Gathering Shadows has heart-pounding action from page one. Ms. Mehl possesses an excellent writing style that allows the novel to flow quickly while also incorporating an admirable amount of detail. The main characters are likable and slightly mysterious, adding to the thrill of the plot. The events of the book all link together in a creative fashion and the novel is not predictable or boring in any sense. Twists and turns throughout the book provide significant depth to the plot as the reader navigates through the intriguing journey with the heroine. Suspenseful and delightful, this novel is highly enjoyable and greatly recommended.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Sanctuary, a quaint and charming town that presents itself as perfect. . . that is, perfect until Wynter sets foot in the town and begins asking questions about her brother's disappearance. The people of Sanctuary like to live a simple life and they often keep to themselves, but there are those that are hiding past regrets and shameful secrets. When Wynter shows up things in Sanctuary begin to unravel; clues begin to unfold and Wynter becomes determined to stay in Sanctuary until she has the true story and hopefully her brother. Unfortunately, there are those that will do anything to get her out of town. "Some people are willing to protect their secrets at all costs."-(page 39) From lies to poison to murder will Wynter make it out of Sanctuary alive and will she ever find out what really happened to her brother?
Nancy Mehl does a fabulous job of grabbing the reader's attention with the plots and twist of the story. Each chapter has something intriguing and exciting that makes you crave the next page. The author also takes you on an incredible journey of seeking faith in Christ and finding forgiveness. I always enjoy a book that has Christ intertwined into the story and Nancy does just that, brings the Lord into focus. "We should never be too busy for God, children. He wasn't too busy to give His life for us."-(page 73) An excellent mystery full of suspense, love, and faith - I don't think it gets much better!
** I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. **
Nancy Mehl crosses genres in her suspense set in a private Mennonite town. TV news reporter Wynter Evans' younger brother disappeared nine years ago, but she never gave up hope that somewhere, sometime he might still be found. When she comes across a photograph of a young man who strongly resembles the boy that disappeared, she travels to the small Mennonite community where the picture was taken, preparing to do a small human interest piece on the town while surreptitiously investigating the boy. In spite of the antagonism of a number of the occupants, Wynter finds herself charmed by Sanctuary and its helpful young mayor, Rueben King. However, the town seems steeped in secrets, and clearly someone does not want their secrets to be revealed . . .
While I have begun reading more and more suspense, I have never read much Amish fiction, so this is something new for me. The two genres are not typically paired together, but it caught my attention. While the majority of the story takes place in a Mennonite community, the mystery/suspense aspect is stronger, given that the main characters are not Mennonite themselves. It is a good taste of Amish fiction and introduction to lives devoted to simplicity without diving headlong into the genre. Wynter's interviews as a reporter help clear up misconceptions and convey some surprising facts for those of us who are fairly ignorant about the Amish, Mennonites, etc - a nice, natural way to convey the facts without bogging down in back story or explanations.
Although I initially was unimpressed - even annoyed - with Wynter's photographer, Zac became my favorite character. While Wynter has her share of change, opening herself up after years of holding everyone at bay, Zac's development is more radical yet: from sullen jerk to a fun and loveable guy. I really like how his relationship with Wynter develops once they are over their bumpy beginning. Since this is the first book of a series, I am hoping Zac will feature prominently in the next installment.
The author does a good job keeping the reader's attention with a number of surprise revelations. The mystery reminds me of a jigsaw puzzle - there are many widely differing pieces that must belong to the same puzzle - it's unlikely some pieces of a different puzzle got mixed in - but finding where they connect is a real challenge. The romance moved a bit fast for me, considering Wynter is there for less than two weeks, but it seems longer given that they spend so much time together. An enjoyable read - 4 out of 5 stars
Thank you Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free e-copy for the purpose of review; I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions are my own.
Keeps you guessing till the end. A real page turner. Kidnapping, threats, poison, murder, old order Mennonite, are all part of this great book. One of the things I loved besides the solving of a great mystery, was the way faith was restored to a couple of the characters, who began to learn to trust again.
In Gathering Shadows, author Nancy Mehl takes us on another suspenseful, roller coaster ride to the quaint town of Sanctuary, Missouri. Sanctuary is a charming, small community comprised of mostly Mennonites, two cafes, horses and buggies, a quilt shop, and two churches---the epitome of homespun charm. A seemingly perfect place to raise a family and get away from the rat race of a large city. But something sinister lies in Sanctuary and dark secrets hover over the town like gathering shadows and ominous thunder clouds.
Wynter Evans, a reporter, and her photographer, Zac, come to Sanctuary to do a quick story about unique Missouri towns. Upon seeing a young Mennonite boy who favors her brother Ryan, who had been kidnapped at the age of seven, Wynter becomes obsessed with remaining in Sanctuary to find out if this could possibly be her missing sibling. She enlists the help of Zac and Reuben King, the handsome, young mayor of Sanctuary; and as the secrets that have been lying buried for years come to light, her world as she knows it is turned upside down -- and could quite possibly cost Wynter her life. Is there a remote chance that Ryan is still miraculously alive and well in Sanctuary? As she finds herself drawing closer to the once aggravating Zac and the devastatingly handsome Reuben King, will Wynter finally open her heart to love? And more importantly---to God's love?
Nancy Mehl has truly outdone herself this time! With intricate plot twists, heartracing suspense, and a climactic conclusion...you'll definitely have a problem putting this one down. I especially loved how some less endearing characters evolved spiritually --- such as Zac, the photog, and Wynter's father. I pride myself on figuring out "whodunit" long before the author would like, but not so with this one! I still didn't know until I was 90% through the book...good for you, Nancy Mehl! On the list of my 2014 faves will go Gathering Shadows...order now!