The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers (1998)
A well written novel of Christian faith. This is the story of an old Welsh custom of symbolically removing the sins of the deceased by eating a meal placed on the coffin. 10-year-old Cadi Forbes, growing up in the Smoky Mountains in the 1850s, is a child of Welsh immigrants whose old country beliefs require a sin eater when someone dies. The child becomes enthralled with this idea when she is present at the accidental death of her much beloved sibling.
Cadi looks for the sin eater, but her search is really a search for Jesus, and eventually she leads the community away from the notion of a sin eater and toward a fundamentalist faith in Jesus the redeemer.
Visit the author’s website for an excerpt, a reading guide, and the author’s responses to frequently asked questions. In 2007, The Last Sin Eater was made into a movie. You can request it from another library.