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Levi's Will

Levi's Will

4.2 22
by W. Dale Cramer

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Will flees his Old Order community at the age of 19, leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend and all things Amish. He begins a new life, joining the army and later marrying and having two sons of his own. But his life and his new family are tainted by the hidden sins of his past. Hoping to patch things up with his father, Will takes his new family to meet the old one.


Will flees his Old Order community at the age of 19, leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend and all things Amish. He begins a new life, joining the army and later marrying and having two sons of his own. But his life and his new family are tainted by the hidden sins of his past. Hoping to patch things up with his father, Will takes his new family to meet the old one. Levi's Will is the haunting story of a fallen man seeking to build a bridge across three generations.

"A beautiful and original story. This is an accomplished work."--Booklist (starred review)

"With beautiful prose and captivating characters, Cramer has crafted an unforgettable tale."--Beverly Lewis, New York Times bestselling author

Editorial Reviews

*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.
Romantic Times
"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."
Aug. 2005
Romance Junkies
"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."

Armchair Interviews
"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."
Agape Press
"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."

Product Details

Baker Publishing Group
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What People are Saying About This

Jackie Cooper
"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."

Meet the Author

W. Dale Cramer is the bestselling author of the Christy Award winners Levi's Will and Bad Ground, as well as the critically acclaimed novels Summer of Light and Sutter's Cross. Dale lives in McDonough, Georgia, with his family
Dale Cramer is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed novel Levi's Will, based on the story of Dale's father, a runaway Amishman. Dale's latest series, THE DAUGHTERS OF CALEB BENDER, is based on an Amish colony in the mountains of Mexico where three generations of his family lived in the 1920s. He currently lives in Georgia with his wife of 36 years, two sons and a Bernese Mountain Dog named Rupert. Visit him on his website at www.dalecramer.com

