I just finished reading The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers and it was a beautiful and allegorical story. I am not going to give many details on the book, but I did want to put it out there that I thoroughly recommend it. I had to read it in only two sittings because I just could not put it down. It was heartwarming and extremely well-written.
Francine Rivers is one of the few excellent Christian authors. There is some "preaching", but it was done tenderly and fitted perfectly into the story, unlike so much of the Christian fiction out there where it seems forced and unnatural.
Just to give you a taste, here is the Author's Note from the very front of the book:
The sin eater was a person who was paid a fee or given food to take upon himself the moral trespasses of the deceased and their consequences in the afterlife. Sin eaters were common in the early nineteenth century in England, the Lowlands of Scotland, and the Welsh border district. This custom was carried over by immigrants to the Amercias and practiced in remote areas of the Appalachian Mountains.
This is a purely fictional story of one such person.