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Paradise Valley (Daughters of Caleb Bender #1)

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  2,683 ratings  ·  238 reviews
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 esc ...more
Paperback, 359 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Bethany House Publishers (first published December 3rd 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dorothy
To start, I must confess that I have this "thing" for Amish fiction. When I am having a particularly hard week or stressful day, I know that I can open my Kindle and escape to someplace beautiful and wholesome, sweet and innocent, peaceful and predictable. Predictable is the key word. Amish fiction is predictable to its core. Most who read it know it, and we don't care. When I saw this listed as a free Kindle book, I grabbed it without really reading the description. It was Amish-related. It was ...more
Camille Eide
While I am not Amish fiction’s #1 fan, I have read a few Amish titles which I’ve liked, and most particularly, Levi’s Will by Dale Cramer. I’ve waited a long time to get my hands on a new book by Cramer, and I was not disappointed. The saga of the Daughters of Caleb Bender begins with Paradise Valley, a fascinating introduction to the Bender family in the early 1900s. Knowing that Paradise Valley is based on actual events with added details from the author’s own family history made this story es ...more
Margitte
It is my second Amish book I read. The first one was James A. Michener's "The Novel". Before as well as after that, I was always interest in the Amish lifestyle, their recipes, quilts, etc. and watched just about all the movies made about the Amish culture. I have treasured this book for a long time, waiting for the opportunity to read it. It was a beautiful, heartwarming, amazing experience. I loved every minute of it.

Their way of life always reminded me of how my grandparents lived before elec
...more
Thom Swennes
Beliefs and traditions are put to the test for an Amish community in Ohio. The year is 1922, World War I is rapidly becoming a distant memory and America is well on its way to recovery. The Amish citizens of Salt Creek Township are following their antediluvian and antiquated rural practices when the local sheriff presents the heads of four families with an ultimatum; send their children to school or the family heads will be sent to jail. In defense of their beliefs the men decided for the second ...more
Kristi
This book was awesome! I had purchased this book free for my kindle quite a while ago. For some reason I kept putting off reading it. Could it be because it was written by a man instead of a woman, the typical author of Amish fiction? Not sure but I had only read one other Amish book written by a male, Murray Pura. With Murray Pura being the standard to which I would judge Dale Cramer--well, let's just say he had his work cut out for him. And he did not disappoint.

Set in Ohio in the 1920's, five
...more
Karen
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 children's home.
After he signs a paper that says he will send his children to school as the lesser of 2 evils - send
...more
Debbie
"Paradise Valley" by Dale Cramer
"Paradise Valley"by Dale Cramer is definitely a 5 star book.This is the first book by Dale Cramer that I have read and I will definitely be reading more. This is the first book in a series of three. I started reading this book because it is the next book for discussion in my book club. I had a feeling that I wouldn't like this book, I have no idea way I felt that way. I am so glad that I didn't listen to that feeling and not read the book. I was caught up in the s
...more
Brenda
My two favorite genre's to read are historical fiction, and Amish fiction, and when I realized that Dale Cramer had woven the two together to give the reader an Amish historical fiction, I had to read it.

In 1921 Ohio passes a law called the Bing act that stated All children between the ages of six and sixteen must be in school five days a week. The Amish had been sending their children to school one day a week, because they felt the education they needed couldn't be found in a consolidated scho
...more
Sarah Sundin
The cover endorsement for Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer reads, "If you like Amish fiction, you'll love this book!" I would amend this..."If you don't read Amish fiction, you'll still love this book!"

I don't read much Amish fiction (although I've enjoyed Suzanne Woods Fisher's books), but I'll read anything Dale Cramer writes. He hooked me hard with Bad Ground, then made me a fan with Sutter's Cross, Levi's Will, and Summer of Light. He is a versatile and extremely gifted writer.

Paradise Valley
...more
Sarah
Going off the simple fact that I started this book sometime around noon and finished it around 9 PM, that should be a massive indicator as to how much that I liked this book.

For some reason, I think that this was labeled as being a romance novel. While this book did have some romance in it, none of those stories were the main plot. This book would have been better off being labeled "Slice of life" or "historical fiction".

