"Some people are willing to protect their secrets at all costs."
For investigative reporter Wynter Evans, she has never given up hope of finding her brother Ryan who was kidnapped when he was only seven from their neighborhood. That one even destroyed more than her faith in God, it quite literally destroyed the family as she knew it. Her father soon divorced her mother and moved on to start his life with another woman. For Wynter's mother, she feel into a dark depression believing that her husband was the reason for Ryan's kidnapping and can't find forgiveness in her heart. For Wynter, she is plagued by nightmares where Ryan is begging her to not give up the search to find him. So she won't.
Now if she can only convince the station manager to go out on a limb for a community interest story involving a small Mennonite town known as Sanctuary. She hopes his interest in finding remote locations that he can highlight on their news station to garner public interest will give her just the break she is looking for. She has more than one motive for gaining time away to head to Sanctuary. Besides the human interest story for her station, she has been sent a photo of a young Mennonite teen who bears the remarkable similarities of her missing brother. But before she can involve the police, she must find a way to meet with this young man to know for sure. She only hopes it is him and perhaps finding him will help restore the family she has lost.
What she didn't plan on was the town treating her arrival with less than heart warming intentions. It seems that the residents of Sanctuary would rather their town be kept remote and quite like the name suggests. It seems that people who live in Sanctuary have a reason for wanting to settle in a town that pretty much keeps to itself and protects their own at all costs. Still Wynter has to try and with the help of the town's unofficial mayor, Rueben King, she hopes he can connect the dots and find a way to meet the young man who now goes by the name of Elijah Fisher. Only it's not just the town of Sanctuary who holds secrets as Wynter's investigation into the disappearance of her brother, now leads to a threat on her life. Will she be able to uncover what she is looking for before she loses her own life?
I received Gathering Shadows from Nancy Mehl compliments of Bethany House Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own opinion. This is the first novel in the Finding Sanctuary series from Nancy and for me, it was a hit. I can't imagine what it must be like for someone like Wynter who wonders if every person she sees is really her missing brother. As the search draws closer, soon she and Rueben are the targets of someone who wants their investigation to come to a halt and if they don't, they will stop at nothing to ensure secrets remain in the shadows. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars and I can't wait for more in this series. If you love a great mystery coupled with romance, than you will love this one.
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.