Author: Beth K. Vogt
This inspirational novel opens with a prologue that shows Stephen and Sam, twin brothers, who are lost in the woods while on a camping trip with their parents. When Stephen falls and gets hurt, Sam promises to take good care and get him back safely. I was drawn into this narrative and at first felt disappointed that the scene didn’t get resolved until I realized the purpose was to show the close relationship between the boys.
In chapter one, we learn that Sam is killed while serving as a medic in Afghanistan. Although they’ve been estranged for years, Stephen is devastated. He drives two hours to meet his brother’s widow, Haley, who is pregnant.
Haley is no wallflower. She wears brown cowboy boots, carries a gun, and gobbles down junk food without ever gaining an ounce of fat. She works at a shooting range and her three brothers regard her as “one of the boys.” When she finds Stephen waiting on her doorstep, she’s in no mood to give him a sympathetic welcome. Instead, she pulls out her gun and threatens to blow him away if he doesn’t vacate her property immediately.
Not one to be easily rejected, Stephen visits Haley’s home again, this time bearing baby gifts and an offer to help with some obviously needed repairs on her house. Again, Haley’s response is anything but kind as she yawns in his face and declares that she doesn’t need his help.
At this point, most men would shake the dust off their feet and move on. Instead, Stephen calls and begs to buy her lunch. Haley leaves him sitting in the restaurant for a good half hour. By now, I want him to turn around and never look back, as most self-respecting men would do. But I guess the third time’s the charm, because she finally shows up and answers some of his questions about his late brother.
Author Beth K. Vogt is well qualified to write about the themes in this book. She herself is a twin as well as a mother of four, so she’s acquainted with sibling loyalty and rivalry. She’s married to a former military medic. But even more, she has been through a heartbreaking estrangement in her own life and has had to rely on God to get her through some rough times.
Readers who enjoy Christian fiction that is character-driven and not preachy will likely enjoy this book. Personally, I had a hard time relating to the main character or feeling sympathy for her, so the story didn’t draw me in as much as I would have liked.
The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book in exchange for my candid review.
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