Cover Image: Revival Season

Revival Season

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Member Reviews

This book is one of the 2021 releases I was most anticipating reading.  I was thrilled to be approved for an advanced copy via Netgalley.

The premise of the novel: a Black Texas pastor and his family travel through the South each year holding tent revivals where souls are saved and healing occurs.  The events of one revival season, the year between the next revival season and the following revival season are told through the eyes of the family’s oldest daughter, Miriam.

Even though Miriam is not an adult character, some very mature themes are addressed in the novel from her viewpoint.  Some of the themes include: gender roles in families, gender roles in churches, truth of human behavior and spiritual gifting.

West writes the novel in a gentle way.  Considering the subject of the book it could have easily taken a fire and brimstone sermon feel.  But instead it feels more like a look into a family and community that happens to be heavily involved in church.

I quickly consumed this novel in a few days.  I am not sure if I am satisfied with the ending.  I feel like West has more to tell with this family perhaps a follow up book.
This book is perfect for those who enjoy messy family dynamics, coming of age stories or faith based narratives.
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Revival Season is my first book by Monica West, but I doubt it will be my last. She has a way of writing that instantly pulls you into the story and I was engaged from beginning to end. Some of the characters weren't as well developed as others, but on a whole, this was a story I won't be quick to forget!
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Read if you: Want a vivid portrayal of a traveling revivalist family. 

This is a mesmerizing and totally original story; I was captivated by this (relatively short!) coming-0f-age story; more coming-of-age stories featuring African-American characters are definitely needed, and this is quite unique. 

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I received this from

"Every summer, fifteen-year-old Miriam Horton and her family pack themselves tight in their old minivan and travel through small southern towns for revival season."

Great debut, the story flowed well and is interesting.

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This book was recommended to me because I enjoyed The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall. The metrics must have connected the two books because they were both about Christianity and a church. However, when I first started reading the book, I was thrown off as to how these books were similar. Revival Season is much more intense, focused on one family, and covers only about a year where The Dearly Beloved was a larger examination of spiritual development and spanned the lifetimes of the four main characters. It took me weeks to get past the few couple of chapters of Revival Season. I was unsure of the time and setting and disturbed by the behavior of the patriarch. Eventually, I was hooked and wanted to see how the issues between family members would be resolved.
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Thank you SO much to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc of this Masterpiece!

Wow, this book is a masterpiece, Monica West is a Debut writer and this book seems like it's her 20th novel, It's clear to me that Monica West is someone who needs to write, And we need people like Monica West around and celebrate her way with words... Just Junoesque. 

Revival Season is an utterly original read, riveting story about tempestuous family about a evangelical family and young girl who starts to have doubts..  Monica West writes with so much compassion and clarity even as it tangles with the complexities and flaws of this DEEPLY  troubled Southern family.. 

Revival Season opens with the Horton family preparing to travel on their summer revival circuit—a sermon and healing tour headed by patriarch Rev. Samuel Horton. Unease settles in the family remembering a past healing service gone wrong and what it foreshadows for their future. Once Miriam Horton witnesses the aftermath of another botched healing, her beliefs about her father, their life, and her own possibilities began to unravel and expand...  Miriam is such a beautifully written heroine.
The way Monica West writes about women especially in the evangelical community is Spot on, capturing the intricate details of the social interactions within a faith community, particularly the deep sexism that seeks to damper the agency of women. 

This obviously gets 5 stars from me and I don't give 5 stars very often.  Please pre-order from your local book store or pre- order on the kindle.
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This is a compelling story that immerses the reader in another world: a tight knit southern Black church, and a family in which the pastor father is also a faith healer who takes the family on a revival circuit every summer.

Fundamentally it is the painful coming of age story of Miriam, who at 15 is forced to grapple with both the limitations of being female in this conservative religious community, and some difficult truths about each of her parents.

This is a universal tale, told well in a very particular setting. Dark but worthwhile.

With thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher for an advance review copy.
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I can't believe this is a debut book! It is so well written and appropriately paced with well developed characters that I cared about and still think about. . Every character had something unique to offer like Hannah. My heart really went out to Hannah and I had such empathy for her. This novel is a compelling and brutal story. The author uses blunt and simple prose that is age appropriate for the narrator, as well as her limited education. She is sweet, loving 15-year-old Miriam, the oldest daughter in this tightly controlled, patriarchal household. She bears the brunt as primary caretaker to a special needs sister and helpmate to a broken, subservient mother.
There are some disturbing and possibly triggering scenes of physical abuse dotted throughout this book. I quickly fell in love with young Miriam, so the helplessness and my heart broke for such childhood trauma.. Every single character in this book, even the savage Reverend Horton, is so vividly created. Their relationships are so clear, and their intentions well-defined. Despite the horror they face, I loved spending time with Miriam, her siblings, and her mother. I really loved this book. I can't wait to see what Monica West does next!
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This is the story of Miriam, the daughter of a Baptist preacher, who witness her dad doing something that fundamentally shifts what she thinks of him and starts unraveling their whole family slowly.

It's the story of what pride can do to a man, to a family. The story of what loss feels like and how we carry our thoughts, beliefs, wishes and dreams of who we are, who we can be and who we were inside ourselves. It's the story of what happens when you revere a person and come to find out they are human. It's the story of unspoken truths and how the weight of them can break a family. It's the story of how things can look one way from the outside and be completely different from the inside (as they often are.)

It's the story of what happens when you can no longer hide your own truth, your own potential and choose to step into your own sunshine even a little bit.

This is a wonderfully written, terribly sad story of a broken family and a strong heroine that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

with gratitude to Simon & Schuster and netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review
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As a decidedly secular audience member reading this excellent book, I felt very much a stranger in a strange land but I definitely enjoyed the experience. The book was well written and engrossing. It felt like the author inhabited the story rather than a writer narrating a story from her imagination. I feel that this is a writer to be watching.
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I loved this book. It was different than the thrillers or family dramas I typically read. It is a young girls journey into discovering that no one is infallible including her father. I couldn’t put it down.
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This book definitely lived up to the hype for me. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. 
This book does not read like a debut novel, but as a novel that was written by someone who has been doing this for some time. 
The storytelling was impeccable. 
West tells the story of questioning faith, familial ties, mother daughter bond, and so much more. 

the only thing I wish this book did was give us a little bit more detail about Joanne's sisters I wanted to learn more about that relationship
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Revival Season, as the title alludes,, is the saga of a family who hits the road every summer so the father, a charismatic Evangelical preacher with the apparent ability to heal, can preach the Gospel and heal the sick. It is a remarkable story on so many levels that it’s hard for me, someone rarely at a loss for words, to describe it. And to do so without revealing spoilers. 

This is a hard-scrabble family whose livelihood depends on the annual trek to various backwaters where, hopefully, huge crowds will be drawn to the fathers eloquence and healing ability, and on his ability to draw the same kind of crowds to his local church. Things begin to turn sour when his abilities start to fail him in his home church at the same time his daughter, the narrator, discovers her own nascent healing ability. This is the source of the major conflict in the book. 

The title, while clearly describing the annual road trips to revivals during the summer (the “revival season”), also alludes to the inner struggle and ultimate revival of personal spirit and belief of the narrator. I truly cannot do justice to the experience of reading this extraordinary book in a review. The writing and character development are outstanding. The way the book builds to its climax and then tumbles to its denouement are outstanding. I felt as though I were a tiny fly on the wall of this family; the author did such a wonderful job of drawing the reader into her compelling story. Very highly recommended.

I received this book as an ARC from the publisher and NetGalley. I look forward to reading more by Monica West. She has the gift of storytelling.
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This book went fast and it kept me on the edge of my seat.  It reminded me of Shiner, another book with a father who is revered and feared due to the divinity that he preaches.  I hoped it would have a different end but this was a realistic one, and I liked that Miriam was able to come into her own in some ways.
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Book Review: Revival Season
Author: Monica West
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Review Date: March 25, 2021

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the blurb:
“The daughter of one of the South’s most famous Baptist preachers discovers a shocking secret about her father that puts her at odds with both her faith and her family in this “tender and wise” (Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth) debut novel.

Every summer, fifteen-year-old Miriam Horton and her family pack themselves tight in their old minivan and travel through small southern towns for revival season: the time when Miriam’s father—one of the South’s most famous preachers—holds massive healing services for people desperate to be cured of ailments and disease.This summer, the revival season doesn’t go as planned, and after one service in which Reverend Horton’s healing powers are tested like never before, Miriam witnesses a shocking act of violence that shakes her belief in her father—and in her faith.

When the Hortons return home, Miriam’s confusion only grows as she discovers she might have the power to heal—even though her father and the church have always made it clear that such power is denied to women. Over the course of the next year, Miriam must decide between her faith, her family, and her newfound power that might be able to save others, but, if discovered by her father, could destroy Miriam.

