**This is a Books for Christian Girls content review for girls ages 9-19. The Spiritual, Negative, & Sexual Content from this book are honestly listed below. Keep in mind, when reading a BFCG review, ignore the things that don't bother you, but take notice of the things that do.**
About this book:
Wynter Evans is a promising young reporter for a television station in St. Louis, but even a bright future doesn't take away her pain over the disappearance of her brother nine years ago. So when she stumbles across a photograph of a boy with an eerie resemblance to him, she can't pass up the chance to track him down. With research for work as her cover, she sets out with one of the station's photogs for the place where the picture was taken: the town of Sanctuary.
Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets the town's handsome young mayor, Rueben King, and together they begin to uncover long held secrets that could tear the small town apart and change everything Wynter thought she knew about her life. As the truth of her family's past hides in the shadows, it's clear someone will stop at nothing to keep the answers she's searching for hidden forever--even if the cost is Wynter's very life.
Series: Book #1 in Finding Sanctuary series.
Spiritual Content- Proverbs 31:25-31 (paraphrased) at the beginning; Scriptures are read, remembered, quoted, & discussed; A few prayers & blessings over food; Church going, songs, & sermons; Being witnessed to; Many talks about God, being angry at Him, trusting Him, & forgiving; Talks about religion & religious people; Hs are capital when referring to God; Wynter stopped going to church as a teen; *Spoiler* [ Wynter asks forgiveness near the end (hide spoiler)]*End of Spoiler*; Many mentions of God; Many mentions of churches, church going, services, worship, pastors, & sermons; Mentions of prayers, praying, & blessing over food; Mentions of talks about God & churches; Mentions of those & events in the Bible; Mentions of Christians & faiths; Mentions of Amish, Mennonites, their beliefs, & churches; Mentions of blessings; Mentions of sins; Mentions of religious nuts & doubting; A few mentions of thanking God; A few mentions of Heaven; A few mentions of Christmases; A couple mentions of miracles; A mention of Sunday School;
*Note: Mentions of a man not liking religious people & being agnostic; Mentions of shrines; Mentions of evil; A mention of a man saying hes lived through hell.
Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a shut up, a wimp, two idiots, three stupids, and seven forms of dumb; Some eye rolling & sarcasm; Prologue is when Ryan was kidnapped/tricked (not violent, just a trigger warning); Being held at gunpoint & tied up (semi-detailed); Pain, being drugged, & passing out (up to semi-detailed); A car being ran off the road, pain, & blood/bleeding (semi-detailed); All about mentions of Ryans abduction/disappearance; Many mentions of murders, kidnappings, kidnappers, a serial killer, targets, crimes, criminals, bodies, & prisons (barely-above-not-detailed); Many mentions of threats & blackmail; Mentions of a murder, body, & how it happened (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of killing (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of murders & a break-in; Mentions of pain, blood/bleeding, & injuries; Mentions of children physically abused; Mentions of child abductions & selling; Mentions of a drunk driver hitting & killing a child (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of alcohol, drinking, & bars; Mentions of drugs & growing marijuana; Mentions of cigarettes & smoking; Mentions of poisons & illnesses; Mentions of nightmares & screams; Mentions of divorces & parents walking out; Mentions of lies & lying; Mentions of gossip; A few mentions of an accident & deaths; A few mentions of hitmen & Mafia bosses; A few mentions of jealousy; A few mentions of a puppy shot & almost drowned (it ends up fine though); A couple mentions of child killers & abuse in prisons; A couple mentions of vandals & graffiti; A mention of roadkill; A mention of the possibility of a dog being ran over;
*Note: Mentions of actors/actresses, movies, TV shows, & characters.
Sexual Content- a fingers-to-lips touch, a hand kiss, a forehead kiss, and three barely-above-not-detailed kisses; Touches & Embraces (barely-above-not-detailed); Noticing; Mentions of kisses & kissing; Mentions of blushes & flutters; Mentions of dating, dates, interest, boyfriends, & girlfriends; A few mentions of smutty video & book stores; A few mentions of a pregnancy out of wedlock; A few mentions of good-looking men; A couple mentions of women hiding from their abusers; A mention of children sexually abused; A mention of having a type; Some love, falling in love, & the emotions;
*Note: Mentions of a baby that died during labor; A couple mentions of butting into anothers business.
While at first, I was hesitate about reading this novel due to my strong dislike of the cover (I know, I know, thats wrong) and the prologue being the abduction of Wynters little brother took me a bit by surprise, I did like this suspense novel. Overall it was a decent read. I wasnt a fan of the insta-attraction of Wynter and the guy, it felt forced to me, personally. I did think it was neat, though, that this book was in first person point of view, which I dont see too much for suspense books. There was also quite a bit of Spiritual Content, so that was nice! :)
*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
GATHERING SHADOWS is the first book in the Finding Sanctuary series which I unintentionally read out of order. The other two books are: Deadly Echoes and Rising Darkness. The books do stand alone, but fans will likely want to read them in order as there are some continuing characters.
I enjoyed getting to know Wynter and Reuben. Zac and the older lady, Esther, they were staying with made for great secondary characters. I really fell in love with Zac. Even though I knew the formula for romantic suspense and knew the obvious suspect wasn't it, I was surprised when the real villain was revealed--although I did have some inklings close to the end. I hoped Wynter would find her brother, and that her family would work out all their problems.
Fans of romantic suspense, and those who love plain fiction (though this book is not Amish, it is Mennonite) will devour this series. Ms. Mehl is a very talented romantic suspense author and I've read almost all her books (though obviously I have to go back and get some I missed earlier.
Enjoyable mystery. Wynter finds healing for broken family relationships
November 5, 2016
Debbie from ChristFocus
"Gathering Shadows" is a Christian mystery novel. Most of the story was about finding the lost brother and Wynter finding healing for her broken family relationships. There wasn't much suspense, and romance wasn't really developed. They move from "I want to get to know you" to thinking about marriage within a few days, and I'm not even sure why they were so attracted to each other.
The mystery was interesting and had a number of twists. There were clues, but I didn't recognize most of them as such until after whodunit was revealed. Mostly I just enjoyed watching her try to put the confusing pieces of the past together to understand what happened. The characters were interesting and nice, and I cared what happened to them.
The Christian theme was mainly about forgiveness. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting novel.
This is the first book I've read by this author. It was very interesting and well written, but the suspense only lasted about 4 of the 314 pages. If you're looking for a fast paced suspense novel, this book isn't for you. BUT, this is a very good book that will take you on a journey of family, love, relationships, and yes, mystery. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.