ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
He took on small construction projects at night to help make ends meet— "and to preserve the remainder of my sanity," he says. While building an office in the basement of a communications consultant, a debate over labor/management relations turned into an article on mutualism which found its way into an international business magazine. It was Dale's first published article, and he liked the feel of it. He bought books, studied technique, and began participating in an online writers' forum, writing during the boys' naps and after they went to bed at night. Before long he was publishing short stories in literary magazines and thinking about writing a book.
Three storylines vied for Dale's attention when he finally decided to write a novel. His first two choices were commercially viable secular stories, and a distant third appeared to be some kind of Christian saga about a broken-down biker. The process of determining which novel to write was settled by a remarkable encounter with his youngest son, a lost set of keys, and God. His sense of direction was suddenly clarified. In 1997, Dale began work on Sutter's Cross, which was eventually published in 2003.
His second novel, Bad Ground (July 2004), while it is not autobiographical, contains a great deal of material drawn from his own experience as a construction electrician.
He and his wife and two sons make their home in northern Georgia.
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Paradise Valley, go HERE.
I’m not a fan of Amish fiction. I know it’s all the rage in Christian Fiction right now, but, enough already.
That said. I do like Dale Cramer (Bad Ground = very good read) which is the reason I agreed to read and review Paradise Valley. Fortunately, the Amish details share space with plenty of 1920 era Mexican details and these add a whole new layer to an interesting story. Plenty of drama -- bandits, forbidden love, snakes, arrests and children taken from loving parents are some of the themes within this well-written novel. I found it fascinating that this story was based on factual events and is part of Cramer’s heritage. Cramer also writes some breathtaking prose interspersed with the "Jah’s" and the prayer kapps. Amish fiction fans should find much to love, and the rest of us can find a good story within these covers, too.