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May 12, 2015
Paradise Valley (Daughters of Caleb Bender, #1)Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved the premise of this book. It starts in 1922 when Amish fathers in Ohio were jailed for keeping their children out of the public school. Caleb Bender decides to move his family to Paradise Valley, Mexico, where schools are not regulated - if they exist at all. Their church decides that one family should go first to the new land and determine if the move is good for more. Caleb's family learns the language and are befriended by Domingo, a half-Indian/half-Mexican native who speaks several languages. The land is good where they settle, and they build their farm. But not everything is good. The land has been torn apart by warring factions. Between the bandits and the government forces, who know who to trust?

The characters are good, solid people, the kind you'd like for next door neighbors. The setting and history of the story are very well done. I'm dinging it down to three stars because it's one of those books that doesn't end, it just stops. It's obviously the first in a series, and while I enjoy series books, I like them to each have a definite beginning and ending. That's a personal preference and may not bother other readers.

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