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Monday, January 3, 2011

Paradise Valley

Just what the name implies, lush, green, fertile lands just waiting to be farmed, and the answer to Caleb Bender's prayers. Paradise Valley is a place to start over, begin again, before their way of life has ceased to exist.

Caleb Bender makes the most difficult choice a man can make for his family. As an Amish farmer who has held the same piece of land for generations, he finds he can no longer just let things be. When the local school board has him and other farmers arrested and brought before the court for having their children work the farms rather than attend school, Caleb stands his ground. Their fine, 60 days in jail and paying a 20 dollar find for every child in their home that should be attending school. If after jail time, they do not send their children to the public school, things will get more difficult.

During their jail time, the sheriff's and the courts have the children removed from their homes and placed in a state home. They are forced to attend school and have their hair cut and clothing changed to conform to the English ways. When Jake Weaver decides to make a run for it, Rachel Bender lures the administrator away to go to the restroom. Once she has locked their door, the children make a run for it. The only ones who escape without being caught are Jake and his younger brother.

Deep down inside her heart, Rachel, has known that she likes Jake. When he confesses the same intention to her at a Sunday singing, her heart is filled with joy. When Caleb Bender finds a note selling land in Mexico at $10 per acre and learns that they don't care what people do there, he believes God is telling him, to move his family to Paradise Valley, Mexico.

The adventure just begins at the conclusion of the Mexican Revolution and Caleb decides his family will be the first of the Amish town to head to Mexico. Hopefully once he has arrived, he will send word for the other Amish families to join him, so they will not be forced by the government to abandon their way of life.

I received the book, Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer, compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and loved the unique twist on your typical Amish romance stories. Wondering if Jake and Rachel will be able to endure a long separation that will unite them or drive them apart forever and will Paradise Valley become a new Amish town south of the border. This book rates a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about the book, the author and where to get a first chapter peek, then read on:

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Paradise Valley
Bethany House (January 1, 2011)
Dale Cramer


Dale Cramer was the second of four children born to a runaway Amishman turned soldier and a south Georgia sharecropper's daughter. His formative years were divided between far-flung military bases, but he inherited his mother's sense of place—

He took on small construction projects at night to help make ends meet— "and to preserve the remainder of my sanity," he says. While building an office in the basement of a communications consultant, a debate over labor/management relations turned into an article on mutualism which found its way into an international business magazine. It was Dale's first published article, and he liked the feel of it. He bought books, studied technique, and began participating in an online writers' forum, writing during the boys' naps and after they went to bed at night. Before long he was publishing short stories in literary magazines and thinking about writing a book.

Three storylines vied for Dale's attention when he finally decided to write a novel. His first two choices were commercially viable secular stories, and a distant third appeared to be some kind of Christian saga about a broken-down biker. The process of determining which novel to write was settled by a remarkable encounter with his youngest son, a lost set of keys, and God. His sense of direction was suddenly clarified. In 1997, Dale began work on Sutter's Cross, which was eventually published in 2003.

His second novel, Bad Ground (July 2004), while it is not autobiographical, contains a great deal of material drawn from his own experience as a construction electrician.

He and his wife and two sons make their home in northern Georgia.


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 childrens 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. And 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.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Paradise Valley, go HERE.


  1. Definitely sounds interesting. Thanks.

  2. I'm not a huge Amish fan but I found this book to be very enjoyable! I'm ready to read the next book in the series! :)

  3. Oh Kat Sweetie...
    Now you know this is my cup of tea. I love the Amish writes. Oh what a book. Keep me in mind, as I SO want to read this one. Yeahh.

    I love your new pic. A new hair color as well. I had to look twice. I have two more read I need to share the excitement with you.

    Hope you are well. I think of you daily sweet friend. Many hugs and SO much love, Sherry


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