Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Son's Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray {A Book Review}

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.*

A Son’s Vow
A Son’s Vow (Avon Inspire, January 2016)
Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family.
Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.
Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.
Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.
As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?
Shelley Shepard Gray’s first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.
Learn more and purchase a copy of A Son’s Vow.

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