This was a real simple book, in a completely good way. I love the Amish p
...more
Lisa
This book kind of snuck up on me. It was given to me at a book exchange and I'd started it twice but then set it down to linger. Finally read more than the first 5 chapters and then didn't put it down until I finished at 1 a.m.! I really enjoyed it. I'm sure there will be another continuing volume and I look forward to it. I also think I would have been very happy as an Amish girl.
Cindi
Because of the interference of the Amish beliefs regarding schooling, the Bender family decides to move to Mexico and make a new start. Other families plan to follow once they are established but until then times are really tough for the Benders. They have nothing but vacant, dry land when they arrive. With so much work ahead of them, building a home, digging well, put up fencing, build a barn, etc., will they be able to succeed? Can they stay safe when there are so many bandits roaming the moun ...more
Genesis Blue
This was a fascinating book, since I live in Latin America. After several Amish men are arrested and their children taken from them for not going to school, Caleb Bender picks up his family and moves to Mexico. He has mostly daughters and while the story kind of bounces around between a few characters, it does mostly center on Rachel, one of the middle daughters, who is forced to leave behind her possible true love when they move.

I loved the detail in the book and was not surprised to read that
...more
Martha Groeber
Dale Cramer's novel takes the reader to a little-known aspect of Amish history: the exodus of several families to Mexico, where they can live without being forced to send their children to "Englisher" schools. The story is loosely based on Cramer's own family; his great-grandfather, an Amishman, took his family to Mexico in the 1920's to have freedom of education.

While I am not a huge "Amish fiction" fan, Cramer's writing is so skillful that I was drawn right in. The novel is fast-paced, with pl
...more
Barbara Labbe
Worth reading

If you love Amish stories then this is a must read. It's different from other Amish stories, but I learned some history about the Amish that I never knew. I thought that Amish had always taught their children in their own school, but I learned that wasn't the case at first. You will read the struggles the Bender family has in a strange new land, new dangers they never faced before and how God's ways are more powerful than the lawlessness of the bandits. I fell in love with the varie
...more
Melanie
A full proper book rather than these parts of books available on Amazon. Truly wonderful. It left me wanting more, wanting to hear how the Amish community will get on in Mexico, wanting to know if 17 year old Rachel will marry Jake and be happy, wanting to know what will happen to Miriam, the babies, even the horses and crops. So much of it rang true culturally so it wasn't a total surprise to find that the author had based it on true historical events involving his own family, even if he did ha ...more
Susan Galuski
A page turner with satisfying characters and storyline.

I had my doubts when I found several misspellings and typos in the first chapter, but I am so glad I continued reading. The author won me over very quickly and several times my husband heard me say, "this is such a good book!" An Amish father stands by his convictions and makes some very hard choices with the lives of his family. There is romance, heartbreak, adventure, travel, danger and blessings. I can't wait to read the next book in the
...more
Liz melia
This book had me hooked from the very start, fathers jailed for they're way of live, children taken from the care of they're homes...completely gripping, caleb bender is not going to let the government control and decide what's best for his children.

When he comes across land for sale in Mexico, it's as if his prayers have been answered, all he needs to do is convince the rest of the community that it's a good idea, uproot and start over, so he agrees that he and his family will be the first fami
...more
Molly
Dec 30, 2010 Molly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Molly by: CFBA
Dale Cramer is a fantastic author! I read a book by him in the past called Levi's Will, and fell in love with not only his book but also his writing style. He has the skilled ability to create a novel that instantly captures the reader's mind and soul. He takes them on a twister of emotions and sets them down in the midst of friends and love.

Paradise Valley is phenomenally written. It's a novel for all Amish lovers, yes, but it's also a novel for those who are looking to strengthen their relati
...more
Katie
First posted on my blog, Book Reviews by Lady Katy.

I am not a big Amish fan, but Dale Cramer's book, Paradise Valley, was very interesting and very different than other Amish books I’ve read. Which was a nice change. I mean, these Amish people came face to face with bandits and several times the girls were nearly abducted! Yep, not a typical docile Amish story, to be sure! And the fact that this is based on real events—that there really was an Amish family who went to Mexico to start a new colon
...more
Shari Larsen
The characters in this story are fiction, but it is based on true events. In the early 1920's, 5 Amish fathers were arrested and jailed in Holmes County, Ohio, for violating the Bing Act of 1921 by not sending their children to the public schools. They bought land in Mexico, sight unseen, for $10 per acre and moved their families there.

