*Starred Review* Christian novels often mask as realistic, but the Evangelical Christian Publishing Association's code of purity, and the necessity to take the party line on doctrinal matters, is more likely to inspire propaganda than realism. Cramer vaults past such restrictions, however, with his story of a brooding young Amish man, Will Mullet, who in 1943 flees his home in Ohio. There's his pitiless father, Levi, who cannot be reasoned with, and a girlfriend, Mattie, whose pregnancy has caused Will to be banned. After knocking about on the road for a while, Will enlists, and irony of ironies for a pacifist, finds a home in the army. He's a good man but seems remote and intractable to his sons, and he's a difficult husband as well throughout his prickly but unbreakable marriage. (The confrontation between Will's wife, Helen, and a circle of judgmental Amish women is priceless.) As he grows older, Will tries to go home again but cannot; nor does his stubborn father mellow even a little. Yet in time there's forgiveness to be had, and wisdom, in this beautiful and original story that neither damns nor praises the Amish but simply presents them. This is accomplished work.
"Cramer’s deeply flawed, utterly sympathetic characters resonate. His unique voice combines a stark yet poetic terseness with a poignant tenderness that can only emanate from the very source of grace."
"Mr. Cramer shows the reader how one decision can touch many people over several generations, much like the ripples on a pond when a pebble touches its surface. LEVI'S WILL is one of those books that the reader comes away from with a contented sigh knowing all is well in the lives of the characters he has grown to care about during the reading of the novel. I look forward to enjoying more of Mr. Cramer's work in the future, and hope others will also feel the same way."
Christian Fiction Review
"...a story replete with the themes of forgiveness and generational sin passing on.... There is no high adventure here, no shocking surprise, no confounding mystery to be solved. Instead, it's the story of one man's life and the choices he makes. It's a surprisingly quiet story, even when War intrudes. Even when a resolution comes to the story's main conflict, it arrives not in a dramatic confrontation, but in a series of simple acts of forgiveness.... one of the best books of 2005."
In the Library Review
"Levi's Will, the third book by literary author W. Dale Cramer, is perhaps his best, most detailed account to date. The book is filled with eloquent prose, and yet the narrative remains fast and concise...
Cramer writes with profound simplicity, with poetic rhythm and with demonstrated insight. He takes readers into the masked dysfunctional community of the Amish and exposes the truth-that people and families and problems with the two groups are common, and similar regardless of time and/or technology. Levi's Will is an incredibly heartwarming story. I loved it and I look forward to more from this authentic literary wonder."
"W. Dale Cramer, author of Levi's Will, proves himself a master storyteller with an obvious passion for "getting it right." His prose is beautiful and his characters are drawn so realistically that you will believe you've known them forever. And when the story concludes, you'll realize you've grown to love them all, even the difficult ones, and you won't want to say good-bye."
Christian Fiction Reviewer
"It's not often you find a book that has you genuinely caring for the characters, silently screaming at the unjustness of actions, and praying that God's love will soften hearts. LEVI'S WILL is one of those rare finds."
"While Levi's Will has a crystal-clear Christian theme, it rises high above the norm for Christian fiction. More subtlety. More depth. More passion. More authenticity. The author articulates the theme of Levi's Will: "Love is the proof of God, and forgiveness is the proof of love."
Cramer's superb gift for concept and craft outdistance most contemporary writers and they combine for a powerful story. It is propelled by deep emotion and raw nerve-endings, yet packed with strength and indomitable will."
Focus on Fiction
"Levi's Will is an incredible, down to earth, real-life book. Loosely based on a true story, this book is a amazing mix of the hard realities of life and the power of a living God. There is no pretense in this book. It is straightforward and real.
I am the type of person who would rather read a fast-paced action book over the story of a person's life and struggles, but I found myself reading Levi's Will into the late hours of the night, unable to pull myself away from the compelling reality of this story.
This is a book many can relate to and find encouragement from, and I highly recommend it."
What People are saying about this
"Just as Steinbeck and Hemingway have done in the past with their stories of young men having their lives shaped by wars and emotional conflicts, Cramer does the same. He offers a study of a man torn by his desire to be his own person, and the "ties that bind" claiming him for his family.
W . Dale Cramer is a writer with a purpose. He knows his characters and how to bring their stories to life. You will leave LEVI'S WILL knowing the people who live there and keeping them with you for a long time."