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.
SERIES: The Charmed Amish Life #1
GENRE: Amish romance
PUBLISHER: Avon Inspire
PUBLICATION DATE: January 26, 2016
PAGES: 288 pages
One of the first things that struck me about A Son’s Vow was how it addresses topics that aren’t usually explored in Amish fiction. Topics such as unforgiveness, abuse, bitterness, grief, depression. A refreshing reminder of why I love Shelley Shepard Gray’s Amish novels. It’s not so much the case now (thankfully), but when I first tried Amish fiction, all the characters and plots seemed encased in an almost utopian bubble. I didn’t care for it. When I discovered Shelley Shepard Gray, she gave me a new appreciation for the genre. (I have since found several other Amish fiction authors I like as well for these same reasons.) Her characters are real and honest and sometimes raw, but they are also sweet and quirky and sometimes flirty. And no matter what the situation, grace coats every word.
Lukas and Darla have so much history behind their friendship – and now so much emotion. Emotion that could – and does – strain the relationship but which also has the potential to make it all the sweeter. I loved watching them interact. Lukas’ protective instincts (swoon!). Darla’s torn loyalties. The moments when they put aside the recent past in favor of the distant (swoon! again!). And then there’s Hannah… whose brewing and complicated relationship I hope to see more of in the series.
But beyond all (quite enjoyable) plot points of a romantical nature, the focus on grief and how we each absorb it really sets this book apart from the crowd. Nearly for every character in A Son’s Vow, we are shown a different approach to loss. Some healthy, others not so much. The emphasis on God’s faithfulness, despite our doubt, our anger, our sin, is sure to touch readers no matter what stage of grief they may find themselves.
Bottom Line: Shelley Shepard Gray consistently delivers skillfully-written stories of hope and grace, and A Son’s Vow is no exception. Engaging and honest, this is deeper than a romance and so much more than marketing for an Amish utopia. It’s beautiful, it’s creative, it’s witty, and it’s real. In my opinion, it doesn’t get much better 🙂
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / Loved it!!!
KissingBook Level: 3 / May forget to breathe on occasion
There are TWO chances right now for you to win a copy of this first book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s newest series. Click on the links to enter (I am not sponsoring either of these giveaways, just providing the links for your convenience.)
About the Author:
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.
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