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Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl

Title:  Gathering Shadows (Finding Sanctuary #1)
Author:  Nancy Mehl
Pages:  320
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Bethany
When I saw the title, Gathering Shadows, along with the cover design, I felt drawn to look further into the story.  For me, this is a new author so I decided to give the book a try and I am so glad I did!  The characters here are like real people in that the main family had a past with secrets.  As readers progress in the tale, it reveals the motive behind some of the decisions made in the past that plague the present.
Emily is a daughter who has a close relationship with her mother, but not with her father.  Her dreams about her abducted brother are ceaseless.  Emily is driven to find him even more when a friend shows her pictures of people from a little known town called Sanctuary.  One of the pictures grabs Emily’s attention.  Since she is a reporter, she devises a way to travel to the town on the pretense of doing a totally different story for her boss.
What Emily least expects to happen becomes reality as she allows her walls to come down, sharing her heart and developing relationships.  Yet, danger is lurking around the corner as her photographer becomes ill, a man is found murdered and Emily’s true past is revealed by her father.  The whole tale while wrapped up in a mystery faces the issue of how our faith is impacted by hurtful life experiences.  Through the years Emily’s photographer became distant from God and church because of something that happened to him in his early childhood.  While his mother’s faith grew through that hardship, Zac kept anything related to organized religion at bay.
I found it compelling that one of the characters couldn’t grasp the wrong she had done at all.  In her view, she was saving people.  People can really be swayed by another to hurt others when they aren’t grounded in truth and how God made them.  Sometimes learning the truth appeared to be painful in the story, but also redemptive for many of the characters.  I loved the faith and hospitality little old Esther shows her guests and how that speaks volumes to their wounded hearts.  I can’t wait for the next installment in this series as there is a promise of more to be told to those who would love to read more about Sanctuary’s town and people.
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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