I was fortunate enough to receive Paradise Valley by Dale Cramer from Bethany House Publishers as part of their blog reviewer's program. Paradise Valley joins the ever popular Amish Fiction genre in the Christian publishing world. I am a huge fan of this type of novel and really hoped this piece lived up to the stories of books past.
I am so pleased to say that it not only lived up to, but exceeded my expectations of an Amish Fiction novel. I was hooked to the storyline, feeling immediately connected to the characters, and intrigued at the twist in the plot line. While most Amish fiction novels feature strong characters and their inner (and sometimes outer) struggle with the world vs. the old ways of their faith and culture, this book removes an entire Amish family from its comfort zone and transplants them in the harsh, rural wonderlands of Mexico. I was enthralled at the way Amish life and faith was adapted and changed to fit the needs of the new world, but yet how consistent the family's values remained. Interactions with others beyond "Englishers" was refreshing. I really enjoyed the change of scenery and pace that Cramer's book provided while maintaining the integretiy of the Amish fiction storyline. I feel a good book always leaves you wanting more, as if you want to hear the full story of where the characters go. While the ending wasn't a full cliffhanger, I am desperate to find out what happens to my beloved characters and how they manage their new lives.
Thank you Bethany House for allowing me to review this novel and a huge 'well done' to Dale Cramer for a an excellent and exciting read.