Sanctuary by Raena Rood ★★★★★ #BookReview #BookBlog

Primary Genre(s): Christian Fiction, Thriller, Dystopian
Published: 7 July 2021 by One Foundation Publishing
Page count: 300 (print)
My Format: ebook
Cover: Effective
Pacing: Phenomenal
Ending: Confident  
Do I Recommend: Yes!!
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy Sanctuary

My rating: ★★★★

Six months after their narrow escape from the Task Force, Gemma Alcott and her subversive friends–including her soldier boyfriend, Taylor–believe they’ve found safety at an isolated camp located deep within the Pennsylvania wilderness. Known as the Sanctuary, this hideout for persecuted Christians is supplied by elderly bookstore owner Letty Webb and her network of sympathizers in the nearby town of Winter’s Dam. The camp is beautiful and idyllic, and Gemma falls asleep every night in the protection of Taylor’s arms. But no matter how safe she feels, she cannot break free from the ghosts of her past–including Gavin, the ex-boyfriend whose heart she broke, and Mullen, the redheaded soldier who haunts her nightmares.

When the Task Force puts Winter’s Dam on lockdown to root out the sympathizers, a small group from the Sanctuary–headed up by Gemma and Taylor–prepares to fight. They work out a plan to infiltrate the town and rescue Letty and the others. But the rescue attempt goes terribly wrong, setting in motion a devastating series of events which could endanger not only Gemma and her friends, but the Sanctuary itself.

Stripped of everything she loves, Gemma must stop hiding and confront the Task Force–and the ghosts that haunt her–once and for all. And she must put her faith in the only Sanctuary that can never be destroyed.

My Thoughts
I was blown away by the first book in this trilogy, Subversive, and I couldn’t wait to read the second book!!  Here my pros and cons for Sanctuary:


  1. Throw away all of your preconceived notions about Christian fiction! This story (and series) is gritty, edgy, thrilling, exciting, terrifying, and absolutely amazing!
  2. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I am going to paraphrase here what I said about Subversive when I reviewed it a year ago because it still applies. This book is compelling because it is frighteningly realistic. Dystopian novels always seem to take place in the future and in a world quite different from my own. Subversive and Sanctuary are dystopian, but they don’t take place in an imagined society well beyond my lifetime. Rather it is current and in my neighborhood. The story alarmingly approaches nonfiction, rather than fiction, and that makes it utterly terrifying.
  3. It is heartbreaking to read about the rabid desire by those in power to control and/or destroy a particular demographic. Whether the focus is on a religion, a race, or any other facet of society that is suddenly deemed inappropriate or unnecessary, complete and total denial of one’s rights as a free human being is a scary prospect.
  4. There are also some positive and wonderful elements to this story! I particularly enjoyed the development of the relationship between Taylor and Gemma. Despite the hiding and fighting and despair they are all experiencing, Taylor and Gemma continued to grow in love. They are so perfect for each other! There is one particular scene between them that gave me all the feels!
  5. As I read this book, I constantly pictured it in my mind as a movie. I really think this would be a hit on the big screen!!
  6. The ending is perfect and satisfying. This is the second book in a trilogy though, so the ending has a bit of foreshadowing into the third book… and I can’t wait to read it!!!


Even if you are not a reader of Christian fiction, I really believe you would enjoy this book and series. If you are a Christian, it will absolutely make you consider what you would do in a situation like this. Would you renounce your faith to avoid incarceration or even death? If you aren’t a Christian or aren’t religious at all, I still think the story would make you consider what actions you might take in the face of persecution of this nature. None of us want to be denied our rights as human beings in any respect. What would you do if you were threatened with incarceration or death for not renouncing beliefs you hold dear?

If you are interested in reading this book, please read Subversive first. Subversive is available on Amazon Prime Reading through September, or you can download it FREE on Amazon through 10 July 2021. Sanctuary will be available on 7 July 2021.

Thank you to the author for a free copy of this book, which I had the distinct pleasure of Beta reading. My review is provided honestly and voluntarily.  

If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy Sanctuary. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Click here for a description of my rating scale.

(image from Goodreads)

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