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    A Son's Vow

    A Son’s Vow is the first book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s The Charmed Amish Life series, but is definitely not the first book I have ever read by her. In the past, I read her Crittenden County series—Missing, The Search, and Found—and The Promise of Palm Grove and The Proposal at Siesta Key, the first two books in her Amish Brides of Pinecraft series. My favorites of her novels, however, are the ones I just read a couple of months ago, the ones she published under Shelley Gray, the three novels in her Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series—Secrets of Sloane House, Deception on Sable Hill, and Whispers in the Reading Room. Apparently she’s an even better historical fiction/mystery writer than an Amish one, but that’s another discussion for another day since this is an Amish novel. Darla Kurtz is such a sweet character; hardworking and caring, always doing for others and never stopping to think of herself. Despite all of the horrors she faces, she is constantly strong and resilient, and that is definitely something that I admire about her. I also feel so much sympathy for her throughout the novel as I realize just how badly her brother treats her. I cannot imagine how horrible I would feel if my brother treated me in such a way, so I truly sympathize with her, and that fact makes me admire her even more. Lukas Kinsinger is such a strong and compassionate hero! He fights for Darla throughout the entire course of this book, and that is my favorite thing about him. Despite all that he has been through since the fire that claimed his father’s life, he is able to put aside his grief and focus on making things better for Darla, and that is literally just the sweetest thing ever. Plus, he is just a wonderful older brother and an all-around great person, and that is why I love him as much as I do. All in all, I really enjoyed this novel, and am definitely excited to read more in the series. However, I find myself needing to give it only four out of five bookshelves, most likely because of one simple reason. Even though this was a great story, it just didn’t even come close to how wonderful the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series is, and that really disappointed me. Throughout the whole novel I was really anticipating it being just as fabulous, and was kind of let down when it wasn’t. Although, that possibly could just be because I absolutely love both mysteries and historicals the most out of almost anything else I have ever read. At the end of the day, this was a quality book that I would recommend, and did definitely enjoy. I received a copy of this book from the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for only my honest review.
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    Not your run of the mill Amish book!

    This is the first book that I've read by Shelley Shepard Gray and it won't be my last! She brings a freshness to the Amish fiction world that you don't always find in other Amish-related books. Nothing makes me happier than authors who don't create perfect characters that never make mistakes; hence why I feel she's an innovation to the genre. She's not afraid to let her characters show emotion - such as the anger Aaron carried around with him and unfortunately took out on Darla. There was more than once when I wanted to reach in and thump Aaron on the head for the way he treated not only Darla, but Hannah (who lost her fiance in the fire), and the Kinsinger family as well. Darla and Lukas were caught between a rock and a hard place with their families fighting; Lukas's siblings blamed Aaron and Darla's father, while Aaron tried to do whatever he could to prove his father's innocence and blamed the Kinsinger family. I cheered Darla on throughout the book as she found her backbone and not only stood up to the town bully, but she stood up against her brother and kept seeing Lukas anyway. It was nice to see how their bond strengthened as the book moved along at a good pace. Overall I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what happens with Hannah and Rob, a secondary story that was easy to follow along with Lukas and Darla's storyline. Please note that I received a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
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