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Levi's Will 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are some books that must be savored; the kind of books that make it hard to pick up another book because you know everything else will be lacking in flavor. Levi's Will is such a book. Strong characters, beautiful prose, and an understanding of the relationships between fathers and sons that is seldom so well spelled out. I'm looking forward to Dale Cramer's next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so real and touching. Just the way it happens in real life. The messages are clear. God has a hand in this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
W. Dale Cramer is truly a talented writer. What a treat to actually read a well written story. I had forgotten the 'joy' of reading until I picked up this treasure. He took a simple story and turned it into a captivating story that was not at all simple. Wow!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Levi's Will is a masterfully crafted story that captures you from the very beginning. Not only does it pull back a curtain to artfully portray the Amish way of life, it gets to the heart of broken relationships in a way that transcends culture or religion. Cramer has created believable characters and shown us their hearts, making us care very much about the outcome. And through it all he teaches a valuable lesson about love and forgiveness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Next to the Bible, only one other book I¿ve read has moved me like Levi¿s Will. I really had no expectations about the book when I bought it, aside from the rave reviews from others. I knew it had something to do with the Amish, but my knowledge of the Amish is limited to the cake-like bread we buy from them in the fall when we go to see the covered bridges in Parke County. W. Dale Cramer¿s book changed all that. He¿s sneaky with his descriptive story-telling, never letting me know he¿s being descriptive or telling me a story. Switching from past to present tense, Cramer keeps me just ahead of his words, though not in the sense that I could in any way predict what¿s about to happen. It¿s more like he¿s pushing me along as I grab at pieces here and there, until in the end I put them together to get the whole picture. This is an important story, and one that will leave you re-examining your own values. If you can only buy one book this year, let this be the one.
KCPryzr More than 1 year ago
Levi's Will, by W. Dale Cramer, is a novel about an Amish young man and his journey through life banned from everything he knows. It delves into the psychology of how our upbringing can shape our lives, and the lives of those around us, whether we know it or not. We first meet Will at what we find out later is his father's funeral. The book jumps back and forth between the present day setting of the novel and the years leading up to that time. The author cleverly weaves his story teasing the reader with little bits and pieces that, in time, will add up to the whole, and give the reader the understanding of what events shaped his life. This was a remarkably told tale that did not let me get ahead of myself as, I confess, I am prone to do. I am always trying to "figure out" the ending, but this lead me in several different directions that kept me off balance for the majority of the book. While it is not meant to be a whodunit book in anyway, I enjoyed trying to figure out the little bits and pieces that made Will who he was and explained the reasoning behind the choices he made. My heart ached for him as time after time he tried to reconcile with his Amish family, but every time was turned away by the patriarch. All in all, Levi's Will was a well-crafted book that kept my imagination held the entire time. Then to read the acknowledgments at the end and know that this was, in part, his father's story, was heart-warming as well. This book is a definite must-read for anyone, especially those who love Beverly Lewis' amish books. This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishers.
JenM7 More than 1 year ago
Mr. Cramer has impressed me again. Our family first read his Summer of Light, and I say our family because after repeated laughing out loud I started reading it to my husband. My Grandma, with whom I always share books I enjoy, later told me she read it out loud to my Powpow. Then my Mom- read it to my Dad, without any of us sharing that until we were done. This was an interesting picture of Amish shunning. Completely different from his other book I read, but again interesting and at times side splitting funny. In the afterword the author shared how it was loosely based on truths from his own family history. This is a story of generations, men who repeat the same mistakes they experienced through their own fathers. The relationships shared in these pages are realistic, and easy to relate to. This is a story of forgiveness with eye-opening truths.
LovenGod More than 1 year ago
Reprinted with a new cover, and a wonderful afterword W. Dale Cramer's book Levi's Will will reach out and grab your heart strings. Will Mullet, aka Will McGruder, was born Amish, and brought up Amish. However he chaffed at some of the Amish ways, especially the ones he felt were designed to trap Amish children into never leaving home. Having sinned against the church and his family, Will runs away. He spends the rest of his life looking for forgiveness and for his father's approval. Will he ever find either? A story of redemption, a story of the curse of the father, and a story of deep love and commitment Mr. Cramer has brought us a beautiful story. A story with roots from the true story of his father's own life. Messed up kids, anger issues, drugs, and war. All things not common to Amish families, however the root of these issues are connected to the roots of Will's Amish upbringing. Follow Will Mullet McGruder as he learns that true forgiveness comes only from God. Most definitely a read over and over book, and a book to share with friends and family. 398 pages $13.99 US 4 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a story about the Amish that's not about the Amish. It follows two timelines, which are easy to keep track of as soon as you figure that out. The characters are well developed, dynamic, and believable. The conclusion is predictable, but fitting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the typical Amish romance, but more a story about how difficult it is to leave the Amish and then try and resume relations with those who have shunned them.
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MissMalu More than 1 year ago
Levi's Will is a story about a man who seeks redemption throughout his whole life, a redemption and love that can only be found through one Person. As a young man, Will left his life behind to start a new life, a dramatic change from the Amish world to our world. The story started out in a very exciting way with Will and his brother running away. Will was leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend, and he knew if he ran, that his lie would not longer exist for him in his Amish community; he would be excommunicated from the church. As he ran, both on foot and by train, he knew that he would have to start a completely new life. A new name, a new history lay before him....the old was gone. As Will gained different jobs working on various farms, he soon came to realize that young men were expected to do more, especially right now with World War II blazing overseas. Most young men were joining the Army, something Will struggled with, as he had been raised a Pacifist. Many things in Will's life had changed, though, and this was just one more thing he must do.... Follow Will's story as he not only becomes a soldier, but he meets and falls in love with Helen, a southern girl, later on marrying her. As the story continues, it switches from Will's life now to his life then and goes back and forth, intertwining the two to show his regrets, his hopes, and his heart. Having a son of his own that he struggles with and is trying to forge a right relationship with, Will still seeks the forgiveness and love of his earthly father, but it's only when he finds the love of his Heavenly Father, that he can truly forgive and love himself, in spite of all he has done in his life. You can purchase Levi's Will from Bethany House for $11.19. (Disclosure: I was provided this book, free of charge, by Bethany House, for the purposes of this review.)
cranberrycottage More than 1 year ago
Levi's Will was an excellent read. Spanning 40 years, the book tells the story of Will, an Amish boy, who leaves behind his Amish life (including his pregnant Amish girlfriend). Keeping his past a secret, he enters WWII as a soldier, marries, and begins a new life. Levi believes that he can move forward; however, he begins to discover that he desperately desires his father's love and forgiveness. Will patiently seeks his father's forgiveness over a span of 30 years. During that time Will is learning much about fatherhood as he raises two boys of his own. The author, W. Dale Cramer sums up much of the book in one simple sentence 2/3 of the way into the book. ".every man's failure dips its roots into the previous generation and drops its seeds into the next." Levi's Will is the story of one man's realization of how that truth is working out in his own life. The story line switches back and forth between different time periods and at first seemed like it would be confusing. I must admit that after ending each section in one time period, I was anxious to get back to another time period to see how Will was faring there. Will is not a perfect character; he made poor choices many times. The author shows that God doesn't always work in the way we think He should and that there are consequences along with our choices. I will be looking for other books penned by W. Dale Cramer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago