by Nancy Mehl
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: Nov. 3, 2015
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
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?
Rising Darkness is a Christian romantic suspense novel. It's the third book in a series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this story, but this book did spoil an event (though not whodunit) of a previous one.
The focus of the story was on the hurt caused by abuse in Sophie's past and how she finds healing in Sanctuary through a correct understanding of God. There were many comments about God worked naturally into the flow of the story. The author wasn't afraid to talk about tough issues. I liked the main characters and how they showed Christ's love to Sophie.
I felt like Sophie could have been more fully developed (and a smidgen more likable) at the beginning, though. For example, we're told she's a neat freak due to growing up in filth. My mom had the same experience, and I can think of a number of small actions Sophie could have done to bring home this aspect of her personality. But Sophie didn't do much beyond wash dishes for her hostess. About halfway through, though, the character was developed enough that I was more engaged by her story.
Sophie was a good researcher, but she didn't look beyond the obvious. There's a twist at the end. It probably won't be a huge surprise if you've been thinking through what's gone on regarding the investigation. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this novel.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.