This novel kept me reading way past my bedtime. With steady plot development and suspense at the end, I really enjoyed it.
About the book:
Sarah's parents were murdered when she was young. The murder was never solved. She and her older sister, Hannah, were put in foster care. Hannah was soon adopted but Sarah remained a foster child.
Now, twenty years later, Sarah has found refuge in Sanctuary, a small town of Mennonites and those who have found safety there. Sarah and Hannah had recently reconnected after sealed adoption records had prevented Sarah from finding her sister. Only God's providence of relationships allowed Hannah to find Sarah and be introduced to a niece she didn't know she had.
Sarah is shocked when she receives the phone call telling her that Hannah has been murdered. She finds out the murder scene is just like that of her parents. Could her parents' murderer have struck again? When the city police ignore Sarah's pleas to keep investigating, she decides to pursue her own investigation, with the help of the local deputy sheriff.
This novel is well crafted. The setting is interesting, a small town with those who still adhere to Mennonite practices and others who embrace contemporary life. We readers are able experience the strong faith of the Mennonites, including their emphasis on forgiveness. At the same time, others of the community use modern technology to help Sarah pursue the truth of her sister's death. It was heartwarming to see how the community came around Sarah to support her.
The characters in the novel are developed well. Cicely is Sarah's ten year old niece and Mehl did a good job of showing how a young person struggles through the loss of her mother. The pain and periodic rebellion she experienced added tension to the novel. Sarah's character development is great. Having not been adopted when her sister was, Sarah has felt deeply inferior and it was good to see her accept who she is in God's eyes.
Mehl has carefully woven the plot so that I was unsure of the bad guy until near the very end. There was a point where I didn't trust any man from outside of Sanctuary. When the suspenseful end of the novel concluded, I realized Mehl had orchestrated the scene so that it worked out perfectly, yet was not forced.
This is the second in the Finding Sanctuary series and you can find my review of Gathering Shadows here. This book reads well on its own but the first in the series is good too and should not be missed.
Nancy Mehl is the author of seventeen books and received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. She has a background in social work. She and her husband live in St. Louis, Missouri. Find out more about her and her books at www.nancymehl.com.
Bethany Fellowship, 336 pages.
I received a complimentary egalleyof this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.