Customer Reviews for

Paradise Valley (The Daughters of Caleb Bender Book #1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 313 )
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5 Star

(194)

4 Star

(87)

3 Star

(20)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

K

I am not Amish but this was a very heart felt story and it keeps your eyes plastered on the screen til' the book is over. I wish the other books were free. Ages 15+.

posted by 10545332 on February 10, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Boring!

Generally speaking, I stay away from Amish fiction, on the premise that authors like to build this community up as some-kind of misunderstood utopian, Christian society. Yet, I grew up with the Amish and Mennonites and they're flawed human beings like the rest of us--ev...
Generally speaking, I stay away from Amish fiction, on the premise that authors like to build this community up as some-kind of misunderstood utopian, Christian society. Yet, I grew up with the Amish and Mennonites and they're flawed human beings like the rest of us--even if you like their lifestyle. They deal with the harsh realities of sin and death, such as drug and alcohol abuse, premarital sex (which Cramer touches on in this book), child and spousal abuse, etc. Anyhow, I have enjoyed Dale Cramer's other fiction so I'd thought that I give his Amish fiction a try. Yikes, I couldn't get past the 12th chapter! It was boring--too innocent. I wondered as I read through the pages if Cramer struggled thinking like his 15-year old female protagonist b/c his female characters sounded too perfect and two-dimensional. This might be a great book for outsiders who think the Amish are perfect--but for a regular gal like me, it was nothing short of boring. And, even though, Cramer touched on parental rights and government encroachment--which are very real issues for Anabaptists' sects--he simplified it too much where the characters tamped down their anger and quickly picked up roots to move to Mexico. I know that this was based on facts and maybe that's my Englishness getting in the way of their culture, but I find hardly settling to read that Caleb Bender's one pregnant daughter rushed into marriage out of season without raising eyebrows and that the 15-year old was just too saccharin sweet to be believable.

posted by Wendyreads on June 10, 2011

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Page 1 of 16
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    K

    I am not Amish but this was a very heart felt story and it keeps your eyes plastered on the screen til' the book is over. I wish the other books were free. Ages 15+.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Very interesting reading. will hold your interest to the final chapter

    I was raised in Amish community. This story although fiction, was interesting and very well told

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    Really liked this story.

    I am new to this author, and really enjoyed this book. I have read book 2, and can't wait for book 3 to find out what happens next.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    wonderful story

    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 leading him.
    Moving his entire family to Mexico, Caleb is taking a huge step. The unknown is scary, and after arriving in Mexico and realizing that there was real danger from bandits, Caleb is unsure if the other Amish families will come to Mexico.
    This book was again unlike any Amish book I have read, I am loving how the authors are reaching beyond the traditional Amish story and making the new Amish series more exciting and interesting! Great book with a theme of grace and mercy, you will not want to miss this story. Even more I love that this story is factual, based on the author's grandfather's life. 359 pages US $14.99 4 stars

    This book was provided by Bethany House for review purposes, no payment was received for this review.

    11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Real World Amish

    My husband was strongly influenced by the Anabaptists in his teen years. My father was raised Quaker. Nevertheless, I have avoided the popular Amish trend in Christian fiction as a nostalgic desire to return to a simpler time and avoid dealing with modern reality. Dale Cramer's Paradise Valley is not that.

    A 1921 Ohio law required Amish families to send their children to public schools where they must cut their hair and dress in "Englisher" clothing--a plan which would effectively wipe out the Amish community in a generation. The arguments in this part of the book sounded disturbingly like modern discussions of home schooling vs. `godless humanistic classrooms'. Caleb Bender's response to government pressure was to lead a group moving their families to Paradise Valley in Mexico. Dale Cramer's great grandfather was the patriarch of a similar community, and although few records survive of that experiment, he obviously identifies strongly with their faith, ideals and struggles.

    Yet Cramer wrestles with real issues in a post-9/11 world. Can violence be realistically resisted with non-violence? Post-revolution Mexico is rife with decommissioned soldiers turned bandits. The old world where Spanish blood ruled, and Mexico's original inhabitants were despised has been turned on its head. The Amish win friends by treating all their neighbors with respect and integrity, but their non-violence makes them vulnerable. And can they sustain it when those they love are threatened?

    The story is not primarily romance although there are romantic plots lines--several, in fact, since Caleb Bender has several daughters. Some are satisfied in this first installment of The Daughters of Caleb Bender series; some are left in question. But your heart will be drawn to each of these strong young women.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    Fascinating story

    I've always been fascinated with the Amish. This was based on factual happenings back in the '30's when some Amish had to relocate to Mexico in order to practice their religious beliefs. I love to read historical novels.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 31, 2012

    loved it.

    It was a really new - unexpected twist- to the normal Amish stories. Couldn't put it down, and the next one was great too!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    Great

    There are not enough stars to give this book its proper rating.I cant wait wait to read more

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    Super read

    I have read this before, a few years back.... but I loved it then...and still do after reading it again.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    BEST BOOK

    Very good book. Great story line

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2012

    Recommend

    Good story, relaxing read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    A Great Read!

    I enjoyed learning about the trials of the Amish. I don't like history, but I love historical novels. I also appreciate the Christian perspective. I am looking forward to reading the second book in this series.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    Best book ever!!!!!!!

    I finished the whole book in two hours. I know Im not perfect,but i like how they didnt let their kids participate in premarital sex. I am not very crazy about Amish books,but if you love books and the book isnt disgusting,seriously,WHO CARES??????? I seriously doubt that if you love books,you will say that any book is horrible enough that you cant read the whole book. I personally think this is the best Amish book I have ever read. I mean seriously if you were to do everything except read all day,sure,you could have fun,but wouldnt you feel that there was something missing from your day? That would be when I would need to sit down and read. This was the best Amish book Ive ever read.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2012

    Ended too soon!

    This book was very interesting to read and gave me insight into the Amish way of life. I would read more by this author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    A Super Read!

    Thoroughly enjoyed the story and the writing style. Will read the next book in this series. Enjoyed the detail in their every-day life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Well worth the read...

    This book was very different than most books that I read, and I enjoyed it very much. Though it is a work of fiction, it is based on real events. It is a bit predictable. I will be reading more by this author. The story was a welcome vacation from my usual choice of reading material.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Great read

    Didn't think I would enjoy an Amish story, but the characters grabbed hold of my heartstrings. Found myself rooting for them and for true love.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 14, 2012

    Loved this book.Look forward to reading another in the series.

    Ordered a copy to send to a missionary friend in the area discussed in the book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Boring!

    Generally speaking, I stay away from Amish fiction, on the premise that authors like to build this community up as some-kind of misunderstood utopian, Christian society. Yet, I grew up with the Amish and Mennonites and they're flawed human beings like the rest of us--even if you like their lifestyle. They deal with the harsh realities of sin and death, such as drug and alcohol abuse, premarital sex (which Cramer touches on in this book), child and spousal abuse, etc. Anyhow, I have enjoyed Dale Cramer's other fiction so I'd thought that I give his Amish fiction a try. Yikes, I couldn't get past the 12th chapter! It was boring--too innocent. I wondered as I read through the pages if Cramer struggled thinking like his 15-year old female protagonist b/c his female characters sounded too perfect and two-dimensional. This might be a great book for outsiders who think the Amish are perfect--but for a regular gal like me, it was nothing short of boring. And, even though, Cramer touched on parental rights and government encroachment--which are very real issues for Anabaptists' sects--he simplified it too much where the characters tamped down their anger and quickly picked up roots to move to Mexico. I know that this was based on facts and maybe that's my Englishness getting in the way of their culture, but I find hardly settling to read that Caleb Bender's one pregnant daughter rushed into marriage out of season without raising eyebrows and that the 15-year old was just too saccharin sweet to be believable.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 26, 2014

    Great story!

    I really enjoyed this book! Especially that it was based on historical facts and that those facts were correctly identified. I'll definitely read this authors works again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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