Sunday, December 27, 2015

Rising Darkness

It is National Fruitcake Day!  I associate fruitcake with the rock hard item that no one wants to receive as a gift nor to eat.   I recently watched a baking show where they made some delicious looking fruitcakes and breads.  I think a baker just needs to find the right recipe and they will be able to convert their audience (and put a stop to the fruitcake jokes).

Rising Darkness by Nancy Mehl is the third and final book in the Finding Sanctuary trilogy.  Sophie Bauer (formerly Wittenbauer) used to be a conservative Mennonite living in Kingdom, Kansas.  An incident forced her to leave and seek a new life.  Sophie works at the St. Louis Times doing the obituaries and occasional restaurant review.  Sophie wants to be a crime reporter and is working towards getting a college degree.  One day Sophie comes across a letter from Tom Ford (Sophie knew him in Kingdom) who is in prison in El Dorado, Kansas.  Tom claims a wanted criminal by the name of Terrence Chase is hiding out in Sanctuary, Missouri (of course, Tom wants something in exchange for giving Sophie this information).  Sophie sees this as her chance to write a big story (and gain recognition) if she can find Chase.  Sophie goes to Sanctuary (a very private town) under an assumed name and with a made up story to explain her presence in town (and so she can gain access to Church records).  Sophie will have to face her past in Sanctuary (which was originally an all Mennonite town but is now mixed) especially when she comes face to face with Jonathan Wiese.  Jonathan is a pastor at Agape Fellowship Church in Sanctuary and the only man Sophie ever loved (secretly as a teenager).  Will Sophie be able to find Terrence Chase (without getting herself killed) and write her story?  Can Sophie resolve her past issues?  You will have to read Rising Darkness to find out.

I found Rising Darkness to be a predictable novel (the mystery and the romance).  I was hoping for a twist to make it more interesting (I would have been happy with anything that would have made the novel more interesting).  While Rising Darkness is a part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story.  I give Rising Darkness 3 out of 5 stars.  The writing is satisfactory, but not remarkable (I was not pulled into the story).  I found parts of the novel to be very slow paced (and a little boring).  It actually took me three different tries to get through Rising Darkness (I just never got into the story).  The Christian theme is not mild in this book.  There are many discussions about religion and theology throughout the book.  The book ends without everything being resolved (which is frustrating).  I did like Sophie’s growth during the book and how she is finally able to overcome her troubled and difficult youth. 

The first two books in the Finding Sanctuary trilogy are Gathering Shadows and Deadly Echoes.   You can find more information on Nancy Mehl and her books at  I received a complimentary copy of Rising Darkness from NetGalley and The Book Club Network Inc. in exchange for an honest review.

I am currently reading Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner.   I hope everyone has a nice and enjoyable Sunday.  I am watching the Downton Abbey marathon before the final season starts next week.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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