Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: Paradise Valley

I went through a Beverly Lewis phase, reading tons of books about the Amish. Why are they so fascinating? Perhaps because I visited an Amish community in Pennsylvania as a child, bringing home a faceless doll as a souvenir I wanted to learn more about them; however, that phase passed years ago and I sold all my Beverly Lewis books. Dale Cramer writes a similar story--historical fiction about the Amish--but in a very different and intriguing fashion. Paradise Valley traces a family's journey to a new country as a result of laws regulating their children's schooling.

Just as some politicians would like to severely limit a parent's right to homeschool their child, legislatures have a times throughout American history regulated how the Amish educate their families. When a law passed that required children to stay in school until at least 16, and father's who refused to comply were jailed, a small group of Amish families chose to make a long and uncertain journey to Mexico where education laws were scarce, if in existence at all. This is the story of Paradise Valley.

Cramer's writing style is enjoyable, and the subject matter was a welcome variation from other books in the same genre, but this book will not be put on my shelf of books to read again. It was a simple story, something to read without much effort or thought, though the characters were interesting and their integrity was consistent and sacrificial.

*Legal Stuff: I received this book for free in return for publishing a review. All opinions are my own without further compensation.

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