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Authors: BJ Hoff

River of Mercy

BOOK: River of Mercy



Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

Verses marked
are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Verses marked
are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Cover by Koechel Peterson & Associates, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota

BJ Hoff is published in association with Books & Such Literary Agency, 52 Mission Circle, Suite 122, PMB 170, Santa Rosa, CA 95409-5370.

Copyright © 2012 by BJ Hoff
Published by Harvest House Publishers
Eugene, Oregon 97402

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Hoff, B. J.

River of mercy / BJ Hoff.

p. cm.—(The Riverhaven years ; bk. 3)

ISBN 978-0-7369-2420-7 (pbk.)
ISBN 978-0-7369-4052-8 (eBook)
1. Amish—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3558.O34395R58 2012


All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, digital, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.


I'm thankful to so many people who helped bring this book to fulfillment, and especially to…

My husband, Jim, who knows all the important stuff I can never figure out and doesn't make
much fun of my helplessness. (He can actually read maps and calculate how long a buggy would have taken to get from point A to point B.) He also puts up with my Irishness and smiles through it all.

My daughters, Dana and Jessie, who pray for me, cheer for me, and put up with me during deadlines and disasters. They also make me smile—a lot.

My grandsons, Noah, Gunnar, and Caleb, who enrich my life and crack me up on a regular basis.

Special friends—Cheryl, the bravest and most resilient woman I know; Sara, a true Steel Magnolia who never ceases to surprise me; Charlotte, who saves me from frumpdom, prays for me, and on occasion, feeds me; Wennie, who storms heaven with a velvet hammer and is known well by the Father; and Edith, who simply does too much for me to list. Bless you all!

My long-suffering editor, Nick Harrison, who wears a mantle of patience and shows the grace of a saint and rolls his eyes only when I'm unaware.

Shane White, indefatigable encourager and optimist supreme.

As always, my agent and friend, Janet Kobobel Grant, who never gives up on me.

Kelli Standish, friend and wizard who teaches me something new at least once a week and holds my hand through the nightmarish maze of cyberspace, Facebook, and The Media.

Harvest House—a publisher of the highest integrity that treats its authors like family and friends. Every one of you is such a blessing!

And my readers. I am blessed to have patient and kindhearted readers who continually encourage me with their messages and ongoing prayers. “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all.”

Thanks be to my God, who always brings me through in spite of myself.



Prologue: Too Many Long Nights

1. A Visit to Riverhaven

2. A Future and a Hope

3. A Woman Grown

4. Night Watch

5. Missing Rachel

6. The Man Who Would Be Bishop

7. Music in the Night

8. A Not-So-Cozy Evening

9. Behind the Darkness

10. A Cry on the Mountain

11. A New Strategy

12. New Arrivals

13. What a Morning

14. Secrets

15. The Warning

16. An Enemy Within

17. A Change of Plans

18. Trouble Descending

19. Because of Rachel

20. Advice from a Friend

21. Fire in the Night

22. Counting the Cost

23. Failed Plans

24. Day of Blessing, Day of Trouble

25. Passing Through the Fire

26. What If?

27. End of a Search

28. From Hope to Grief

29. Family Matters

30. A Stirring of Rumors

31. A Secret Meeting

32. A Gift for Rachel

33. A Matter of Trust

34. Meetings That Matter

35. Confrontation

36. Stalker in the Shadows

37. An Unholy Proposal

38. Messages

39. Conviction

40. In Search of Guidance

41. A Highly Unexpected Turn of Events

42. Gant's Dilemma

43. Time to Go Home

44. Stalking Rachel

45. Encounter with the Enemy

46. Rachel's Answer

47. No Longer a Stranger

Epilogue: River Song

River of Mercy

Discussion Questions

About BJ Hoff

About the Publisher


I feel like one who treads alone
Some banquet hall, deserted.


Amish settlement near Riverhaven, Ohio
November 1856

achel Brenneman had always liked to walk by the river at twilight.

There had been a time during the People's early years at Riverhaven when she gave no thought to walking alone, day or night. After she and Eli were married, the two of them liked to stroll along the bank of the Ohio in the evening, discussing their day, planning the workweek, dreaming of the future. After Eli's death, however, Rachel no longer went out alone after dark, although sometimes she and her ten-year-old sister, Fannie, took a picnic lunch in the early afternoon and sat watching the fine big boats and smaller vessels that traveled the great Ohio to unknown places.

Now though, venturing away from the community no longer felt safe, even in the middle of the day. In truth, there was nowhere that felt safe, not after the deadly attack on Phoebe Esch and the other troubles recently visited upon the People. At night, especially, Rachel stayed inside, sitting alone in her bedroom with the window scarcely open in deference to the weather, which had recently turned cold.

November was a lonely month. Rachel still loved to listen to the river from inside her home, but the nighttime sounds—the distant lapping of the water, the blast from a boat's horn, the night creatures in communion with one another—never failed to set off a stirring of remembrance and an ache in her heart. Yet she couldn't resist sitting there night after night, watching and listening, trying not to let her memories struggle to the surface of her thoughts, trying not to let new hope ignite the ashes of her dreams…

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