Gathering Shadows swept me in. I have never heard of the author's name before, but could tell from a label on the spine that this would be "Inspirational" Christian fiction. I could also tell that it is the first in a series (none of the others have been written since this is a fairly recently released book). I am glad it will be a series, because I will happily enter the world of Sanctuary again. The story was enticing and kept my interest throughout.
When Wynter Evans, a St. Louis television reporter, chances upon a photo from a small, isolated Mennonite town in Missouri, she is in shock. The boy in the photo looks remarkably like an older version of her brother, Ryan, who disappeared nine years ago. Convincing her boss to allow her to follow the trail of a story about tiny, untouched Missouri towns, Wynter longs to follow the clues of sideline research to determine if the boy in the photo is, in fact, her long-lost brother.
The clues are teased out in a gradual manner and the tension builds throughout the story. Wynter Evans clearly is in danger. With each shocking revelation, the reader grows closer to unlocking the key to the mysterious disappearance of her brother.
One of my pet-peeves with Christian fiction is that so often the message is emphasized and over-shadows the story. Thankfully, in this book, the story comes first, with unobtrusive mentions of Christian concepts only occasionally breaking through. It was a well-paced mystery with the extra benefit of reminding the reader of God's love and desire to work in our lives. It also provided the welcome caution against allowing one incident of life to define the rest of our existence and negatively impact our faith in God. This was a beneficial take-away.