  1,123 Reviews
In one horrific, terrifying moment, Dynah Carey's perfect life is shattered by rape, her future irrevocably altered by an unwanted pregnancy, her doting family torn apart. Her seemingly rock-solid faith is pushed to the limits as she faces the most momentous choice of her life--to embrace or to end the untimely life within her.
Hardcover, 372 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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Natalie Vellacott
I'm impressed that a popular Christian author would be bold enough to write about a subject like this. At the time that this book was published, she was already well-known and could have chosen to stick to less controversial topics to avoid offending the masses and losing her broad support base. The fact that she chose to write a novel tackling rape and abortion from a pro-life stance is admirable and demonstrates the prioritising of Christian values in her profession as a writer. One might assu ...more
Feb 24, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people that enjoy drinking poison, maybe
Warning: This book (and this review) discuss rape, pregnancy, and abortion.


I'm tempted to just leave it at that, but my frustration with this book deserves more than a one-word review.

To start, I can't really remember the decision-making process when I chose to read this. I know it fulfilled a category in a reading challenge I was casually participating in, but so would a thousand other books. Maybe I should have known better than to read a Christian novel about rape and pregnancy, but (lik
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers follows the story of a young college girl who is raped and finds herself pregnant. Yes, it’s intense material and an intense read.

While she struggles with the decision of what to do and her faith, her family struggles and nearly falls apart in the process. This is a hard topic for anyone to discuss and while the novel itself is an excellent read (Rivers is by far one of my favorite authors), I was surprised to find out how close the issue was for the author
Since this book was a Christian novel about an unwanted pregnancy, one would also expect a strong anti-abortion message, but one also would expect a novel. Ms. Rivers delivers on the former, but not the latter. The novel was not without some good points and strong writing, but rather inconsistently. At times it appeared Ms. Rivers forgot about the quality of the novel altogether. Having read Sure As the Dawn I should have been prepared for the fact that Ms. Rivers is capable of churning out some ...more
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Francine Rivers did such a great job portraying the big issue of abortion in this book. The main character, Dinah, a godly young lady, who is serving the Lord has the unexpected happen to her. You know the "why do bad things happen to good people" ordeal? Her "perfect" life is shattered by rape and the consequences multiplied by an unwanted pregnancy which now brings the question, "What to do with this child?". Her life as she knows it is over, unless she does what everyone else seems to think s ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a deep read! The premise of the book is rape and abortion, both horrifically nightmare inducing topics. If you have a weak system, do not read this book. If, however, you do find yourself desiring to place your feet into a rape victims' shoes, please put them on carefully. A very heart wrenching look into the REAL church culture surrounding abortion and the hypocrisy we tend to hide. Francine Rivers never fails to provoke intense reflection and a desire to live a better life. This book will ...more
Samantha Tankersley
After reading several other books by Francine Rivers, I was highly disappointed by this novel. While most of her books have a clear evangelical message only bordering on "preachy," this one was blatant in its aims. I understand that her goal was to unpack abortion, and the regrets and ramifications it causes; however, this book felt like a con list for the procedure thinly veiled by a "story," rather than a well-written plot about a central issue.

