A Son's Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray is a Christian Amish Novel and Book One of her The Charmed Amish Life Series. It is a fantastic novel, and I looked forward to Gray publishing the other books in the series!
The novel centers around Darla Kurtz as she deals with the countless dynamics that she must encounter after her dad dies is a factory fire (many in the town blame him for the fire and the deaths of four other men due to the fire) and then her mom abandons Darla and her siblings. Darla is a strong woman who continually focuses on doing what's right. Unfortunately, she is living a fairly lonely life--her brother has serious anger issues and a weak work ethic, her sister isn't all that helpful, and four other siblings are still pretty young and rely on Darla to care for and provide for them. Still, Darla stands firm and Gray has written this character not merely as a strong protagonist, but as a female with depth and personality.
Lukas Kinsiger is the male protagonist of the novel, and hopes to see Darla become part of his life again. Childhood friends who grew up together now find themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum. For while Darla's dad was blamed for causing the fire, the owner of the lumber mill has also been criticized for not maintaining a safe environment. The owner, as you may guess, was Lukas' dad, and he too died in the lumber mill explosion. Not only did Darla and Lukas lose their dads, but their friendship was also fractured. Adding to the distance within their friendship is the distain their siblings have towards the other family, blaming one another's dad for the tragedy. Although the fire was deemed to be an accident, the Kinsiger and Kurtz children want someone to blame and can't imagine a life that includes Lukas and Darla's former closeness.
Other characters in the novel add additional dynamics to the reading. Darla's brother Aaron is headed down a path of violence and abuse. He just can't cope with the loss of his parents, and doesn't know how to 'man up' and find his way. Hannah is a young woman who lost her boyfriend in the fire at the mill; her escape & healing comes in the form of nannying for a non-Amish family. A Son's Vow presents Amish life in a very relatable way, and I look forward to reading additional Amish works by Shelley Shepard Gray.
*I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.*