The very first novel I did a book review on this blog was for Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl. It was a suspenseful mystery set in (what I assume to be) a fictional town called Sanctuary. The town has a Mennonite population as all. When Bethany House sent out their lists of books to review and Nancy Mehl’s second novel in the Finding Sanctuary series was on it, I couldn’t resist. Especially since that is the author I started with when it came to writing book reviews, but also because I had thoroughly enjoyed the first book.
**I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**
After a youth filled with tragedy and upheaval, Sarah Miller’s life is finally settled with all echoes of the past silent at last. She happily calls Sanctuary her home and spends her days teaching at the local school.
Sarah’s joy at her recent reunion with her sister, Hannah, and meeting the niece she didn’t know she had is too soon interrupted when Deputy Sheriff Paul Gleason informs Sarah her sister has been killed.
As she learns more about Hannah’s death, the circumstances are eerily similar to their parents’ murder. Sarah enlists Paul’s help in digging deeper into the murders the police are dismissing as burglaries gone wrong. Paul’s concern encourages Sarah’s growing feelings for him, but as their investigation peels back the layers of lies almost twenty years old, they get close to uncovering the truth one person will do anything to hide–even if that means coming after the last remaining members of the Miller family.
“Comparing ourselves to other people only brings unhappiness, Sarah. We almost always come up lacking. I think God hates it when we do that. He made each one of us special and unique. When we judge ourselves against someone else, isn’t it saying that God didn’t do a good job in creating us? Isn’t it degrading to His handiwork?”
-Wynter, Deadly Echoes
Characters: Sarah was a character with a tragic past. That same past also becomes the driving force of this story. But as a person, she was quite well-developed. Sarah struggled with quite a few insecurities based on a comment she overheard as a child. The comment stuck with her and shaped how she viewed herself. This is what made her so likeable and relatable, and also gave a good message in this story about how we find out own self worth.
Storyline: I loved the complexity of this story. I also loved that there was quite a slow build-up of the tension. There were not a whole lot of moments through the story where the scenes got really tense. There were pages where I was really waiting for something to happen and it kept getting pushed back. The effect made the final scenes intense and worthwhile. There were definitely some unexpected revelations in the story that I did not see coming. I read this novel pretty quickly as it was hard to put down.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book and don’t really have any complaints about it (other than having to wait to visit Sanctuary again for the next book!). Between the relatable characters, a budding relationship, and an intense storyline, I found this book to be a perfect blend of everything I want to find in a suspenseful novel.
About the Author:
Nancy Mehl lives in Festus, Missouri with her husband Norman and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored over twenty-one books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.
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.”
- Nancy Mehl’s Website
- Visit Nancy Mehl on Facebook
- Follow Nancy Mehl on Twitter
- Read what Nancy Mehl is reading on GoodReads
- Check out Deadly Echoes on Amazon