I was extremely excited to read this novel from Dale Cramer. Though Mountains Fall is the third book in the "Daughters of Caleb Bender Trilogy" and is inspired by actual events.
In Though Mountains Fall, we continue to learn of Amish settlement in Mexico led primarily by Caleb Bender and his family. Among Caleb's family, he's brought with him his sons and daughters. Caleb had sought a new life for himself, his family in Mexico - in hopes of honoring God and his Amish faith without government interference. But the autonomy has come at a very high cost.
When this third installment begins, we find the Bender family at a crossroads. Caleb's son, Aaron, has been murdered by bandits; his daughter Rachel kidnapped by these same bandits; while another daughter, Miriam has risked her entire way of life to save a Mexican farmworker, Domingo, that has captured her heart. Despite the fertile land, the government's hands-off policy, has given bandits the opportunity to ravage and take advantage of many of the Amish families, Caleb's included.
I must begin by honestly sharing my love for Amish fiction and this book was no exception. I was a bit concerned initially, since the author was male, but I could not help but thoroughly enjoy this novel. He has skillfully drawn the reader into the inner thought life of each of the characters. As he developed each one, we witness first hand their struggles to reconcile what they know to be true about their faith and their God. This is a struggle that Caleb and his daughters face as they deal with the life they must live while in Mexico.
When Miriam goes through with her marriage to Domingo; her family must decide how they are going to respond. I loved Miriam's sister, Emma's, response recognizing the importance and significance of the Ordung in their lives, but that it's not greater than God, His love, and forgiveness. This was what I enjoyed most of all about the series. Each character makes choices and must reconcile those choices with their family and most of all before God.
The Bender family and the other Amish families come face to face with very real and difficult situations. Without providing unnecessary details, the author, is able to paint a realistic picture of life for the Amish settlement in Mexico and even, what brought them back to the United States in the end. I felt like I knew each character and could hear their voices throughout the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it!
In Though Mountains Fall, Dale Cramer has crafted a heartrending, intriguing story that takes the reader to the beautiful Amish valley of northeast Mexico -- lush and verdant, a veritable paradise -- but under the guise of peace and safety lie fear of bandits, evil soldiers, and dangerous hurricanes.
Caleb Bender is proud of Paradise Valley, as he and his family had been the first to move to Mexico and create an Amish colony there. Life has not been without its trials, though, as Caleb has lost two of his sons to death. When his daughter, Miriam, falls in love with a handsome, Mexican native and is put under the ban, Caleb feels as though he has lost yet another child. When evil soldiers come in to help defend the villagers and the Amish against bandits, his family and friends' lives are put in extreme danger. Caleb begins to question whether it was God's will for him to move to Mexico at all and begins to feel like a failure. Can he forgive himself, his daughter, Miriam, and find his faith in God again? Will the Benders be able stay in Paradise Valley in spite of the violence and bloodshed?
Dale Cramer combines history and the Amish in this three part trilogy (The Daughters of Caleb Bender), and does a spectacular job! I would highly recommend the whole series, but this one can easily be read as a stand alone. With plenty of adventure and romance, this deeply moving, exciting series conclusion is one not to be missed! I'm impressed with the realistic characters, storyline, and the author's impeccable research! I had a very difficult time putting this down and I highly recommend it!
The Love they have for their home and land is stronger than their fear. But the Love Miriam has for Domingo is a love story that rivals any Biblical story about love that I have read. She gave her life to him and would have died for him. The story was a spiritual lesson in listening to God and allowing Him to lead rather than our hearts. They went through many hard trials before finally making up their minds to do what the Lord would have them to do. Very hard to put the book down!
I would love more stories about this group of people! It all ended too soon!
Caleb Bender is determined that God has led their small Amish community to Paradise Valley Mexico but it seems that everywhere they turn they are faced with more loss and heartache.
When bandits begin to threaten their community they plead with the haciendado to send for soldiers to protect their families. However they soon learn that a uniform does not change the hearts of evil men.
Facing persecution, the death of two sons, and the shunning of his daughter Miriam, Caleb believes that he has failed not only his family but God as well.
This book honestly surprised me. I wasn't expecting such an emotional ending after a rather slow start.
I learned so much from Caleb's daughter Emma! Lessons of forgiveness, doing whats right even when most people think your wrong, and love that reaches beyond the laws and traditions of men.
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
A must read, please read 1 & 2 in the series first
March 25, 2013
St Cloud, FL
There is much turmoil as time progresses for the Bender family and other Amish families that are living in Mexico. The bandits have chosen a time to attack the Amish and just as the last of them are entering the safety of Hacienda El Prado the federales finally show up to protect them also. Once the bandits are captured and/or killed everyone returns home. A Bishop finally arrives so people can be baptized and married, things are looking up.
After some time they find that the federales are just as bad, if not worse, than having bandits in the area. Now there is nothing they can do but give up their horses, food, hay, etc for little or no money or it will be taken from them anyway. Men get drunk, women are raped and men are beat up, all of this is after the fedearales arrive, things aren't going as well as they should be with the Bishop among them and officers of the law to protect them.
What will they do? They have lost family members in this land and if they return to America they'll never be able to visit their graves again. No one is buying land in Mexico, so the will all return broke if they decide to go. If you had to choose to leave loved ones behind and a beautiful land that has produced well for you or stay and feel like you were getting robbed by the government what would you do?
I felt that this book held my attention even more than the first two in the series and since I read before going to sleep, I found myself dreaming about things that were happening in this chapter of the Bender family's life. I definitely recommend this series, it's not your run of the mill Amish storyline.
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 255