Friday, May 27, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Paradise Valley

Life is quickly changing for the Amish in Eastern Ohio. Part of the Amish life is work on the farm; there are many chores to do from gathering eggs to milking cows, feeding all of the animals and then of course gardening. The Amish belief was what needed to be learned came from the parents and the farm along with God. However, the government in Ohio began to see things differently, thus passing the Bing Act requiring all children ages 6 – 18 to attend public school 5 days a week, with the exception of a work exemption at the age of 16.

Five Amish fathers were taken to jail because they refused to send their children to the public worldly school. After a week in jail these same men were brought before the judge and asked how they pleaded, they were then asked to sign a paper stating they would send their children to public school and they refused. The judge sentenced them to sixty days.

With the fathers away from home the rest of the family had to take up the slack. In the Bender household the girls had to work alongside their brother. Rachel was working in the field beside her brother when they saw an Amish boy running towards their house. Rachel recognized him as Jake, the boy she was secretly fond of. They decided he must have been bringing important news so Aaron being the oldest sent Rachel to see what was going on. Unfortunately, it was not good news; the sheriff was making his rounds, taking the school age children into custody and placing them in a home. Rachel and two of her sisters were taken to the home along with other Amish children, from that moment on their lives began to change.

When the Amish fathers heard of this they decided they had no choice but to send their children to the public school, it was the lesser of two evils. The children along with their fathers were allowed to return home, providing they started attending school. The school was nearly three miles from the Bender home, but if they timed it right Jake and Rachel could walk to school together. They were becoming quite fond of each other but had to keep quiet about it because they were not dating age yet.

Caleb Bender was at a loss of how to get his family passed these hardships that they had encountered. He tried his best to follow God’s leading and one day after praying about it he turned and there it was; a flyer staring him in the face with the words: MEXICO – Land for Sale – Paradise Valley – 5000 acres of prime flat fertile farmland. Caleb felt like this might be his answer so he promptly went to talk to the land broker. Everything seemed to good to be true including the fact there was no public school system, a dream come true.

Will Caleb Bender uproot his family and travel across country to Mexico? Will any of the other Amish families follow? Will Rachel’s sister Emma marry her beau Levi and travel to Mexico? How will Rachel react to leaving Jake behind? Will they ever find each other again? What perils will the Amish families face in traveling to Mexico? Will Paradise Valley live up to its name and description? Find the answers to these questions and many more in Paradise Valley!

This is a great book, a lot happening throughout the book, very fast paced but easy to follow! I recommend it to everyone.
To read an excerpt of Paradise Valley click here.

I received this book free from Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

until next time... nel

No comments:

Post a Comment