Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

November 23, 2015

Rising Darkness {Nancy Mehl}

Rising Darkness {Nancy Mehl}
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:
For some reason the Mennonite community always fascinates me, so I knew this book had potential to be a great story. Although it is not set in a full fledged Mennonite community, there was still enough of the lifestyle and traditions to make it a great read.

We get to meet Sophie, who has suddenly become Emily so she can visit the community of Sanctuary under the pretense of finding more about her birth mother. Truth is she is on the hunt for a long-lost criminal. The only thing she has on her mind is finding the criminal and making a name for herself – and it does not matter who goes down in the process.

Until Sophie arrives in Sanctuary and all things change. Although Sophie was raised in a strict Mennonite community, she soon discovers that Sanctuary is different – in a very good way. The people she meets are friendly and helpful, outgoing and full of Christ. They go out of their way to make her time in Sanctuary a positive experience, and everyone seems on board to help her find her birth mother’s information. It is not until she runs into the one love she could never let go of that her story begins to fall apart.

Sophie’s relationship with Jonathan is full of so much love – but Sophie must deal with the hurt she has in her life that she believes was cause because God ignored her. As this story twists and turns, the plot becomes very intense. The hunt for an old criminal leaves the entire town in danger, and Sophie must make a decision between her career and the new community she has fallen in love with.

In addition to the suspense of finding out who is behind the threats and the destruction, Sophie also begins to see that God really is on her side. God never left her, and God only wants what is best for her. As she discovers his true love and support, we get to see Sophie become such a different person. I love the character she becomes, and really hope we get to see more of her in future books.

Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. First published in 2001, she has now authored nine books, including an omnibus mystery collection, Cozy in Kansas, which contains three of her previously published Ivy Towers mysteries. Book three in the series, For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Mystery Book of the Year award. Nancys main writing interests lie in mystery although her new Harmony Series leans more toward the romantic suspense genre. Nancy runs a HUD program for the city of Wichita and is president of a volunteer organization, Wichita Homebound Outreach. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Kansas Authors Club. You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at:

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