Wynter is stunned when a colleague shows her a old photo of a Mennonite family near the town of Sanctuary. The young teen in the buggy looked like Ryan, her younger brother kidnapped ten years ago. The photo had been secretly taken through a car window about six years earlier. Wynter was planning a piece for the television station about unique towns in Missouri and her colleague thought the photo would pique her interest. Wynter knew the first town she and her photographer would go to was Sanctuary, an out of the way town where people lived a simple life, both Mennonites and those not of the faith.
Sanctuary is not as welcoming as Wynter had thought it would be. It soon becomes evident someone doesn't want her there. They will even murder to keep their secrets covered.
This novel is a good combination of mystery, suspense and romance. Although I am generally not a reader of Amish style fiction, there are enough twists, turns and revelations in this novel that kept my interest and kept me reading. It was inspiring to see the effect the simple life lived in Sanctuary had on Wynter and her photographer, both psychologically and spiritually. It was also pleasing to see Wynter have an opportunity for romance, even if it did seem to happen quickly.
Readers of Amish style fiction will like this book as will those who enjoy a good mystery. There are themes of restoration, forgiveness, and trusting God woven throughout. All in all, a very good novel.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
Book Summary: 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.
Review: The beginning cinched it for me. I was immediately drawn in with the kidnapping of Ryan! I really liked the mystery of Wynter's brother and who sent her the newspaper clippings. I hope to see Zac in another story. He was a great addition. There were so many memorable events and situations spread throughout the story it made the story more engrossing. It all ended up with a fantastic finally that was worth the wait. I enjoyed the relationship between Reuben and Wynter. The secondary characters like Wynter's dad and Esther were a tremendous addition that made each part of the book they were in more treasured. The suspense throughout the story was perfectly timed enough to make me jumpy. I am waiting for the next book in this series.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
This is a story that slowly builds in intensity as the chapters move forward. The mystery is on the page almost from page one, but doesn't acquire suspense pacing until the last quarter of the book. And there are many layers to the story and mystery. They all weave together artfully in the end. Gathering Shadows also has the small town charm of Nancy Mehl's prior romantic mystery series and the wide cast of appealing characters which will bring readers back for the next installments in the series. There is romance in the story, but it didn't quite fit for me. Given more time in the story's timeline, I think I would have enjoyed that part. Still this book will be a pleasant read for those who love a romantic mystery set in simpler settings like the Mennonite Sanctuary.
Wynter Evans is an aspiring journalist with a Missouri TV network, on assignment in the tiny Mennonite town of Sanctuary with her colleague, photographer Zac Weikal. But she's got another motive: she's searching for her brother, Ryan, who was kidnapped several years earlier. Reuben King is the young and handsome mayor of Sanctuary, who agrees to work with Wynter despite opposition from some of the townspeople.
Gathering Shadows starts off as a predictable romance in an Amish/Mennonite setting, but soon turns into something more. It's written entirely from Wynter's point of view. As we get to know her better, her past begins to collide with the present and we start to realise there is more of a mystery than whether the mystery Mennonite boy is Wynter's long-lost brother. Why don't the townspeople want her in Sanctuary? And who is leaving her mysterious notes?
It's a plot that grabbed and kept my attention, both in the mystery and the strong characters. The Christian elements were solid but not preachy. The one weakness of Gathering Shadows was the romance. It took a long time to get started, and I wasn't convinced they spent sufficient time together to form a lasting relationshipÃ¢â¬âor that there was any chemistry. However, the mystery-thriller aspect of the plot was excellent, and I'd certainly read more by Nancy Mehl.
Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free book for review.
Although this is a new series, I loved being back in Sanctuary, and visiting with some of our old friends. This new series is awesome, and I had to keep turning the pages, as my heart went into my throat.
As you will learn from reading the back of the book, Emily, or Wynter, has been missing her brother since he was kidnapped, or murdered when he was seven. I can't even imagine, the pain and hopelessness of such a tragic happening in a family. While Wynter has gone on with her life, and is now news reported with an St Louis TV channel, she is ever alert to finding her brother, the not knowing and seeing him in different places. She has another hunch and is now in Sanctuary, and a lot of people are not happy about her being there, and will she finally be right? Is there any possibility that this Mennonite town holds clues to what happened to Ryan?
Can a healing happen here, even if answers are not found, trying to comprehend what an event of this nature would and did do to a family. I did love how God placed his hand on all, even Zac the cocky photographer sent with Wynter. Of course, Wynter's faith has been shattered with the pain that has happened in her young life.
Meet the honorary mayor Rueben King, which we have met before, who takes an instant like to Wynter, the career girl and rather lost soul. These people are such sweet caring individuals; they don't even lock their doors. After some of the events that happen, maybe they should? Don't miss this great suspense novel, and read more about the Old Order Mennonites.
I received this book through Bethany House Publishers for my read, and was not required to give a positive review