Thursday, April 28, 2011

Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer

 Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer

1922 in eastern Ohio, Caleb Bender and four other Amish men are arrested for neglecting the welfare of their children and delinquency of a minor. Their children do not attend a consolidated school and they work on the farms during the time they should be in a public school learning. They are contributing to child labor. The newly enacted law states that they are depriving the children of a proper education. The Bing Act-stipulates that all children shall attend public school five days a week from the age of 6 until 18, or 16 with a work permit. The men must spend 60 days in prison and the school age children will report to public school immediately.

Even while the men are in prison the families refuse to send their kids to public school which leads to the Child Protection Agency coming to take the children and puts them in a children’s home. The Amish families get the children back and send them to public school.

Caleb is deeply concerned for his daughter’s and the Amish way of life with the children being in a public school. What will happen to the Amish twenty years down the road will there be anymore Amish?

Caleb seeks the Lord in this matter. He comes across a  brochure of  land for sale in Paradise Valley, Mexico. The prospect of good fertile, cheap land in Mexico, where the government would not force its school on Amish children, kindled a fire in him.

The community agrees that one family should go down first to see if the land is what it says and if it can accommodate and Amish community before others follow. Caleb packs up his homestead and heads to Paradise Valley. The family faces bandits terrorizing the countryside, an unfamiliar language, and a people who do not know their ways. What comes out of it is an amazing story of faith, and love.

I thought this was a wonderful book. I love historical fiction and enjoy reading books with the Amish theme. I like that this doesn’t romanticize the Amish life, but lets you see it in a different perspective. This book is based off true events of five Amish men being arrested in Ohio for not schooling their children and the start of a colony in Mexico.

Rachel 16, one of Caleb’s daughter is one of the main character in this book. She has to part with a boy who she hoped she would marry. Not knowing what the future holds, and moving to a county with the prospect of marriage. All the children are so different and the characters are well written.

The family befriends a young Mexican man, Domingo. So many wonder quotes I could use in this story. I will use this one because of the impact that Caleb and his family have on the peoples lives in Mexico. Domingo tells Caleb, “Your are either the most honorable man I have ever met or the most foolish. I have not decided which.”

I look forward to the next book in this series, which I hope is going to be soon! Until then I will have to devour some of this authors other books.

This book has been provided to me my by Bethany House Publisher free of charge and in no way was I asked to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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