The Last Sin Eater

by Francine Rivers
336 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Anastasia

Excellent read with some violence.


Ten-year-old Cadi Forbes is plagued by a sin that has caused the relationship between her and her mother to be almost non-existent. She believes that the only way to find redemption is to seek out the sin eater. According to ancient Scottish tradition, the sin eater would offer to take the sins of a deceased person upon himself in return for food and drink. However, associating with the sin eater is considered forbidden. Will Cadi find what she is looking for? And what about the man who has come to the valley to spread the gospel?


The characters all have their problems, just as real-life people do. Cadi and the man of God both want the people of the village to be saved; unbelieving characters display bad behavior (see Violent Content). Over all, there is a good grasp of moral standards and wrong-doing is not condoned.

Spiritual Content

The people of the village have been misled for years to believe that one of their own had the power to take their sins upon himself. When a man of God comes to share the gospel, Cadi is the first to accept Christ. She is then given the difficult task of sharing it with the people in her village and helping them see the truth.


A man chokes Cadi, beats his own son for disobedience, and a prominent character is beaten to death.

Drug and Alcohol Content

A woman drinks a blend of whiskey, honey, and rhubarb to help with joint problems, and also smokes a particular form of tobacco.

Sexual Content

When Cadi's brother and the girl he is interested in decide to become believers, someone says that it is only because they were seen "tangled up" together in the woods.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None that comes to mind.


I decided to read this book after hearing about how good it was. While it is written for adolescent and adult readers, the central theme of love, redemption, and forgiveness is intended for readers of all ages. This book contains many secrets that are explained at the end, and is certainly one that readers will want to peek ahead to the end to find out what happens. This book was written very well, and I could hardly put it down. I definitely recommend it.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: adult

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