Title: Paradise Valley
Author: Rebecca Martin
Series: Amish Frontier series, book 4
Major Themes: Amish, Mexico, Montana, School
Synopsis: When the law begins requiring his children to study topics he does not approve of in school, Ben Yoder moves his family to Mexico.
This is the type of Amish fiction I prefer to read, a book written by someone who lives in that type of culture herself and understands it thoroughly. It is not written to seem cute and quaint but to tell a real story, even though it is fictionalized.
Paradise Valley continues the story of the Yoder family. Ben, who was a young boy in the first book of the series, is now the father of teenage boys. Some of them are already out of school, but Ben is quite concerned about the modern trends that the new teacher is insisting on introducing. After some of the children are taken to an orphanage in the city, dressed in “English” clothes and the boys’ hair is cut, Ben is ready to do something different.
Mexico is certainly different! Several families make the decision to move from Montana to Mexico so they can teach their children they way they want to. The agent who sends them information calls the area “Paradise Valley”, and makes it sound very good. Of course, things aren’t quite as good as they sounded. How can the Amish families cope with people who don’t know what to do with the produce they raise to sell, and, much more difficult, with the revolutions that seem to be constantly happening? Can they continue to trust God when life is difficult?
This is a good story about a family who are willing to endure much hardship to stand up for their beliefs. I must say, I don’t agree with Ben’s stand against teaching history and geography in school, although he did have legitimate fears about the direction modern education is going. If you’re interested in Amish history and culture, this is a good story to read, and I also enjoyed their view of Mexico.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12