Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Amish author, Dale Cramer, New to me

Paradise Valley, is #1 in a series of Amish books by Dale Cramer, The Daughters of Caleb Bender. These books are about an Amish group who established a new colony in Mexico. It's very different from any other Amish books I've read, and I've read quite a few from the more well-known Amish authors (all female).

I'm a fan of Kindle books and was glad to find this one. It's by Dale Cramer an author who was new to me. I looked up his books on Amazon and discovered that he has been writing for several years. Here's a review of the book. I hope to read book 2 and 3 in this series as soon as I can get them ordered or find them at my local library.

Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer

This was an Amish story with a much different twist, written by a man rather than a woman. The story was based on a true incident in the life of the author’s great-grandfather.

An Amish group living in Holmes County, Ohio, in 1922 found five of the fathers in their settlement arrested and jailed because they refused to send their children to the public school. After their release, Caleb Bender, the leader of the group, sought for a way to keep his children at home and educate them in the ways of God and their own beliefs. He saw an advertisement for land in Mexico for $10 an acre, and thought the group could go there to live and raise their families in their own way, not bowing to the laws of the state government. He talked with the leaders of the other families and decided to take his family there. He would send letters to tell the others about the land, and if they liked what they heard, they would all move to Mexico near the town of Saltillo to re-establish their Amish colony.

Caleb and Martha, along with two sons, five unmarried daughters and two married daughters and their husbands and children, loaded all their possessions, including animals, buggies, and farming equipment on several railroad cars for long and harrowing journey to their new home. Rachel, the central character, was pining for her love, Jake, who stayed behind with his family in Ohio.

They had to learn to get along in a new culture, one that was beset by thieves and bandits. They had to learn a new language, although they continued to speak the old German as well. They wrote letters to their friends in Ohio and waited for them to decide whether they would come to the new place. They worked, brought in a harvest, and lived by their belief in God and his providence, without using violence, as many of the Mexicans around them did.

The day-to-day life of this family was exciting and filled with many adventures. The author described the tiring work of building everything new, the stress of birthing new babies without the help of a doctor, and the never-ending work on a farm where they had to grow everything in order to sustain themselves. Cramer did a wonderful job of describing women’s thoughts as all these sisters uncomplainingly worked to make their new home a good one.

One of the Mexican natives joined himself to the group, to work for them, and he taught them much about surviving in their new culture. Along the way, he was attracted to one of the daughters, and I'm hoping to hear more from them in the next book. 

I had never read a book by Dale Cramer, and am happy to have found a new author, whom I respect and will continue to follow. I was sorry for this one to end.

Dale Cramer, author of Amish fiction

Book 2, The Captive Heart, was publihed in 2012

Book 3, Though Mountains Fall, published in 2013
All three books are now available.

Readers, you still have time to win not one, but TWO books. Comment on the interview with Julie Lessman to win LOVE AT ANY COST. Winner announced May 19.

Comment on the interview with Bette Lee Crosby to win WHAT MATTERS MOST. Winner announced May 12.
Be sure to leave your email address when you comment so I will know where to find you if you are the winner! Use the side bar to find the interview, or scroll down to find it. Good luck! These are some great books by fantastic authors.

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