Jan 28, 2011

Book Review: Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer

Excerpt: "Do you understand what I'm saying?"

Caleb nodded once. "We understand you want us to sign a paper promising to send our children to school every day." The rest, in Caleb's opinion, was trivial.

The judge peered warily over his glasses.

"And will you agree to do this?"

Caleb did not hesitate, nor did he need to confer with his brethren. There was nothing to discuss.

"No, Your Honor. We will not."

"Sixty days," the judge pronounced, and banged his gavel. "Gentlemen, I'm very disappointed. You should think more of your children's futures. Rest assured, you have not heard the last of this. Bailiff, remove the prisoners." Paradise Valley, pg 26.

Back Cover: "I would do a great many things for you." Even at sixteen, Jake's handsome features hold the calm certainty and patient confidence of a man, and Rachel Bender knows - Jake Weaver is the one.

Rachel will grow into a strong young woman with powerful gifts - but in a faraway country, without her Jake. In 1921, Ohio's new law forces Caleb Bender's family to seek sanctuary in the wilds of Mexico, where the government will not interfere with their Amish way of life or take their children from them. Nor will it protect them from the bandits terrorizing the countryside.

In an unfamiliar land where no one speaks their language or knows their ways, the Benders establish a homestead in exile. Sisters Emma, Rachel and Miriam find strengths unimagined, gifts unexpected, and yearnings beyond their deepest dreams. Even steadfast Caleb is compelled to wrestle with the demands of faith, only to discover that love has its own demands.

My Review: I am still not a huge fan of Amish fiction, but I appreciate the way that Dale Cramer deals with the subject. Cramer doesn't romanticize the Amish lifestyle, but gives a real look into the good and the bad. Perhaps its because of his own family background with the Amish, but for whatever reason, Dale Cramer's Amish fiction rings with authenticity. One thing that I really liked about Paradise Valley was the historical context. I've often wondered about some of the historical issues that the Amish have dealt with, and this book brings out one that I've wondered about. How did the Amish deal with going to school with Englisher children, and what happens if they, or their families, are physically threatened. I'm interested in reading the other books to come in the Daughters of Caleb Bender series. Paradise Valley was an enjoyable first installment.

My Rating:

My Recommendation: I recommend this book to lovers of historical Amish fiction.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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