The Captive Heart by Dale Cramer

Ravaged by disease, preyed upon by bandits, the Bender family’s second year in Mexico has taken on a grievous turn. The Amish discover, more than ever before, what it means to live by faith and not by sight.

The Captive Heart
Daughters of Caleb Bender #2
by Dale Cramer
Bethany House Publishers
January 2012

Caleb Bender moved his family from Ohio to Paradise Valley in Mexico. Several other Amish families have now joined the Bender family in their new community. Things are not going well. The Community is ravaged by disease and preyed upon by bandits. Their old enemy – El Pantera – is back. He has been harassing the Bender family for the past year. What are they going to do about him and his band of outlaws? Caleb is worried that his daughters are not safe with the bandits roaming the mountains. Domingo, a Mexican, works for Caleb. He has feelings for Miram and calls her “Cualnezqui” – beautiful one. He is loyal to Caleb and will do nothing to discredit himself in Caleb’s eyes. Miriam is attracted to Domingo, but knows nothing can come of this – she is Amish – he is Mexican.

Caleb’s grandson Little Amos and his daughter Ada comes down with diphtheria. Aaron and Rachel must take them to the doctor in Aqua Nuema which is thirty miles over the mountain. After three days of hard traveling, they arrive at the doctor’s home. It is touch and go for a few days, but the doctor heals Little Amos and Ada. He will send another doctor to the settlement to vaccinate the people and try to prevent the spread of the disease. On the way home, they are accosted by El Pantera and his men. Aaron is stabbed and left for dead. Rachel is kidnapped by the bandits,. but Ada has managed to escape with Little Amos. Caleb is worried – the doctor has arrived – but the children are not back. They should have been home days ago. He, along with Domingo and Jake go to search for them, they find Aaron – he is alive, but seriously wounded, Where is Ada , Little Amos and Rachel? Caleb returns home with Aaron and Domingo and Jake continue on to locate the other three.

After many days they locate the bandits and rescue Rachel. She tells them Ada escaped with Little Amos. She hopes Ada makes it home.. The bandits catch up with them and their lives are in serious danger. Domingo tells them to leave and he will hold off the bandits. Jake is reluctant to leave him, but knows this is the only way to get Rachel safely home. When they arrive home without Domingo, his sister Kyra tells them she must return to mountains to find her brother. Miriam goes with her and they set out on a journey they will never forget. Will they find Domingo dead or alive? Dressed in the course cotton pants of a peasant, Miriam stands on a ridge searching for Domingo. Domingo the fierce. Domingo the protector. Domingo the forbidden.

Will they find Domingo and will Miriam give up her heritage – her Amish faith – for Domingo?

I loved the book. Suggest you read both books – Paradise Valley and Captive Heart. Dale Cramer is an excellent writer of Amish fiction.

Highly recommended.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, 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.