A Son's Vow to Keep + Giveaway

Can friendship test the time since tragedy struck and will anger lead to hopelessness?

Title:  A Son's Vow (The Charmed Amish Life Series, Book 1)
Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher:  Avon Inspire, an imprint of HarperCollins
Release Date:  January 26, 2016



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?



What a beautiful start to a new series. A Son's Vow is about grief and forgiveness, and how to handle with either. Several characters dealt with grief very differently and how that grief affected their relationships with each other and with God. When tragedy struck, how did the community and the characters react? If you were in their shoes, how will you handle your pain?

We start off with Lukas and Darla trying to mend their life-long friendship, and heal as both families were deeply affected with the death of their respective fathers by the tragedy that struck the town of Charm, Ohio three months ago.  Lukas, as the oldest took over responsibilities to his family mill (which is one of the main source of employment for the town) and to his siblings. Darla, as the oldest daughter felt responsible for her family's income, and farm, while the uncertainty and unpredictability of their brother, Aaron's emotional state comes into question.  When things turn abusive, will Lukas and Darla realize their care towards each other is more than the feelings of childhood friendship? Will Aaron turn his grief of anger from abuse to humility and love?

Let's talk about the characters. Darla and what she endure had me teary-eyed many times over in A Son's Vow. I almost wish I have the power to jump into the story and protect her, as Lukas does. However, her humility and inner strength in facing the issues in terms of the farm, Aaron and even Mary had me rethink many times when I should've bite my tongue and "turn the other cheek." (Matthew 5:39). Darla did just that and let Mary rant and rave and humiliate her. As you read about her understanding of the pain Mary was feeling, even though she knows she doesn't deserve Mary's treatment, God brought in an army to show her His love.  And that itself brings a sense of gratitude and love in my heart.  How many times have God shown His love for me?  I loved every character and I can't wait to get to know them in their stories. Rebecca, Hannah, Amelia, Patsy, the twins, Levi and even Aaron. And Mary, I do hope we will revisit her a bit and see that she had finally found solace.   Forgiveness is not to forget but cherish. If it's too hard, aim for the Lord, let Him help you reach the rest of the way towards a forgiving heart.

"God is good. So good that He is giving me the courage to push aside both of our doubts and wait." (72)
"I don't think the Lord minds me bringing Him up in the slightest.  What's more, I think He wants me to realize that I need to wait for the important things." (72)
"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you." - Matthew 6:14 (Epigraph)
"Reach up as far as you can. God will reach the rest of the way." - Amish Proverb (Epigraph) 
Indeed He will. A lovely story to touch the hardest of hearts. How a community, friends and ultimately, God can bring healing, and forgiveness to those who grieve in any form. Shelley is an amazingly gifted author that weaves together stories that speaks and dance all on its own.  Highly recommend.

NOTE:  I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.





Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times bestseller list.  A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years.  She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio.  

CONNECT WITH SHELLEY: website, twitter, 



Amazing 5-Book Giveaway through Litfuse Publicity Tour:

Enter to win a copy of A Son's Vow—five winners will be chosen! The winners will be announced February 11 on Shelley’s blog!



  1. By the way, I just loved everything about this book that I had to refrain from discussing several topics, since my review would definitely be way too long and y'all might get bored! Just wanted to say this is a winner!

  2. I just wanted to say, I just finished this book 2 nights ago and think it is absolutely wonderful. I truly did not know what was going to happen until the end. She is an awesome writer.


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