While I enjoyed the main character and her love
Dec 08, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So terrible. I tried to give Rivers one last chance. Even though I already suffered through Redeeming Love, everyone said I should give this one a chance. I thought it was supposed to be a novel, but its actually pro-life propoganda, which wouldn't be so bad if you classified it as such. But it fails in every way possibly as prose.
Niki Petzoldt
Mar 10, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was seriously hard to read this book. I'm prolife, yes even in the instance of rape, and personally don't agree with birth control either. But seriously, this book wasn't a story, it was a prolife, anyone who thinks abortion is ok is an evil person, pamphlet. The woman who runs the abortion clinic? Well she's a crap parent with a drunk daughter who of course was on birth control.... And how many people in one story can have an abortion that ruinned their lives and gave them cancer???? Drivel. ...more
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In reality, I would have agreed that Dynah take the morning after pill in order not to get pregnant after she was raped. Even when she got pregnant, her boyfriend (trained to be a pastor) and all her Christian College dean and professors, parents and friends wanted her to have an abortion saying that God will understand. Dynah made the decision to listen instead to her heart and her heart said that killing the baby is not right. It also broke my heart to read that she was shunned by the College ...more
Nov 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tasha enderby
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, book-club-books
This is a very hard book to read even for a believer. Well I should say it was hard for me personally to read this book with choices I have made in my own life. This book will have you angry, in tears and ashamed all at the same time. The story is redeeming in the end and of course it all works out as God has intended but you learn a lot about yourself, other believers and faith along the way. This book put a lot of focus on generational sin and how one grandmother's choice has tainted all the w ...more
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I appreciate that this book delves into the controversial moral and intimate subject of abortion. I'm glad that the author didn't make all the Christians "good guys" and the non-Christians "bad guys". I'm glad she shone a light on the hypocrisy that's rampant in Christianity.

But I just didn't like very much else about this book. The characters were pretty one-dimentional. The story was predictable. The dialogue was cheesy. The way everything resolved was too perfect. I've never read Christian fi
Jasher Drake
May 11, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really don't like this. Every single character is so depressed and has tons of problems. From abortion to cancer to sex before marriage,it made me feel sad, and it's not even a good sadness. I have to say that I expected something a bit more uplifting from a christian author. :(
Dana Cheryl
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
The story of a protected, adored virgin being brutally raped and dealing with a resulting pregnancy could not have been an easy story to write. The author did a good job of creating a believable Christian family in crises by allowing us inside their deepest thoughts thereby revealing weakness, doubt, fear, and anger woven with faith, redemption, and hope.

The Atonement Child was an interesting mixture of thoroughly developed characters undergoing intense trauma mixed with a few secondary players
Michaela Matzke
Jun 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The young girl in this book starts out with everything a girl could want; a healthy, pure relationship with a guy, attending a Christian college, friends that love her, and a strong relationship with God. But all that changes as one night she is badly raped and ends up with a child. After many show resentment and anger towards her, she begins to feel doubts about living with the child inside her. With help from her family and a true friend, she must find the strength to follow the path that her ...more
Mar 07, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book had an incredible story line and above average character development. I am staunchly pro-life and so completely appreciated the books position. I am however not too fond of fiction that has undertones. This book is just that. There is a lot of preachy sections and though I think all of it is true and worthwhile I don't think a novel is the place for it. I don't think that someone who is looking for or in need of encouragement to make a pro-life decision is going to look in a ...more
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the BEST books ever written about the abortion issue. Francine Rivers masterfully and sensitively examines the topic from just about every possible angle. Having been involved in the pro-life movement for decades, I have seen many sides of the abortion debate. I have read many books. This is the most outstanding. Buy it for teens, adults--anyone you care about. Whether staunch pro-lifers, "pro-choice," or undecided on the issue, ATONEMENT CHILD will give them plenty of food for thought. W ...more
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Excellent book! My first Francine Rivers & certainly not my last. This touched my heart in so many ways. I loved it.
Romina Bellusci
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Francine's work, she's one of the best christian writers I know and my absolute favorite, why? Because you can see God's love, God's message in every single page of every book she wrote. Her writing flows beautifully, her dialogues are well written and keep you reading, plot, romance, love, forgiveness, God's wisdom is all wrapped up in her books. The Atonement Child was such a good book, it thought me so much, it really opened my eyes to the post abortion depression and made me see those ...more
Jill Lewis
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This book has been sitting by my bedside for probably a year. I only picked it up to read because I had nothing else. I figured it was going to be very preachy and full of religious righteousness. Well, it kind of was. While I do consider myself a religious person, I don't like to read things that preach to me. But the story was so, so, well told. I read it in a few days and had a hard time putting it down. I've never had any experience with abortion, nor known anyone personally who has, bu ...more
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Francine Rivers always give a great story based on God's character and men's depravity. This is a great example. With abortion such an issue even among Christians, I would encourage all Christians to read this. Her characters could be based on real people. I saw some that I knew personally. I think the one that gripped me the most was the doctor that was performing the abortions and the reasons why. I realize not all doctors have the same reason but I appreciated this part of the story the most. ...more
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First review : read this novel when it first came out. However I plan to reread it soon. I don't remember specific facts.Definitely looking forward to rereading it. However, I remember the message was that no matter what sin you have committed, God's word He will make your sin that is a scarlet as white as snow. Also, personal forgiveness. Which many people overlook and that is a very vital important factor in healing after an abortion.

