The Captive Heart
Dale Cramer
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The Captive Heart (Daughters of Caleb Bender #2)

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  760 ratings  ·  103 reviews
As a displaced Amish community struggles in a lawless Mexico, a forbidden love blossoms, and one man is pushed to the limits of his convictions.
ebook, 352 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Bethany House Publishers
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Lydia (Overweight Bookshelf)
Full review here: http://overweight-bookshelf.blogspot....

Amish genre books and I have a complicated relationship. I try to go in without any preconceived notions but ultimately walk away at the end feeling...apathetic? Underwhelmed? Meh? I keep trying over and over because I feel like I should love the genre that is consistently top selling in the Christian market, but when push comes to shove, all the stories feel and sound the same to me. There have been a few exceptions to this gut reaction,...more
Story Description:

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

But it’s Miriam who must make the hardest choice as her heart takes her on a new and dangerous course. Domingo. “He is gentle,” his sister said, “until someone he loves is threatened.” Is Miriam that someone?

“Cualnezqui,” he of...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
The Bender family has survived a year in the wild Paradise Valley in Mexico. Now, joined by others of their faith who have made the long journey in search of religious freedom, they hope for a peace which is not to be found.

Miriam finds herself falling in love with Domingo, their hired hand. Not Amish and not even Christian, she knows that her father will never approve of her relationship with him. She attempts to find happiness with an Amish man, but her heart belongs to someone else.

When Rach...more
Angie ~aka Reading Machine~
Small but growing Amish communtiy in Paradise Valley in early 1923 resides in Mexico. Caleb Bender is responsible not only for his own family but two new Amish families that now reside in Paradise Valley. Meanwhile Miriam Bender tries not to think about her growing attraction to Domingo. Domingo fondly calls Miriam "Cualnezqui~Beautiful One". The Amish community is still plagued by bandits so they look to Gott"God" for protection. Rachel Bender skills as midwife and doctoring are haled by the co...more
The Captive Heart is the second book in the Daughters of Caleb Bender series. This book continues the story of the Bender family and their Amish community in Paradise Valley, Mexico. The Amish community is growing as more families make the journey to Mexico. Miriam Bender has feelings for Domingo, the Mexican hired hand. Her father is pushing her towards Micah, a young Amish man whose family has come to Mexico. Miriam is torn between her feelings for Domingo and her family and religion.

Though t...more
I loved this story even more than the first book! But the one thing that kept driving me nuts was that the amish thought if they kill a man they will be condemned to hell. That's not true! Yes, killing anybody is a sin, but that doesn't condemn you to hell. The only way you won't go to hell is by asking Jesus Christ into your heart and believing that God sent His Son to die on the cross for us and our evil sins, but He rose from the grave on the third day. I just wanted to go inside the book and...more
Liz melia
The trouble has come to paradise valley, the amish still stand by they're beliefs they will not harm another man.
They give and share with bandits when the come, but the bandits want more than water and corn.

Miriam has some hard choices to make, stay with her family or lose them for love, she has tried, she even courted an amish boy but her heart lies elsewhere, only when real danger and unthinkable tragedy strikes can she find out her true way.

More families have come and settled, but still no bi...more
Cheryl Baranski
I finished reading The Captive Heart (The Daughter’s of Caleb Bender Series) last night. I am hooked, without a doubt! The story of the Bender family as the are living in Paradise Valley in Mexico is exceptional! Rachel, Miriam, Emma and Ada capture your hearts. Then you have Domingo who is the tough, strong and will fight to keep those he cares about safe. Levi is a loving and caring person devoted to his Amish faith. Then there is Micha he is accepted by those around him but he is very pompus...more
First posted on my blog, Legacy of a Writer.

While The Captive Heart had more events and action packed within its pages than the first book in the series, I still wasn't crazy about the book. Mostly because I felt there were so many loose ends when the book ended. I understand an author wanting to leave some questions there, in anticipation of another book, but I personally felt it was too many. There wasn’t enough closer.

The book takes off much faster than the first, combining more adventure int...more
This is the first Amish-themed historical fiction book that I read and I loved it. Cramer managed to keep my interest throughout the story with real characters facing difficult and life-changing situations. Although the book cover and the synopsis would lead a reader to believe this is a just a romance, it's really more of a family saga taking place in the 1920s, and Miriam's struggle with her feelings for Domingo, a half-breed Mexican man who isn't Amish.

