Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review: "A Son's Vow," by Shelley Shepard Gray + a 5-Book Giveaway

About the book:
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.

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?

My thoughts:

This story is about grief and loss. It vividly illustrates that everyone grieves differently. For some people, like Darla's brother Aaron, his family's tragedy acts as a slow poison because he refuses to face his pain and be willing to move ahead. Others, like Hannah -- who lost her boyfriend in the fire -- want to honor their loved one's memory by choosing happiness. Darla also wants to move on, but some people won't let her forget her father's role in the tragedy, and Darla is having trouble holding her family together after her mother copes by deserting them. The whole town appears to be in crisis, and it comes to a head when Aaron begins to take out his pain by physically assaulting his sister and Hannah. Meanwhile, Darla's lifelong friendship with Lukas has become strained, especially since Darla's brother blames Lukas's family for the fire at their business. Although I haven't faced such a serious crisis in my life, the pain and emotions in this book felt very real. The tragedy was a pivotal moment in everyone's life and would shape their future forever. Instead of grieving alone, they needed to learn to reach out to each other and open their hearts again, each on their own timetable. Most of all, this is a story about forgiveness, about letting go of blame so healing can begin. A Son's Vow is a very moving story that will touch your heart and make you want to wrap your arms around the residents of Charm.

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.

Connect with the author: website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse to facilitate my honest review, but all opinions are 100% my own. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

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