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Nancy Mehl’s Gathering Shadows


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.


To be perfectly honest, straight up mysteries are not my thing. I was never an Agatha Christie lover (though for a while I was stuck on the old Nancy Drews). I am more about character development, and so I usually avoid books that look like “mysteries”, which is why I am just now getting around to reading a novel by Nancy Mehl. My thoughts:

What I liked:

There was plenty of character development. Yes, there is obviously a mystery, but the book focused just as much on Wynter and who she was as it did on solving the mystery of what happened to Ryan.

The suspense. Sanctuary was a creepy town to me. I was sufficiently nervous for Wynter throughout the book. Probably too nervous.*

The mystery. It was creative and unique which I think can be hard to do.

Spiritually, I liked watching Wynter (and Zac) get to know Jesus again. And more importantly, I like that they acted on their faith.

What I didn’t like:

*The romance. The town (and townspeople) managed to be so off-kilter to me, that I didn’t trust anyone from that town (Amish, Mennonite, Pastor, whatever) and especially not the guy Wynter fell for. Almost the entire book I kept waiting for him to turn around and try to kill her. Needless to say, I was not buying the romance at all. In fact, I wanted Wynter to fall for this other guy who she knew. That, would have been original. I think the problem here for me, is that you can’t really be a serious follower of Christ and protective of secrets to the point where you try to keep people away. I questioned whether everyone who claimed they were a believer really was one. The town could not be both a Sanctuary and unwelcoming in my opinion.

One thing about the mystery bothered me. In cases where you think you might be related to someone else, you discreetly take some of their hair and do a DNA test. That will save you lots of time.

Overall, very fun and suspenseful.

Romantic scale: 4 or 5 (not because there wasn’t any; I just wasn’t feeling it)

**I received this novel from BethanyHouse. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

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