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I have read a lot of Amish fiction in my time, but I think that Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer may just be the most interesting twist on this particular genre that I’ve seen.
The first book in The Daughters of Caleb Bender series, Paradise Valley incorporates the religious persecution of the old order Amish in Ohio with the Mexican Revolution. Who could imagine Pancho Villa being part of an Amish story? Not me! But it works very well in this story and I wasn’t bored for a minute reading this book.
On the contrary, I hated to see this book end and am now anxiously awaiting the second installment! Not only is this an exciting story, this is Dale’s first attempt at writing romantic fiction and I think he did a great job. The characters are very believable and easy to relate to. All the way around this book is interesting and informative.
Dale Cramer took actual events from his own family history and then fleshed them out with his imagination. After doing research on some sketchy details, Dale came up with his version of what might have happened when a group of Amish residents in Ohio fled the country, due to the Bing Act of 1921.
According to the Bing Act, all children in Ohio were required to attend public school until they reached the age of 18. This of course went against Amish traditions and beliefs and brought about the arrest of several Amish fathers who were charged with neglect and abuse.
The children of these men were taken from their families and put into a state children’s home. Their Amish clothes were taken away and their appearances altered, against their will.
If you’ve given up on Amish fiction because you’re tired of reading the same plot written a million different ways, I highly recommend you get your hands on Paradise Valley!
This book was provided free for review by Bethany House Publishers
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
Inspired by Actual Events!
"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 yearning 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.
Paradise Valley—a tale of love, danger, and redeeming faith.