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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rising Darkness by Nancy Mehl

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Synopsis:

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?

My Thoughts:

From Amazon
I really enjoy reading romantic suspense, cozy mysteries, or thrillers. I love the thrill of chasing my characters around as they hunt and seek for the bad guy. I have read all of the books in Nancy Mehl’s Finding Sanctuary series, and they fit into the cozy romantic suspense genre where the novel focuses more on the romance between the heroine and the hero then the actual suspense haunting the character’s every move.

Mehl does a good job at using the small Mennonite town to her advantage. I didn’t believe for a moment that I was roaming around in anything sinister. The town was inviting, and I could see the visual images that Mehl uses to bring the town to life for me. Her descriptions were spot on, and I really enjoyed getting to know the other side of the Mennonite community. One of my favorite parts was when Mehl allowed the Conservative Christian church and the Mennonite church to get together for a church supper. It made me smile. That is how all churches should be, not divided by our little differences. We all love the Lord, right?

Anyways, as for the romance and conflict between Sophie Wittenbauer and Jonathon Wiese, the romance took up most of the story. There was a suspenseful story in the background because that is why Sophie is in Sanctuary, but it appeared to be a side note, not the whole point of the story. I enjoy mysteries where the suspense takes first place and the romance takes a back seat. Mehl’s story definitely does not do that. It was over the top in the romance department for me. Another thing, the bad guy didn’t fit the story well enough. 
He appeared out of left field and left me scratching my head. It wasn’t what I accepted, and I felt cheapened by the ending to the story.

I really did not lose any sleep reading this novel. The use of dialogue and prose moved the story along pretty quickly, allowing me to lose myself in the emotions, but the suspense did not have me anxiously turning the pages, wanting more.

Mehl does bring up the idea of loving our Heavenly Father. Sophie has a hard time loving God because of the various areas of abuse at the hands of her earthly father. I understand this completely. As humans, I compare God to what I see my own father doing. It is really hard to believe and follow God when he is compared to a father who might not be so nice.

In short supply, Nancy Mehl’s latest edition to her Finding Sanctuary novel, Rising Darkness, the suspense was not as important as the romance between Sophie and Jonathon. Fans of the previous two books will enjoy this book, but I wanted something more.

I received a complimentary copy of Rising Darkness from Bethany House Publishers and the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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