Category Archives: Revival Season

Review: Revival Season by Monica West

Title: Revival Season by Monica West
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Fiction
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


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.


Revival Season by Monica West is an engrossing coming of age novel that is written from the perspective of the fifteen-year-old daughter of a Black evangelical, faith-healing preacher.

Miriam Horton is very devout, obeys her parents and completely idolizes her father, Samuel. Their family is well-respected and they are all very involved in her father’s church. Every summer, Miriam, her brother Caleb and their younger sister Hannah join their parents on their yearly revival tour. This summer’s revival is off to a strong start but that changes after Hannah witnesses a violent altercation between her dad and a man who casts doubts on her father’s faith healing ability. They continue on the tour but attendance continues to plummet as word of her father’s violence spreads.

Once they return home, Miriam is surprised no one seems to know what happened and Samuel carries on like nothing is wrong. As for Miriam, her viewpoint of her father is forever altered and she begins to question much of what his teachings. She has come to doubt his faith healing ability and this opinion is confirmed when she accidentally heals her best friend, Micah. As word spreads of her newfound skill, Miriam is desperate to keep her father from finding out. As Samuel becomes more volatile both at church and home, Miriam grows increasingly frightened for her family’s safety.

Miriam’s entire perspective about her father, her parents’ marriage and her faith change dramatically after she witnesses her father’s violent temper. She does not know if she can trust him and she is dismayed by her mother’s complete acquiescence to her husband. Once Miriam realizes she has the gift of healing, she knows how dangerous it is for Samuel to know. But as their family circumstances alter, Miriam contemplates the unthinkable as she grows more and more angry at her father.

Revival Season is a well-written novel with a fascinating storyline. Miriam is a multi-dimensional character whose faith in her father is destroyed which leaves her questioning her life. Her mom is mostly subservient but she does show a different side of herself to her daughter on occasion. Samuel cannot accept blame for his mistakes and he makes no effort to hide his anger at home.  The novel moves at a brisk pace and Monica West brings this thought-provoking novel to an abrupt conclusion.

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Filed under Coming of Age, Contemporary, Fiction, Monica West, Rated B, Rated B+, Review, Revival Season, Simon & Schuster Inc