The Caleb Bender family live in rural Salt Creek Township in eastern Ohio. The area is a pastoral haven of rolling hills and curving country lanes with horse fences. A place where the Amish people live, work their farms and raise their families in the Amish faith. The peace of the community is shattered when they must comply with a 1921 Ohio new law which forces Caleb and several other Amish families to send their young children to a consolidated public school. Four fathers refuse to comply and are thrown in jail. The children are taken away and are forced to cut their hair and wear Englisher clothing. Only after the men agree to abide by the law are the children returned home, but they must attend the school.
Caleb sees an advertisement in the local store window. Land for Sale – Paradise Valley – 5,000 acres of prime fertile farm land nestled in the Sierra Madre in northeastern Mexico – $10.00 an acre. Could this be the answer to their problem – a sign from God? Caleb will seek sanctuary in this foreign land where the government will not interfere with their Amish way of life or take the children away. Rachel doesn’t want to leave Ohio. She is really smitten by 16 year old Jake Weaver. She is too young to date, but this doesn’t stop her thoughts. Jake is the one for her and they will marry when she is old enough. Didn’t Jake say he could and would do a great many things for her?
Caleb has sold his farm, packed up everything necessary to start a new life. The day is finally here and they start their long journey to Mexico. In an unfamiliar land where no one speaks their language and bandits terrorize the county side, the Bender family carves out a flourishing homestead. As they wait for others to arrive. Their lives is fought with danger, the work is hard and even Caleb is compelled to wrestle with the demands of faith. Emma finds strength unimagined and gifts unexpected. Rachel is overjoyed when Jake comes to Mexico. Her father arranged for Jake to work for another farmer.
Paradise Valley is a tale of love, danger and redeeming faith. An amazing story of one family willing to sacrifice everything, who found hope, overcame the threat of bandits, and established a community without restrictions. A story that is based on actual events. A book you will really become involved in from the first page to the last. This is a book you will cherish – a keeper.
Dale Cramer is an excellent writer of Amish historical fiction. Highly recommended.
Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com. She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.”.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.