River of Mercy, Riverhaven Years Series #3River of Mercy, Riverhaven Years Series #3
B.J. Hoff
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Young Gideon Kanagy faces a life-changing challenge--and an unexpected romance with his young Amish friend, Emma Knepp. Gideon's sister, Rachel, and the "outsider" Jeremiah Gant add to the drama with their own dilemma and its repercussions for the entire community of Riverhaven.

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B J HoffB.J. Hoff ’s bestselling historical and Amish novels continue to cross the boundaries of religion, language, and culture to capture a worldwide reading audience. Her books include such popular series as The Mountain Song Legacy, Song of Erin, The American Anthem, and An Emerald Ballad and her current series, Riverhaven Years.  Hoff’s stories, although set in the past, are always relevant to the present. Whether her characters move about in small country towns or metropolitan areas, reside in Amish settlements or in coal company houses, she creates communities where people can form relationships, raise families, pursue their faith, and experience the mountains and valleys of life. BJ and her husband make their home in Ohio. 

Favorite Verse; 2 Corinthians 1:20“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.”  



 Our Interview with BJ Hoff

Why did you decide to write a series about the Amish?

I’ve always been interested in the Amish faith and culture. I live near two or three large Amish communities, so I’ve had good opportunity to visit and talk with Amish folks—plus I’ve long enjoyed reading, mostly nonfiction, about their beliefs and their lifestyle. I remember telling an editor once, several years before I began writing the Riverhaven series, that if I were ever to write  about a different culture than the Irish and Irish Americans, it would probably be the Amish. I didn’t realize at the time I would eventually do just that!

How much research did River of Mercy take?

I did a lot of research before I ever started the series, but I’m also one who continues to research “on the go.” In fact, I don’t really stop researching a specific project until the entire series concludes. And although it may sound a bit confusing, I’m usually researching for my next project while I’m developing my current work as well. It helps that I actually enjoy research.

Is this the final book in the Riverhaven Years series?

Yes, River of Mercy is the third novel and the conclusion to the series.
What are some of the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing River of Mercy?

All throughout the research and development of the entire series I was fascinated by the Amish emphasis on one of their core beliefs—that of forgiveness. Naturally, I’m intrigued by the simplicity of their lifestyle, their concentration on maintaining the purity of their church, and many other aspects of the Plain life, but I love the importance they place on forgiveness. It’s not that it’s always easy for them to forgive, but the concept is so important to them that they exert whatever effort and prayer it requires to grant genuine forgiveness.

I also came to understand the practice of "shunning" better. Although I still have mixed emotions about it, I realize more clearly now that the Amish practice shunning, not so much as a form of punishment, but more out of concern for the one who’s being shunned, as well as a way of protecting the purity of the church itself. We might call it a form of “tough love,” a way to help another face his wrong behavior and change it, then reaffirm his vows to the church.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

I’ve answered this question in other interviews the same way as I’ll answer it now: Balance. There are so many demands on a writer’s time and energy they can easily become overwhelming. I’ll always be grateful that when I first began writing, God pressed me for a commitment to keep Him and my family always first—before the writing. That’s been difficult on occasion, because I think I have a natural bent toward being a “workaholic.” But when I’ve sensed myself spiraling away from what I know God wants my priorities to be, reminding myself of the commitment I made to Him helps pull me back to where I need to be.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

Most of all, the writing itself. I also really enjoy the research that goes along with writing fiction, especially historical fiction. I love planning a new project, thinking it through, watching as the characters begin to “come to life,” seeing the way they change—and being continually surprised at the way things work out. And, yes—I am usually surprised!

Are there other new writing projects on the burner?

Always. Right now, as I’m finishing up all the detail work that’s involved with the completion of a series—including shoveling out my office—I’m getting impatient to get started on the next project. Actually, there’s more than one project under contract, but the next in line has already been chosen, and the new disk and set of files are just waiting to be activated! 

What message would you like your readers to take away from River of Mercy?

This is something I don’t think much about until I’m asked that very question. I’m intent on simply telling the story God places on my heart and at the same time trusting the Holy Spirit to help me convey whatever truth or aspect of faith He deems “right” for this particular book.
In the case of River of Mercy—and the writing of the entire Riverhaven series—I hope my readers become aware of a divine blessing that accompanied me and hovered over me throughout the development of all three books, and that would be the unconditional love and strength and mercy God is so faithful to supply, no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

What do you do to get away from it all?

Honestly? I read. That’s my “great escape.” As is music.  Our dogs have always been great stress reducers as well, but we lost our beloved golden retriever a few months ago, so I’m now missing one of the most relaxing agents in my life. There’s nothing like a dog’s unconditional love to smooth over the rough places in life.

What part of your life are you proudest of—your “greatest achievement” in other words?

My family. Not that they’re an “achievement.” But they’re absolutely my greatest gift from God, and I am very proud of them.

Do you enjoy hearing from your readers?

I love hearing from my readers! They can contact me through email, at my web site, on Facebook,  or Twitter. Here are the site addresses:



 Books by BJ Hoff!

The Riverhaven Years, Volumes 1-3
The Riverhaven Years, Volumes 1-3
B.J. Hoff
CBD Price: $24.99

Riverhaven Years Series, Vols 1-2
Riverhaven Years Series, Vols 1-2
B.J. Hoff
CBD Price: $14.99

Rachel's Secret - eBook

Rachel's Secret - eBook
B.J. Hoff
CBD Price: $7.99

Song of the Silent Harp - eBook

Song of the Silent Harp - eBook
B.J. Hoff
CBD Price: $7.99

Sons of an Ancient Glory - eBook

Sons of an Ancient Glory - eBook
BJ Hoff
CBD Price: $7.99

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