Bandit troubles intensify as Caleb Bender’s family tries to settle into their new life in 1920s Paradise Valley.
When El Pantera kidnaps Rachel and leaves her brother, Aaron, for dead, Jake Weaver and the Mexican native Domingo pursue the bandit leader to his mountain stronghold in a hopeless rescue attempt. Jake and Domingo manage to escape with Rachel, with the bandits hot on their trail. In a desperate attempt to avoid recapture, Domingo puts himself squarely in harm’s way, giving Jake and Rachel time to get away. This is not the quiet life Caleb Bender envisioned when he led his family out of Ohio.
What is a father to make of his daughter’s obvious affection for a man outside the fold? And how will a pacifist Amishman like Caleb respond to the events that threaten his family and their way of life?
Dale Cramer’s literary craftsmanship is both beautiful and engaging, taking my breath away in the continuation of Caleb Bender’s story, The Captive Heart. Drawing from the personal history of his own family, Dale uses skilful prose to write a masterpiece of forbidden love, family ties, tragedy and, ultimately, hope. Depicting the forbidding Mexican frontier in all its danger and beauty, Dale offers readers insight into the constraints placed on a people deeply committed to pacifism surrounded by men bent on evil and selfish ambition. Caleb’s integrity, Miriam’s heart and Domingo’s honour will make you weep and fill you with joy as they seek to love and protect their families and community the only way they know how. Jacob and Rachel’s relationship grows but is challenged by a secret Rachel can’t disclose as El Pantera seeks retribution. Suspense, action, danger and romance abound with an ending that will satisfy yet leave you desperate for more. For those like myself who are not usually into Amish tales, don’t let the bonnet put you off ~ Dale’s storytelling is of the highest calibre and should not be missed!
With thanks to Bethany House for my review copy