Celebrating both feminism and faith, Revival Season is a story of spiritual awakening and disillusionment in a Southern, black, Evangelical community. Monica West’s transporting coming-of-age novel explores complicated family and what it means to live among the community of the faithful.”
This was one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2021. It is a must-read for those of us who love reading African-American fiction. There is a large  family here, with many complex relationships, most unspoken and hidden. There is brutal family violence and dysfunction that is not in line with God’s ideal family. Misogony stands front and center in this book. 

The plot was perfect, the characters are full and original, the settings of the revivals and healings are interesting. A vivid, complex and satisfying book all around. 

I highly, highly recommend reading this book. 5 stars!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for allowing me access to this book. Best of luck to Monica West with her literary career.

This book review will be posted on NetGalley and Goodreads.

#netgalley #revivalseason #monicawest #simon&schuster #africanamericanliterature #revivals #spiritualhealing
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Thank you to @simonandschustar and @netgalley for the eARC of Revival Season by Monica West.  This is a debut novel and it's a wonderful read!

Miriam is the daughter of a black southern Baptist preacher.  Every summer the Horton family travels to small towns for Revival Season.  In each town, people come to witness the healing power of Miriam's father and to watch him perform miracles as he heals people.  But Miriam soon becomes skeptical of her father's power as she witnesses him perform a violent act during one of the revivals.  Keeping this to herself, she struggles with her faith.  She also discovers the truth about her mother and father's relationship.  Miriam soon discovers that she has healing powers of her own but keeps this a secret; afraid of her father's reaction.  But soon, her mother needs to be healed. Then, Miriam decides to heal her sister who has cerebral palsy.   Does she dare go against the wishes of her father?  If she does, what will be the consequences?   As Miriam searches for God's will for her, will she find the strength to become the woman she is meant to be?  

This is a quick read and I was engrossed from the very first page.  It does touch on some difficult subject matter such as domestic abuse.  I found it to be a powerful read!  I can't wait to see what Monica West writes next!
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Thank you SO much to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc of this book! I requested this after I saw the cover which gave me summer vibes. Overall, I really enjoyed this and found the premise very interesting since I don't have extensive knowledge of the evangelical community. The plot centers around a southern black evangelical family who travels around to different healing revivals in the summer months where the pastor father "heals people" through himself or God working through him. Our narrator is 15 year old Miriam, the oldest daughter in the Horton family who begins to question her father's true ability and discovers her own which becomes problematic because of her age and her gender. One of my favorite tropes I guess you could call it is when coming of age novels highlight kids beginning to view their parents or adults around them through a different lenses and realize the adult's ability to be flawed humans and not superheroes like we believe our adults to be growing up as children. I love reading a coming of age stories especially with some more difficult undertones as I think it paints a more realistic picture of how life is a compilation of ups and downs and discovering truth. I found this debut absolutely amazing and Miriam will stay with me for a long time. I am eager to hear what Monica West's next novel will be and I will definitely pick up any future works!!
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I just loved this book. Miriam Horton is an exceptional character who will stay with me for a long time. Growing up on the road following the charisma of her daddy, the faith healer--Miriam is starting to question if her father is truly healing or is hiding from his own demons. But this isn't your traditional white loss of faith disillusionment story--Miriam has her own gift of the Spirit to contend with that rivals her father's. This unexpected gift of a novel is beautifully written, heart-wringing and soul-piercing. I flew through it in one night--it was hard to piece together all that I loved about it, except that as a story, it has a ring of truth. Highly recommended for book clubs, and anyone from a faith background.
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Thank you so much to Simon and Schuester and NetGalley for the ARC. 

I'm still trying to gather my thoughts about this book.  In fact I'm having a hard time remembering that Miriam is a fictional character. Her story affected me that much.

I love that West wrote the book from Miriam point of few.  As young as she was, she was more mature than any adult I have ever met.  

Thank you again!
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I loved this book. Revival Season is a southern fiction coming of age novel. It centers around 15 year old Miriam and her family.  Her father, Rev. Horton, takes his family along as he travels the south holding revivals and faith healing each summer. When it becomes apparent that Miriam herself has the healing touch, it is not something that can be accepted, because in this dysfunctional family 'children should be seen and not heard' and it would be a sin for a woman to use her healing powers. This book pulled me in from page one and held my interest to the last page about the downward spiral of this family.  I'm adding this book to my list of favorites. Thank you Monica West for this great book, and to the publisher Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for a honest review.
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