An Invigorating Novel About Faith, Family and Falling From Grace

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By Hamilton Cain

By Monica West
304 pp. Simon & Schuster. $26.

For those of us reared among Southern evangelicals, revivals were a mixed bag: a week’s worth of dull evening services and nose-in-the-air pastors paired with kickball in the gym, tea cakes and punch served in fellowship halls. For adults, there were deep dives into the Scriptures, obscure texts such as Amos (Old Testament) and Philemon (New). For children, there were competitions: The grade-schooler who lassoed the most friends would take home a prize, often a gilt-edged Bible with a ribbon bookmark. One year I cheated by pooling my group with my younger sister’s, guilty of the sin of covetousness.

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