The second year in Mexico isn't going so good for the Bender family or the other Amish that have moved to Paradise Valley. El Pantera and his bandits are more of a threat since Pancho Villa is no longer alive. Even with the newest Amish arriving there is still no Bishop, no leader for them to make necessary decisions.
Miriam is getting older and finds herself falling in love with Domingo, which gives her no future since he is Mexican not Amish. Because of her age she agrees to marry Micah Shrock. When diptheria hits their community, Aaron Bender takes his sisters to the nearest doctor seeking treatment. Another doctor is sent for to treat the community to save as many lives as possible. On their way home they are attacked by El Pantera and his bandits. Two of them get away, one is kidnapped and one is killed.
This is a pretty fast paced storyline for an Amish story and keeps you on the edge of your seat. If you find your family and friends dying from disease and being kidnapped and killed do you think you would stay or return to your home country? You'll have to read the book to see what the Benders and other Amish decide to do. Myself, I don't think I would want to stay there.
I found this book better than the first and am looking forward to the third one, which I'm already over half done with. So don't cheat and wait for my review to see what they decide to do, read these first two books before you read that last review, PLEASE!
Almost two years ago I read Paradise Valley, the first book in Dale Cramer's The Daughters of Caleb Bender series. In the past couple of weeks I've had the pleasure of completing that journey with books 2 and 3, The Captive Heart and Though Mountains Fall.
These books form a fictional series, based on actual events, of a handful of Amish families who in the 1920s fled from Ohio to the mountains of Mexico after being punished for refusing to send their children to public schools. The first book set the stage for the move and told about the Bender family's first year of living in a strange land. Books 2 and 3 continue their story over the next few years. Dale Cramer is the great-grandson of one of the leaders of a group of Amish who made a similar trek from Ohio to Mexico.
These stories are not your typical Amish fiction. They are not light, easy reads, as some Amish novels are. They do not show all the loose ends tied up with everyone living "happily ever after."
Cramer tells of a group of American Amish people, strong in their faith, who make very difficult choices in extremely trying situations. Their beliefs, livelihoods, and lives are tested in a strange, new world, where many of the rules they have known before simply do not apply. With no church leaders present for most of those years, they find themselves faced with making decisions on their own and are sometimes forced to make choices between traditional beliefs and survival. Love, loss, forgiveness, and family are put to the test over and over in the hearts of individual characters, as well as the whole community. There are many joys and high points along the way in the midst of the gritty struggles these families endure.
I would highly recommend this entire series to fellow Amish fiction fans, as well as to anyone interested in reading about different cultures in various historical settings. (This is definitely a series to be read in order.) Five stars to Dale Cramer's The Daughters of Caleb Bender.
"The Captive Heart" is book #2 in 'The Daughters of Caleb Bender' series. The first book was "Paradise Valley". Dale Cramer is a great writer in my opinion. This book series drew me in from the beginning. It is based from a true story, which draws my curiosity automatically. The story is very detailed, from the bandits and wars to the love stories that seem to blossom all around. The hardships and sacrifices in this story are amazing. I cannot begin to think of myself in many of the situations that these Amish families face in "The Captive Heart". I would recommend this series and this author to anyone, but especially those who love Amish fiction. These books are even suited to a teen and in my opinion would be enjoyable to them as well.
Bestselling author of Paradise Valley, Dale Cramer, has done it again! I have had the priviledge of reading and reviewing another one of his enjoyable works! If you haven't read Paradise Valley, I encourage you to do so before reading Cramer's The Captive Heart, because this 2nd book picks up right where Book 1 leaves off.
Ravaged by disease, preyed upon by ruthless bandits, the Bender family's second year in Mexico has taken a grievous turn. Faced with impossible choices, the expatriate Amish discover, more than ever before, what it means to live by faith and not by sight.
But it's Miriam who must make the hardest choice as her heart takes her on a new and dangerous course. Domingo. "He is gentle," his sister said, "untili someone he loves is threatened." Is Miriam that someone?
"Cualnezqui," he often calls her - The Nahuatl word for Beautiful one. The chiseled native has proven himself a man of principle, grace, and power. Yet is he the pearl of great price for whom Miriam would sacrifice everything, or is he merely a friend? Tormented by conflicting emotions, she's haunted by vivid dreams: Dressed in the coarse cotton pants and shirt of a peasant, she stands on the precipice of a sun-washed ridge searching desperately for Domingo. Domingo the fierce. Domingo the protector.
Domingo the forbidden.
This book definitely kept me reading, even more so than Book 1 in the Daughters of Caleb Bender series. Many suspenseful events occur that keep the story moving and the reader intrigued - illness, a kidnapping, and a rescue in the shadow of a loss of loved ones. Even though the main story line focuses on the events that involve Miriam and Domingo, Cramer does not forget the perils also faced by Caleb and the rest of the growing Amish community. This book is another good example of how Faith, Love and Forgiveness can change the lives of others. There is also the question of whether or not it would be wise to give up the Amish way to follow another way.
If you read this book, let me know how you like it. I know I am now anxiously waiting to read Book 3!!
Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 2551
The Captive Heart by Dale Cramer is the 2nd installment of his series "The Daughter of Caleb Bender." This story continues in Mexico close to the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, in an area knows as Paradise Valley. There Caleb Bender an Amish man brought his large family to establish a new colony where they would not face religious hardships or so he thought, they did face trials and setbacks.
His family consisted of his wife Martha; his daughter Ada; his daughter Mary and husband Ezra with their 4 children; his daughter Lizzie and husband Andy and 4 children; a son Aaron; Amos was Aaron's twin but he is deceased; a daughter Emma and husband Levi and child; a daughter Miriam; a son Harvey; and three daughters, Rachel, Leah and Barbara.
The Amish people had to be very careful watching for Mexican bandits, El Pantera who was well known and his renegade was the worse. Domingo, a hired hand of Caleb's who was very attracted to Miriam knew how to handle the bandits. El Pantera was one of Pancho Villa's men and the Amish were safe as long as Pancho was alive, even though they had been threatened my him and his mob.
Unfortunately Pancho Villa was murdered and utter chaos set in. While Aaron, Ada, Little Amos, Rachel and Jake were headed back to Paradise Valley they crossed paths with El Pantera and his outlaws.
You will want to read the book to find out what happens to the Bender family. Will they ever escape El Pantera's grasp? Will Meriam and Domingo ever work out their differences? Will life in Paradise Valley ever be peaceful? Grab a copy of this book to read you will not be disappointed.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It totally kept my interest and I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next.
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.