December 19, 2010

Not Your Ordinary Amish Novel . . .


While I am not Amish fiction’s #1 fan, I have read a few Amish titles which I’ve liked, and most particularly, Levi’s Will by Dale Cramer. I’ve waited a long time to get my hands on a new book by Cramer, and I was not disappointed. The saga of the Daughters of Caleb Bender begins with Paradise Valley, a fascinating introduction to the Bender family in the early 1900s. Knowing that Paradise Valley is based on actual events with added details from the author’s own family history made this story especially interesting to me. This book is a heart-tugging look at the life of one Amish family, their faith and unwavering devotion to family, hard work and God. I was drawn into this story and left wanting more.

Caleb Bender is a man of faith, steadfast in his beliefs until the law forces him to make a choice that means uprooting his family and beginning again in a strange new land. Though he is undaunted by a world that challenges his beliefs, he finds himself questioning those beliefs when the lives of his loved ones are on the line and he is forced to choose between love and unwavering obedience.

Caleb’s daughters each possess strengths, hopes, and fears; all of which are realized as they face many dangers and possibilities that come with starting over in a new place far from familiar friends. Cramer weaves the sisters’ stories together in a way that tugs at your heart. In this story, we are introduced to Rachel, Miriam, Emma and others whose disrupted lives will never be the same. Rachel’s story is one of coming of age, but more importantly, of coming into her own. These are strong, well drawn characters who feel like family. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved learning about Amish culture. I can’t wait for the second story in the Daughter’s of Caleb Bender saga.
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ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF. . . .

RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME:

I've published three novels and a novella (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have twenty-something kids. Decent trade, really. The window-rattling grumble isn't quite the same, but we are still enjoying the ride.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

MY ROOTS:
I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.

Camille's Books

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Like There's No Tomorrow, Like a Love Song, and The Memoir of Johnny Devine are available in print & eBook at Amazon, B&N, Audible, Smashwords, iTunes, & Kobo.