Miriam's parents, Caleb and Martha Bende...more

We join this story after the Caleb Bender family have been in Paradise Valley in Mexico for a year. Arriving in 1922, this story begins in 1923 with the arrival of a couple more families, who are there to help set up the new Amish colony in Mexico. The land is fertile, the Lord has blessed the efforts of Caleb's family and all their work is rewarded with good crops, and the beginnings of a lovely farm.

However the country of Mexico is in turmoil, bandits roam the country taking what they want.Wh...more
I don't read a lot of amish fiction, and have to admit that when I started this one, I had more stereotypes in my head than I thought. I grew up and live in an area with lots of Amish, and despite not knowing any personally, thought I had a good idea of them. As I was reading this book, I thought several times,"this is so unrealistic!" It wasn't til I finished the book and read the note from the author that I realized he probably knew what he was talking about! So, that said, I did enjoy the boo...more
Trisha Turner
Read the Back:
The Epic Story of an Amish Community in Peril

Ravaged by disease, preyed upon by ruthless bandits, the Bender family's second year in Mexico has taken a grievous turn. Faced with impossible choices, the expatriate Amish discover, more than ever before, what it means to live by faith and not by sight

But it's Miriam who must make the hardest choice as her heart takes her on a new and dangerous course. Domingo. "He is gentle," his sister said, "until someone he loves is threatened." Is...more
Camille Eide
My Review of The Captive Heart by W. Dale Cramer (Bethany House, 2012)
A Stunning One-of-a-kind Saga

The Captive Heart continues the story begun in Paradise Valley (2011), in which Amishman Caleb Bender and his family move from Ohio to Mexico in the 1920s to avoid religious persecution. But the troubles they and other settlers face in the beautifully fertile yet rugged new land prove to be a far greater challenge. In the turbulent aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, the cultural climate is unstab...more
Author: Dale Cramer
Publisher: Bethany House
January 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4104-4759-3
Genre: Historical Amish

Caleb Bender’s family is still struggling to adjust to life in the Mexican wilderness. More Amish families have joined them, and babies are being born, but the bandits are still a threat, especially after a powerful man dies. Suddenly the most dangerous bandit in Mexico is threatening the Amish, stealing from them and injuring them.

When diphtheria strikes the Amish communi...more
If you like Amish fiction or historical fiction, then you will like this book. It is the second in the series, and I have not read the first, but that wasn't a problem in understanding the book. It still had a clear beginning, middle, and end, and I was not lost.

The main family in this novel is the Bender family. They were originally from Ohio, but due to the treatment they received there as Amish, they moved down to Mexico. During this novel, other families join them, and they are building a co...more
Janet Sketchley
Caleb Bender is a man of integrity and courage, and most of all a man of faith. Book one of the Daughters of Caleb Bender series followed the family as they fled religious persecution in Ohio and struggled to establish a new home in a fertile Mexican valley.

The Captive Heart is the second in the series, as more Amish families have followed the Benders to the new settlement. Caleb’s daughters Rachel and Miriam continue to be key characters. Rachel has been united with her beloved Jake and Miriam...more
Clockstein Lockstein
The Captive Heart by Dale Cramer is the second book in The Daughters of Caleb Bender series about an Amish man in 1920 who moves his family to rural Mexico in hopes of escaping religious persecution in the United States only to encounter difficulties and loss he never could have imagined. Miriam, his second eldest daughter is still struggling with her feelings for Domingo, a Nahua who has helped the family settle in to Paradise Valley, but in order to please her family she allows Micah to court...more
Caleb Bender and his family left Ohio to start an Amish colony in Mexico. They settled in Paradise Valley, where the land was good for farming. Other families from Ohio followed later. The Mexican government was unable to control the bandits that were harming people and their property. The Bender's were no exception. Several times, they encountered bandit El Pantera, an evil man that was determined to get what he wanted. Being Pacifists, Caleb and the rest of the colony do not fight back when th...more
If you are looking for a book to renew your enjoyment of Amish fiction, then look no further than Dale Cramer’s, The Captive Heart. Filled with unexpected twists and turns this will have you flipping the pages long into the night, like it did me – I couldn’t go bed until I finished this book! While it does have romance in it, this isn’t the kind that makes you want to gag or throw the book out, it’s a romance that seems real more than faked or pushed and it doesn’t involve a lot of kissing or ha...more
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
The latest novel, The Captive Heart is the second book in the Daughters of Caleb Bender series by Dale Cramer and could easily be read as a stand alone book as well. The first chapter is dedicated to an overview of just how the Bender family arrived in Mexico after leaving Ohio. They were facing a lot of persecution from the local government and school board for being Amish and adopting the Amish ways of life in regards to the education and raising of their children. Faced with jail time unless...more
Linda Rogde
For some time I've read books with an Amish setting. They typically provide a good story and a peek into the Plain People's unique way of living. This is the second book in the Paradise Valley: Daughters of Caleb Bender trilogy by Dale Cramer. The author's father was Old Order Amish and he has Amish relatives so he brings authenticity of his writings. In 1922, a group of Ohio Amish moved to Paradise Valley in Mexico to establish a community there. This was a period of unrest in Mexico with bandi...more
From my blog:

