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By Beverly & David Lewis

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Large Print Edition
By Beverly & David Lewis
Bethany House - Large Print, (2001)
ISBN: 0-7642-2513-8
Genre: Christian Fiction

Reviewed by Angela Evans - February 5, 2003

Melissa James has a perfect life, a beautiful home, and a loving husband - everything seems perfect. That is until the day she suddenly packs her bags and flees from her home. She doesn't even stop to call her husband, who is at work, to let him know that she is going away. What could have made this 26-year-old woman run away from her wonderful and fulfilling life? You'll not find out the answer to this question until the very end of the thrilling story, Sanctuary by Beverly and David Lewis.

Sanctuary is a heart pounding, and spellbinding story that follows Melissa as she flees from her home and seeks a place of safety to hide out. It is an understatement to say that Melissa was in turmoil when she flees her home, and it was a true miracle when she stumbles upon the home of Lela Denlinger. A Mennonite, Lela had placed a 'room for rent' sign in her window only that morning, and Melissa is her first guest. Lela's peaceful manner and firm believe in God is just what Melissa needed to calm her spirit. Melissa is not only upset over having fled her home, but she is also worried about what Ryan, her husband, must be going through due to her having run away.

From the beginning, the reader is aware that someone is hunting for Melissa, and if they find her they mean to take her life. However, why they want to kill her is a mystery that the authors only answer at the very end of the story. Sanctuary is a splendid thriller. The authors keep the tension high throughout, and you'll be surprised by the ending. Additionally, this is a wholesome story that highlights the nature of divine providence.

This story is peopled with well-rounded, realistically styled characters. The dialogue is rich and quick paced. The authors also give the readers a brief comparison of the differences between Mennonite and Amish traditions. Lela, lives near her sister Elizabeth King, who is Amish, and the authors juxtaposed the lives of these two women. In Melissa the authors have also created an endearing character whom readers will immediately become attached to. Granted, she does seem to have a closet full of skeletons, and some noticeable character flaws, but these only serve to make her more real.

All in all, this is a wonderfully moving and inspirational story that will hold your interest from the very first line to the last. If you've not already read, The Shunning, you'll want to go back and read it after reading Sanctuary, as the two books share many of the same characters.

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