My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had never read anything by this author but I do love historical fiction and Amish fiction so I thought I would give this book a try. Though I had not read the first two books; I was not at all lost and was able to follow along perfectly as a standalone novel. This book was well written but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It has nothing to do with the author or the writing and more to do with the fact that I just didn’t find the setting to be all that interesting. Perhaps I should have realized it would have a western feel to it since it is set in Mexico but I guess I just wasn’t able to fall in love with the area in the book. I would definitely read other books by this author though so please don’t take my lackluster rating as a damper on any decisions to read books by this author.
Caleb Bender has taken his family to Mexico so that they have the freedom to school their children and further separate themselves from the world. I believe at this time that the state was closing down the one-room Amish schoolhouses or that they were not allowed to privately school their children. Someone can correct me if I am wrong on this but around that time there was a settlement that formed in Mexico but it later failed due to the conditions of their government at the time.
In this story we certainly see the tumultuous times that were plaguing Mexico. There was confusion over the church and the ability to coexist with the newly elected president and this was evident in this story. The Amish are a peaceful people and the Benders wished only to be left alone by the bandits and also the law men who were often as corrupt as the bandits.
Things were not easy for the Benders and circumstances seem to force Caleb to return to Ohio with his friends and family. The Lord has a lesson to teach though and Caleb must listen and to learn that sometimes our failures in life also serve a purpose.
As I said earlier, I thought the story was well written, I just couldn’t fall in love with the characters. There was something missing, something soft, nothing major. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I really struggled knowing how to rate this book. One part of me wanted to give it a 5 star rating for being well written but in the end I had to take my feelings into consideration as well and I just didn’t connect with these particular characters. As I said though, I will not be ruling out this author. I will be picking up more of his works in the future. This one just wasn’t a good fit for me.
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Dale Cramer is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed novel Levi’s Will, based on the story of Dale’s father, a runaway Amishman. Dale’s series, The Daughters of Caleb Bender, is based on the Amish colony in the mountains of Mexico, where three generations of his family lived in the 1920s. Dale lives in Georgia with his wife of thirty-seven years, two sons and a Bernese Mountain Dog named Rupert. For more information about the author and his books, visit his website at DaleCramer.com
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.