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Paradise Valley

(Daughters of Caleb Bender #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  4,472 ratings  ·  323 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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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  4,472 ratings  ·  323 reviews

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May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Different than typical Amish fiction, but so worth the read. A little bit of romance, a little bit of danger. I would describe this as Amish historical fiction. Highly recommended for fans of Amish fiction!
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amish-fiction
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
Dec 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah Sundin
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Nancy Steinle gummel
Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer is a bit different from the normal Famish books. This starts out in Ohio. The sheriff arrests 5 of the dads for not sending their kids to school. When they refused to sign the agreement to send the children to school, social workers rounded up their children to put them in foster care. Giving them baths cutting the boys hair braiding the girls and putting regular clothes on them.Rachel helps Jake. She asks to use the rest room. While the matron shows her, Jake help ...more
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"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
Shari Larsen
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this author can write! I'd read some of his books before under his other pen name (W. Dale Cramer), but this is the first Amish book of his that I'd tried. I had sort of burned out on Amish fiction for several reasons: they all seem vaguely similar, and they mostly involve Amish who are unhappy or don't feel like they fit in so they are trying to leave the Amish. This book breaks the mold. And moreover it is based on a true story - the story of the author's own ancestors.

It begins with reli
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: little-cats
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
Thom Swennes
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Angie ~aka Reading Machine~
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mom
Checked out of the library, hoping to finish before it's due back :)

Great book, different from the type of books I've been reading lately. Was interesting to see the length a father would go to for his beliefs, for family, and for Amish traditions. Really liked the simple way Caleb dealt with different situations always going back to the what the bible says. I loved the part of teaching the 3R's to the native people to help them improve themselves, giving respect to everyone, letting go of his b
Myra Johnson
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've never read a Dale Cramer book I didn't like or that didn't touch my heart in a meaningful way. PARADISE VALLEY is no exception. This story, inspired by actual events, explores the depths of love and commitment among the members of an Amish community and the lengths they will go to to honor their beliefs and protect way of life. Even more inspiring is the effect these determined folk have on the people they encounter as they start new lives in the wilds of Mexico. Faced with unscrupulous lan ...more
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fantastic! This fictional story based on historic facts really connected with me at this time in my life. The main character and his family are forced to make life altering decisions. In the early 1900s, the state takes their children to raise them in foster homes and educate them in public school. The families flee to Mexico and start a new life free from religious persecution. Often times while reading I found myself wondering what I would be willing to do to raise my children the way I want t ...more
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was my first book by Dale Cramer and it won't be my last! It is set in the 1920's, the characters are vividly written, he really shows how the Amish were treated and what they went through during that time period. I highly recommend this book, and even though the year has just begun it will be on my top list for the year!
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very informative book based on the experiences of the author's family members in the 1920s. I love Amish fiction and when linked with actual historical events, it makes it even better. I can't wait to read the next books in the series. Two thumbs up!
Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I am under no obligation to write a positive review, just an honest one.

This was my first time reading a book by Dale Cramer, and I was not disappointed!

Paradise Valley is the first book in the new series, The Daughters of Caleb Bender by Dale Cramer.

Paradise Valley is very unique as far as Amish fiction I have read goes. Not only is it period fiction (set in the early 190
Robyn Spencer
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I like these books because they are kind of typical Amish fiction fluff but mixed with some interesting plots. Not the best best writing ever but not the worst and far better than most Amish fiction. I enjoy that they are (very) loosely based on real history. It’s fun to imagine what it must have been like for Amish to settle in Mexico. I love anything that has anything to do with Mexican culture and language.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

What a beautiful story based on a few known facts has been woven together for us to read. Faith takes many people wherever God leads them.
Debbie Phillips
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christians - teens to adults
This book was so good I read it all in one day. I also ordered the rest of the series from the library. This first book was free on Kindle. I enjoyed it immensely.

In this book the fathers of some Amish children are taken to jail because the parents will not put them in public school. This I understand. We homeschool. I am very grateful to have this privilege. Many homeschoolers and maybe even the Amish, suffered so that I could homeschool my children. I am grateful to those who went before us a
Nora St Laurent
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have loved Levi’s Will, a gripping novel written in a Amish males point of view, so when I heard Dale Cramer was doing a prequel to it, I jumped at the chance to receive a review copy. Dale used real events as a backdrop for his new story that caught my interest and made me realize how much America has changed over the years in our education department. In 1921, five Amish fathers were arrested for neglect of their children. The Bing Act of 1920 stated all children in Holmes County, Ohio need ...more
This book is set in the early 1920’s in Ohio. The government is mandating all children go to school 5 days week even the Amish and they go as far as to put Amish in jail and take the kids. This book follows the Bender family. In this book we follow Rachel who is 15 at the time and must go to school. We also follow the father of the family Caleb as he must decide what is best for his family. He ends up seeing a advertisement for cheap land in Mexico which means freedom from the government. Hearin ...more
Rosemary Cantrell
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is about a group of Amish from Ohio who travel to Mexico to set up a new settlement in order to avoid the new (1920) law that all children have to attend public school. I did not realize that there actually was such a settlement of about 100 people for a period of time. However, though the historical background is true, the story and characters are all fiction.

It is pretty much a normal Amish story in that regards - the young women hoping to find the right young man to marry, etc. The
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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

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)

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