Second review : to follow after I finish reading this 2016-N
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-novels
This book is AMAZING and well worth the read. It really speaks to God's mercy and the power of accepting his forgiveness. My only warning would be to any one that has been touched personally by abortion. I suggest reading the author's note in the back first before reading the book so that his/her mind and heart is guarded with God's promises before beginning what could be an emotional journey.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really giving this 4.5/5 stars,and only because the plot felt a little all over the place at times. Francine Rivers captivated my heart with yet another beautiful story that perfectly depicts the gospel. Would recommend to a friend.
May 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-at-english, 2015
This book I had mixed feelings towards as I read it. One point I'd get annoyed with the characters, another point I would begin to think the book was getting better, until it just takes another big downfall in the next few pages.
I've read a few of Francine Rivers and they were great. Marta's Legacy, for example, I thoroughly enjoyed. But this... not really.

For one, I felt the main character, Dynah, was portrayed as much too perfect to be a real person. The beginning of the book seemed to expla
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah, this book. Francine Rivers is one of my favourite authors who captured my heart in her other book, “Redeeming Love,” which happens to be my favourite book of all time, and yes, she did it again folks. She did it again.

Our main character here in this Christian FIc Novel is Dynah. Dynah is a girl who has loved God all her life and she is currently in college and engaged to the future pastor, Ethan. Everything seemed to go sweep until one night, she comes home from work and gets raped by an un
Jul 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Women
I have to say, I wasn't obsessing over this book. It was a quick read and did keep me sitting at the couch for several hours straight, on a number of nights. Nonetheless, the word choice in the conversations bothered me at times, one particular one I can't get over is when a wife says to her husband (of some 9 years roughly- not newlyweds here, and IN BED- no place for putting on airs), "Sorry I awakened you." I talk strange and get teased for it, but even I don't apologize for "awakening" someo ...more
Marybeth Taylor
Dynah Carey has is all - the perfect fiancé, a job at a local elderly folks home, freedom, good friends, and is attending a bible college. Or she has it all, until she loses it all. Simple mistakes pile up on one another until a tragic event happens. Shattered, Dynah tries to recover the scattered pieces of her life. But with more betrayal in the near future, things look grim. Only when she seeks help from the most high and works through the many secrets that plague her family will she be able t ...more
Y.I. Lee
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A powerful and emotional story. Each of the characters was well fleshed out.
Did I enjoy it? I'm not sure how to answer that. I'm a Christian, but confess, I found it overly preachy, which I don't like.
I'm pretty sure it is meant to be a fictional novel, and yet it dwells unremittingly on prolife issues. Now don't get me wrong, I AM PROLIFE! But the poor girl was raped for goodness sake! I felt that whole traumatic issue was glossed over some what.
I didn't like the epilogue. I felt it was quite u
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New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter ...more
More about Francine Rivers...
“Everyone wanted to be the best. Best student. Best servant. Best Christian. They got caught up in it, pressing and pushing until they forgot whom it was they were trying to please.” 97 likes
“This generation seems to see children as a financial burden and responsibility to be avoided.” 8 likes
More quotes…