Saturday, February 18, 2012

Paradise Valley (The Daughter's of Caleb Bender #1) - W. Dale Cramer

Summary from GoodReads: An Amish settlement in Ohio has run afoul of a law requiring their children to attend public school. Caleb Bender and his neighbors are arrested for neglect, with the state ordering the children be placed in an institution. Among them are Caleb's teenage daughter, Rachel, and the boy she has her eye on, Jake Weaver. Romance blooms between the two when Rachel helps Jake escape the children's home.

Searching for a place to relocate his family where no such laws apply, Caleb learns there's inexpensive land for sale in Mexico, a place called Paradise Valley. Despite rumors of instability in the wake of the Mexican revolution, the Amish community decides this is their answer. Since it was Caleb's idea, he and his family will be the pioneers. They will send for the others once he's established a foothold and assessed the situation. Caleb's daughters are thrown into turmoil. Rachel doesn't want to leave Jake. Her sister, Emma, who has been courting Levi Mullet, fears her dreams of marriage will be dashed. Miriam has never had a beau and is acutely aware there will be no prospects in Mexico.

Once there, they meet Domingo, a young man and guide who takes a liking to Miriam, something her father would never approve. While Paradise Valley is everything they'd hoped it would be, it isn't long before the bandits start giving them trouble, threatening to upset the fledgling Amish settlement, even putting their lives in danger. Thankfully no one has been harmed so far, anyway.
It is 1922 in Ohio. Caleb Bender and 4 others are arrested for not sending their children to school until they are at least 17. They remained in prison for 6 weeks and was then forced to agree to send them. Against their religion, but to avoid further pursecussion, the children go to English school. They are all unhappy. The on day, Caleb save an advertisement for a large amount of farmable land for sale in Paradise Valley in Mexico. It wa discussed amongst the community but no one wants to be the first to move their family to another country. So Caleb decided to go first.

After arriving, they encountered several bandits and learned to trust a native named Domingo, to help them through this. They had to build their homes, start their fields and set up a new life by themselves. It was challenging, but they managed.

This was a wonderful story about starting over and the strength of family. I am looking forward to reading more about the Bender family and thie adventures in Mexico in the next book, The Captive Heart.

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