An Amish settlement in Ohio has run afoul of a law requiring their children to attend public school. Caleb Bender and his neighbors are arrested for neglect, with the state ordering the children be placed in an institution. Among them are Caleb’s teenage daughter, Rachel, and the boy she has her eye on, Jake Weaver. Romance blooms between the two when Rachel helps Jake escape the children’s home. Searching for a place to relocate his family where no such laws apply, Caleb learns there’s inexpensive land for sale in Mexico, a place called Paradise Valley. Despite rumors of instability in the wake of the Mexican revolution, the Amish community decides this is their answer. And since it was Caleb’s idea, he and his family will be the pioneers. They will send for the others once he’s established a foothold and assessed the situation.Caleb’s daughters are thrown into turmoil. Rachel doesn’t want to leave Jake. Her sister, Emma, who has been courting Levi Mullet, fears her dreams of marriage will be dashed. Miriam has never had a beau and is acutely aware there will be no prospects in Mexico.Once there, they meet Domingo, a young man and guide who takes a liking to Miriam, something her father would never approve. While Paradise Valley is everything they’d hoped it would be, it isn’t long before the bandits start giving them trouble, threatening to upset the fledgling Amish settlement, even putting their lives in danger. Thankfully no one has been harmed so far, anyway.
My Comments: This is the first book in a trilogy about the Amish settlement in Mexico. They moved to Mexico because the Ohio government said that they had to send their children to the public school until they graduated. This was against their beliefs. They did not want to send their kids out among the world for a couple of reasons – one being they were needed on the farm and the other being the world’s influence on their children. The Amish were looking for a place where they could continue to farm and they would have more freedom to follow their own beliefs. Caleb Bender’s family were the first to move there. They went to “scope” the place out for themselves and others. They met a few people to work for them. One was Domingo – a young Mexican who Caleb and family treated very well. I love reading about the Amish and this book is no exception. It is quite different, but the life of the Amish involved is still fascinating! Even more so because the book is based on real-life people.