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Shadows of Lancaster County Paperback – January 1, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When a narrative opens with the words "I'm dead," the reader generally accepts that come-hither, and Clark (Whispers of the Bayou) keeps up the pace set by a nighttime motorcycle ride in the opening scene of this Christian suspense novel. "Skip tracer" Anna Jensen, who finds missing people, must face her checkered past when she returns home to Pennsylvania's Amish country in order to find her vanished brother. Complicating the plot is a tale of missing jewels and complex personal histories; Clark has a lot going on, and not everything is equally successful. The end-game plot twist is surprising, though not completely convincing, and the romantic element is much less successful than the atmosphere of suspense and the intricate plotting. The religious element, present but not preachy, is natural in this tale of unfolding revelation. Clark weaves a web of characters and events that will draw in Christian suspense fans.
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Review

"High tech meets Amish simplicity in Shadows of Lancaster County, an intriguing, fast-paced, romantic mystery by Mindy Starns Clark. A real page turner!"
―DeAnna Julie Dodson, author of In Honor Bound


"The tale is at once suspenseful and touching, and the conclusion is hugely satisfying."
Gloria Feit
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; 1st edition (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736924477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736924474
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #801,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anna Bailey changed her name and moved to California in an attempt to escape from a tragic accident in her past. But it all comes rushing back to her with the ringing of the phone. On the other end is her sister-in-law saying that her brother, Bobby, is missing. Anna isn't inclined to rush back to Pennsylvania until someone breaks into her house, almost kills her roommate, and holds Anna at gun point demanding the Beauharnais Rubies, whatever those are.

Against her better judgment, Anna decides to make the trip back to Amish country and try to figure out what is happening. Trying to dodge the media, she sets out to learn what she can. But what happened to Bobby? What secrets is he hiding? And just want are those jewels?

Ever since I first found Mindy Starns Clark, I have loved her books. This was no exception. I was absorbed in the story from page one. I only put the book down with extreme effort. The pacing was perfect, giving us just enough info to keep us going while withholding the big reveals until the second half. I had a couple small niggles with the ending, but really, they are very minor.

The characters were equally wonderful. I loved Anna immediately. We get to know several Amish as the book progresses, and the look into their way of life was fascinating.

I was very sorry to see this book end. It just may be my favorite by this author. I'm already looking forward to wherever her next book takes us.
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Format: Paperback
This is the 3rd book of Mindy Starns Clark that I have read. She researches her topics well and writes about them weaving a story that brings so many elements to life. The story brings insight on what Amish life is like and intertwines it with those around the Amish and how they live their lives as Christians. She shares about total forgiveness no matter what crime happens against another, whether an accident or intentional. I enjoyed this book a lot.
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Format: Paperback
Phenomenal. Intelligent. Masterful. Complex. Amazingly well-written, and full of intrigue. These are a few of the things that come to mind as I reflect on the mystery/suspense aspects of the story. The entire novel was edge-of-your-seat suspense, but there was also a very complex and believeable plot that thankfully didn't insult my intelligence. By that I mean it was easy to follow but brilliantly plotted. I learned a lot while putting the pieces of the mystery puzzle together.

And the red herrings actually worked! Plus, the "surprise" at the end was totally believable, which is often not the case. Sheesh, I don't even like mysteries or suspense novels all that much but even I was riveted to the text. The romantic element was pleasurable, too. This was simply an incredible story that captivated me from start to finish. One final note. I love it when I am so into a story that even I don't know who to trust. Did I mention this was an incredible story?
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Format: Paperback
It's been seven years since Anna Bailey left Pennsylvania for California, where she now works as a skip tracer while rooming with the eccentric but caring coworker Kiki. Her new life is shattered by a panicked phone call from her sister-in-law Lydia with the news that Anna's brother has disappeared and information about Anna has been stolen. Eleven years ago, a 17 year-old Annalise Jensen and four friends suffered through a fun night gone tragically wrong, with casual drinking resulting in a barn burning down and an Amish family destroyed. After a horrific trial that played out in the media, community service, and probation, Anna fled her home, changed her name, and created a whole new identity. When her roommate is brutally attacked and the intruder demands rubies from Anna, she knows that she must return home to her old life if she wants answers to the source of the threats and why her brother disappeared.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this novel is how Clark introduces the reader to the largely Amish community of Lancaster. Rumspringa, the close ties of the Friends, and all of their culture prove to be as informative and fascinating as the mystery, which incorporates a historical treasure with DNA experimentation. Anna is a delightful character who refuses to passively accept her fate or leave it to the authorities who betrayed her. This is an enjoyable read that manages to blend romance, history, and religion into one cohesive mystery.
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Five youngsters, nearly or recently out of high school, become enmeshed in a tragedy and its aftermath one evening when among them they have start setting off fireworks, break out the beer, and become amorous; a fire breaks out in a nearby farmhouse, killing the inhabitants, an Amish couple and their infant son. Anna Bailey, 17 years old; her brother Bobby, 19 years old; Anna's best friend, Haley Wynn, and her boyfriend, Doug - - all are convicted on charges ranging from reckless endangerment to involuntary manslaughter to public drunkenness, with the oldest, 21-year-old Reed Thornton, with whom Anna had fallen in love, and who was badly burned in the fire, being sentenced to a year in jail and three years of probation. The others, as juveniles, receive lighter sentences, and all are roundly condemned in the community and the media as drunken murdering revelers.

The book begins eleven years later. Anna Bailey is now living in California, where she fled four years after the fire, when she receives a desperate call from her sister-in-law, Lydia, who pleads with Anna to help her: Bobby has disappeared, and Lydia believes that only Anna's knowledge of her brother, "how he thought, how his mind worked," as well as her high-tech skills as a skip tracer, can help her find him. Anna immediately goes to Pennsylvania. Her ensuing investigation turns up evidence that Bobby and Doug had uncovered proof of illegalities in the lab where they worked; Bobby is now missing, and shortly afterwards Doug's dead body is discovered, and the police are searching for Bobby as a 'person of interest.' Both young men, as well as Reed, had years before become interns in the same lab, which works with DNA research and gene therapy, but Reed is now working in Washington, D.C.
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