‘GATHERING SHADOWS,’ BY NANCY MEHL. Review of the 2014 romantic suspense novel. All text is © Rissi JC

If the genre of a new-to-me-author is one that appeals, I’m all for the “adventure” of trying that new author. Nancy Mehl is an author who has had a slew of books to her name already, though none of those have found a way onto my reading list. After my mom talked about this one from an ad in the back of another Bethany House book, I happened to get an email about this one and one accidental click of the mouse later and I had this one in my mailbox.

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STORY: Wynter Evans has built an entire life reimagining herself. She no longer wants to be the teenage girl who lost her brother in a kidnapping that made national headlines. Now she works as a journalist at a station where she rarely has any contact with her stern father – a father who fell apart after his son’s disappearance. Thanks to her curious nature, Wynter happens to spy a photo of a young Mennonite man who resembles her brother and convincing her boss to let her and a photog, Zac do a story on the Mennonite, Wynter sets off for the small town of Sanctuary and its people – including her kindly landlady, Esther and the handsome mayor, Rueben – determined she won’t leave without returning with Ryan.

Gathering Shadows, by Nancy Mehl | Book Review

When you’re used to a certain kind of mystery novel, sometimes adjusting to a new premise is hard. That’s what I found in Gathering Shadows. First off, the prose is first person which is never a favorite. Mainly because I rarely, if ever feel connected to the other characters, and that is especially accurate of this book. Secondly, the premise is much “easier” to read than most in its genre. The first half of the book relies on a years old kidnapping and slowly builds up to the mystery that surrounds a sudden murder. I cannot say that I didn’t like the book because I did. It just takes me a while to correct my idea of what the story would be against what it actually was. And as with all books, there are things I like about this one.

First is the interesting relationship between Wynter and Zac; at first, they’re definitely colleagues. That shifts at some point and leads to a strong, good kind of friendship that I often crave. However those of us who love a good mystery with plenty of romance will feel let down. The boy-girl meet-cute isn’t anything near the same level of chemistry as some of its peers, although I don’t mean this as a gripe (aside from the ending coming across a bit too “neat”). Sometimes, it’s refreshing to read something that puts its heroine’s (or whoever its leading character is) emotional health above a new relationship.


Everything  wraps up, and we get the answers to the mystery, however as a parting caution, you might not full satisfaction with this ending. I don’t mind it, but if you like to be able to experience the fullest intricacies of the story then this might not be a book you’ll enjoy. If you like mysteries that aren’t all about reading with the light on (I love that the danger of this book doesn’t go on for chapters on end; there’s a bad situation that starts in one chapter and is over by the beginning of the next), then be sure to look into Gathering Shadows.

About the Book:

Author: Nancy Mehl
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2014
Find the Review elsewhere: Goodreads | Novel Crossing | WordPress
Add the Book: Goodreads
Series: Finding Sanctuary, book 1
Genre: Fiction; Mystery, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Note: my sincere apologies to the publisher and the author for the delay in reviewing this book.

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Great review, Rissi! I was very curious about this one and was happy to read your thoughts. It sounds really good but I (like you) am not of fan of books in the first person so I'm not sure if I'll like it. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Hi, Bekah! Thanks. I did like this book, but at the same time, it wasn't my favorite mystery. That being said (I know, I'm being contradictory ;D), depending on what I've got going on at the time, I will probably read the next book as it's a nice "break" from the more serious-minded mysteries. :)

      If/when you read it, I'll be looking for your thoughts. :)

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