Paradise Valley and The Captive Heart are the first two books in Dale Cramer’s Daughters of Caleb Bender series. This series tells the story of a handful of Amish families who left Ohio to create a new settlement in Mexico during the tumultuous period immediately following the Mexican Revolution in the early 1920’s.
The land is rich, but bandits roam the countryside. Caleb’s oldest daughter, Ada, is described as “simple;” perhaps today we would call her autistic. One daughter stays behind in Ohio with her husband and children; another daughter convinces her husband to move to Mexico. The younger sons and daughters will have fewer choices for mates unless Caleb can convince more families to move to Mexico despite the threat of bandits.
These are fascinating stories based on the real-life experiences of Dale Cramer’s grandparents and great-grandparents. Cramer brings the time period and emotions of the characters to life as they struggle with the challenges of dealing with each decision that has a major impact on their future.
If you are not a fan of Amish fiction, try Paradise Valley anyway. After reading it, you will be a Dale Cramer fan.