In this novel, Caleb Bender is the man taking that chance. He and his family are going down first to establish a foothold and assess the situation before other fa
...more
Cindy

Caleb Bender was in jail. Not only was Caleb in jail, so were four other Amish fathers. It was 1921 and Ohio officials were trying to force the Amish communities to send their children to public schools. And arresting these five fathers was sending a strong message to the Amish.
Caleb Bender is determined that something has to change. His wife is already in bad health, in fact the doctor has said she needs a dry climate, so when Caleb sees a ad for land for sale in Mexico, he knows that Gott is
...more
Trisha
Read the Back:

“I would do a great many things for you.” Even at sixteen, Jake’s handsome features hold the calm certainty and patient confidence of a man, and Rachel Bender knows – Jake Weaver is the one.

Rachel will grow into a strong young woman with powerful gifts – but in a faraway country, without her Jake. In 1921, Ohio’s new law forces Caleb Bender’s family to seek sanctuary in the wilds of Mexico, where the government will not interfere with their Amish way of life or take their children
...more
Laura
Title: PARADISE VALLEY
Author: Dale Cramer
Publisher: Bethany House
2011
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0838-6
Genre: Inspirational/historical Amish

Rachel Bender is terrified when her neighbor and friend, Jake Weaver, came running over, announcing that his father had just been arrested and they were on the way to the Weaver farm…And sure enough, Rachel’s father is arrested too, as well as several other men in the Amish community. They are thrown into jail, and a short time later, the police come to take the school
...more
Maureen Timerman
Synopsis 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 children's home. Searching for a place to relocate his family where no such laws apply, Caleb learns there's ...more
Julia
This is not your average Amish love story! I was delighted with Dale Cramers newest work of art! As you follow Caleb Bender to a remote part of Mexico, you find yourself truly wishing you had been born Amish. The Bender family loves God Gott with all their being and their faith is unshakeable as they venture into unknown land, an unknown country still reeling from a revolutionary war. With only one family settling in the beginning, it was up to the women, girls and the men to do all of the hard ...more
Clockstein Lockstein
Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer is the first book in the Daughters of Caleb Bender series. When Caleb Bender and four other Amish men are arrested in 1922 Ohio for failing to send their children to school, he decides that he needs to do something to keep his children safe from the Enlgisch influence. After seeing a flyer for land for sale in Mexico, he uproots his entire family as an advance crew to see if the land is truly farmable and the area safe for the rest of the community to move to as we ...more
Cafelilybookreviews
I have read a lot of Amish fiction in my time, but I think that Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer may just be the most interesting twist on this particular genre that I’ve seen.

The first book in The Daughters of Caleb Bender series, Paradise Valley incorporates the religious persecution of the old order Amish in Ohio with the Mexican Revolution. Who could imagine Pancho Villa being part of an Amish story? Not me! But it works very well in this story and I wasn’t bored for a minute reading this boo
...more
Angie ~aka Reading Machine~
Paradis Valley follows one Amish family in 1920'a America when it's demanded of them to send their children to Englisher schools five days a week. The Bender Family struggles to do what is right and true to their hearts in the sight of God. The Bender's are tested in their conviction that God knows best and will turn things to his honor and grace. Caleb Bender is saddened for his young children going to Englisher school and made to dress like them as well. Rachel Bender is starting to discover w ...more
Adetia
Paradise Valley brings us the family of Caleb Bender, who after being arrested for his children's truancy at public consolidated schools, decides to risk everything and move his family to Mexico as an advance scout for a more accepting location for their local settlement to relocate to. We follow the Benders as they deal with the hard journey, having to start completely over, and the side issues of homesickness, leaving the colony style life back home, and missing friends and families. Caleb's d ...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...

Other Books in the Series

Daughters of Caleb Bender (3 books)
  • The Captive Heart (Daughters of Caleb Bender, #2)
  • Though Mountains Fall (Daughters of Caleb Bender #3)
The Captive Heart (Daughters of Caleb Bender, #2) Though Mountains Fall (Daughters of Caleb Bender #3)

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