At last, Christian Fiction author Dale Cramer’s long-awaited conclusion to The Daughters of Caleb Bender series has been released by Bethany House*, in January of 2013. Beginning in ‘Paradise Valley’ and building in ‘The Captive Heart’, the story of ‘Though Mountains Fall’ will give readers a sense of closure and an understanding of what happened to each beloved character after carving out a new Amish settlement in the mountains of Mexico. Certainly, this book should not be read without first going through each of it’s two predecessors, as each one builds greatly upon the other.
The primary characters in the novel are brought to life in a unique way. By using several points of view to bring clarity and depth to the story, we catch glimpses of very different viewpoints and emotions to the same event or situation. Caleb, leader of the new settlement, and two of his daughters, Miriam – who is engaged to a Mexican, and Rachel – who hides a dark secret from the man she plans to marry, share the telling of the story for the most part. Each character, both primary and secondary, is brought to life vividly through this interesting blend of viewpoints.
Because three main viewpoints are involved, many different hopes and needs are woven into the story, as well. Caleb struggles with protecting his family and friends from the dangers, both physically and spiritually, of their new land, but at the same time faces unfathomable hurt when Miriam leaves the Amish faith to marry the only man she could ever love. Torn between her family and her closest sister, Rachel harbors her own fears and regrets. Binding them all together is the fear and uncertainty of the army supposedly present for their protection, but bringing more problems than even the bandits they wiped out.
The most significant underlying theme and message of Though Mountains Fall is simple, but profound and applicable to everyone… Forgiveness. Forgiveness from God and from man. After losing everything, including his close communion with his Heavenly Father, Caleb realizes that in order to carry on with life, you must forgive the people who have hurt you in the past. Various other instances, in the lives of both primary and secondary characters, continually show the value of forgiving others, and of accepting God’s forgiveness in your own heart.
If you have been anticipating the conclusion to The Daughters of Caleb Bender series, after finishing Though Mountains Fall you will be left with a sense of having finished one large, three-part book following the journeys of the Bender family. Although this story is based on solid values, however, it often seems very dreary, and even depressing. Almost too many terrible things happen to be completely believable, or fully enjoyable to read. For those who enjoyed the first two installments in this series, and wish to satisfy their curiosity as to how the characters end up, Though Mountains Fall is a not-to-be-missed conclusion. On it’s own, however, it is not the most enjoyable, or the most memorable, historical fiction novel.
***Note: I received this book free of charge for review purposes, courtesy of Bethany House Publishers and Graf-Martin Communications. I would like to say thank you very much for sending it to me.