The Captive Heart by Dale Cramer

The Captive Heart is the second book in the series the Daughters of Caleb Bender.

To read my review of the first book, Paradise Valley, you can click here.

What makes this series unique is unlike most Amish fiction, this series is period fiction. The series is set in the early 1900s when a group of Amish decide to go to Mexico to try to find more fertile land, and more importantly, escape religious persecution.

"The Captive Heart" by Dale Cramer is another 5 star book. It is the second book in The Daughters of Caleb Bender series. More families comes to Paradise Valley and the daughters of Caleb Bender are having more babies and even Rachel and Jake Weaver are planing to marry and yes even Miriam is engaged but then illness comes and threatens death to little Amos and Ada. So Rachel and Aaron Bender take them to the dr. in Agua Nueva and they get well only to run into the bandits on the way home and Aa...more
Bonnie (Words at Home Blog)
View full review (Feb 7, 2012):

The Captive Heart is book #2 in the Daughters of Caleb Bender series and as I said in my review of book 1, this is an interesting take on Amish Fiction. Much of Amish fiction takes place within large and more well-known Amish settlements (Lancaster Pennsylvania, Ohio etc.) whereas this series is set during the 1920s Mexico in a new settlement called Paradise Valley. In The Captive Heart the Bender family is joined on their s...more
The second year in Mexico isn't going so good for the Bender family or the other Amish that have moved to Paradise Valley. El Pantera and his bandits are more of a threat since Pancho Villa is no longer alive. Even with the newest Amish arriving there is still no Bishop, no leader for them to make necessary decisions.

Miriam is getting older and finds herself falling in love with Domingo, which gives her no future since he is Mexican not Amish. Because of her age she agrees to marry Micah Shrock....more
In this second volume of the Daughter's of Caleb Bender series, the fledgling Amish colony in Mexico is beset by brutal bandits and a deadly epidemic. Jake risks his soul to shows his love for Rachel, and her sister Miriam is torn by the forbidden feelings she has for Domingo, their Mexican hired hand. Domingo is drawn to Caleb Bender's deep faith, but respects the fences that faith puts between him, an unbeliever, and the young woman he has loved from the moment he saw her. Or at least, he trie...more
I really wonder what leads so many authors to write "forbidden love" romances about people in small religious sects? It seems like a cheap way to stir up some extra relational drama. Should "love" triumph over "religion"? Seems to me like in this kind of situation neither term is being properly defined and applied...
Where are the scenes where Miriam consults with her parents about how she's feeling? I missed the part where she takes her emotional and spiritual conflicts to the appropriate autho...more
After I devoured Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer, I didn't hesitate to purchase Captive Heart because, well, I wanted more. I fell in love with the characters and their story. Having just read and loved the first book, I was really thrilled to find the second one, which was released recently. I sat back and was ready to devour and savor this book.

Unlike other Amish fiction, this one reads more similar to a historical fiction rather than a romance fiction. It certainly has romance; the author does...more
The Wild West meets the Amish? Wait a minute does that mean this is a Western or an Amish romance? Actually -- it's both and definitely unlike any other Amish book I've read. For one, it's laced with a sinister undercurrent not to mention gritty prose that left me shuddering. If you're familiar with Westerns, you'll know that there's nothing worse than ruthless bandits and the kind they have in Paradise Valley are definitely more ruthless than most. Their evil is such a stark contrast to the pea...more
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About Dale

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—

"I remember knee-deep snow in the Maryland woods, chasing horned toads in El Paso, playing soccer in Mainz, and the way German shopkeepers and hau...more
More about Dale Cramer...
Paradise Valley (Daughters of Caleb Bender, #1) Though Mountains Fall (Daughters of Caleb Bender #3)

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