A sin eater was a person who took the sins of others upon himself at the time of their burial. No one was permitted to look upon the sin eaters face, or it was said that sin and evil would transfer to them. This custom from early 19th-century England, Lowland Scotland and Wales, was continued by immigrants in the Appalachian Mountains.

With a terrible sin on her conscience, young Cadi Forbes is convinced she will never be forgiven as long as shes living. Cadi contemplates ending her life so the sin eater will come take her sin away. But before she can do so, shes befriended by an encouraging girl named Lilybet, whom no one else seems able to see. With Lilybets help, Cadi and her friend Fagan Kai, son of the most feared man on the mountain, begin a search for the sin eater and are soon led on another, more important search for the truth. A man claiming to be sent from God makes his presence known among the mountain folk. Danger soon finds Cadi and Fagan as they uncover dark secrets that many in the hollow would rather stay hidden.

This unforgettable novel is rich in style, lore and action, revealing a profound truth in a way only Francine Rivers can do. Transcending age, gender and reading genres, this gripping story is a must read for men, women and young people alike. (Aug., 300+pp., $16.95)

Reviewed by: 
Diane Johnson