Image of Paradise Valley (The Daughters of Caleb Bender)


Image of Paradise Valley (The Daughters of Caleb Bender)

This is the first book in the Daughters of Caleb Bender trilogy. It is based on historical material — five Amish fathers arrested in Ohio for violating the Bing Act of 1921, which requires children ages 6 to 18 to attend school. While it drags at times, the twist of leaving the Amish community for Mexico sets it apart from other Amish-themed novels.

After being arrested, Caleb Bender reluctantly agrees to allow his daughters to attend public school. Caleb prays for God’s guidance as he believes the government should not be able to dictate how he raises his children. Upon seeing an advertisement for land, he decides to move his family to Mexico. His daughter, Rachel, does not want to leave Jake Weaver, the young man she hopes to wed one day. Her sister, Emma, fears the move will impact her upcoming marriage as well. The challenges they encounter in Mexico, including bandits, are more than they anticipated. Will they be able to establish an Amish settlement in Paradise Valley? (BETHANY HOUSE, Jan., 400 pp., $14.99)
Reviewed by: 
Leslie L. McKee