Sophie Wittenbauer left her strict Mennonite hometown under a cloud of shame and regret. After a rough childhood, her teenage poor choices harmed others, leaving her with no choice but to change her life. Her entry-level writing job at a newspaper puts her in the right place at the right time to overhear office gossip about a prisoner who has information on a decades-old unsolved crime. While the other reporters write off the tip as the ravings of an angry criminal, Sophie can’t ignore it because she knows the name of this prisoner from her old life.
Upon learning from the man that one of the other suspects is hiding out in the Missouri town of Sanctuary, she takes on a false identity to investigate and meets the young pastor of a local church–the very man she’d loved as a troubled teenager. As she gets closer to finding the suspect, will the truth of her own past come out before she discovers the identity of the criminal–or the very person she’s seeking puts a fatal stop to her investigation?
I had been meaning to read some of Nancy Mehl’s books for a while now. But… well… my TBR pile is so out of control I fear it will never be tamed. So when the opportunity came along to review Rising Darkness, the third in her Finding Sanctuary series, I took the time to read the first two books as well.
I’m so glad I did!
Y’all know that romantic suspense is my very favorite genre to read, so these books were right up my alley. Now, the romance is low-key (but so sweet!) for the most part but it’s certainly not an afterthought. I especially enjoyed the love story side of things in this third book, perhaps because Jonathon and Sophie share a history already. There’s one kiss in particular that may even curl your toes … if you’re prone to that kind of thing 🙂
Because the books are all set in the same small town, they carry a bit of a “cozy mystery” vibe to them but they aren’t so predictable. Especially in Rising Darkness, I thought I had it figured out only to realize I really didn’t. Some moments are full of edge-of-your-seat tension while the rest focuses more on the investigation.
Fans of Mehl’s “Road to Kingdom” series will find many tie-ins between the two in Rising Darkness. Familiar characters (including the two leads) and plot points make appearances, in fact actually provide the framework for the case. But never fear – if you’re like me and haven’t read that series yet, you won’t be lost at all.
Bottom Line: Rising Darkness feels like the strongest book in the Finding Sanctuary trilogy, though all three are well-crafted and entertaining. Riveting suspense and heart-twisting romance are high draws, but the compelling characters and faith reminders are the literary elements that will linger longest with readers.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
About the Author:
Nancy Mehl lives in Festus, Missouri, with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored twenty books and just finished a new series for Bethany House Publishing. The first book in her Finding Sanctuary series, “Gathering Shadows” was released in May of 2014. The second book, “Deadly Echoes” became available in February. The third book, “Rising Darkness releases in November. Now she’s working on a new series based on the U.S. Marshals. The first book will release in November of 2016. She is also working on an Amish cozy mystery series for Guideposts. The first book, “Blessings in Disguise” was released in June, 2015. She will write at least three more in this series.
All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”