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Rachel's Secret (The Riverhaven Years, #1)
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Rachel's Secret (Riverhaven Years #1)

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  701 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Bestselling author BJ Hoff promises to delight her many faithful readers with her compelling new series, The Riverhaven Years. With the first book, Rachel’s Secret, Hoff introduces a new community of unforgettable characters and adds the elements readers have come to expect from her novels: a tender love story, the faith journeys of people we grow to know and love, and eno ...more
Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2008)
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Andrea Guy
This is the first Amish historical I've read. It definitely was a different style of story from what I'm used to with Amish fiction/romance, and I have to say, it was a really enjoyable read.

Like most Amish stories there's a lot of drama involving the characters and the Englischers. In this case, an Irishman is shot and seeks the help of Rachel and her family. Jeremiah Gant is a conductor on the underground railroad, that in itself brings a whole new spin one what to expect in Amish fiction.

A l
Apr 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an historical novel, set in the time of the Underground Railroad. It was the first time I read an Amish fiction novel that was not set within the past 75 years, and to be honest, it was hard to remember for the most part that this was set in the 1850s. I did enjoy reading the parts about Asa and Gant's work on the Underground Railroad, and that helped me remember when this novel is set.
I enjoyed the story for the most part, but it didn't grab me like other novels I've recently read. Mayb
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Although it did seem to me to be more about Susan and Dr. Sebastian. There were was details about slavery and the underground railroad. Many beautiful passages about healing hearts and forgiveness. It seemed to me that Rachel and Gant fell in love rather soon which I didnt feel convinced of. The author does address it, which I appreciated it. At some point the storyline with Asa trails off and I am wondering if she will address it it the next book in the series. Anoth ...more
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first bvook in the Riverhaven years trilogy. In book one an wounded Irish American riverboat captain shows up at Rachel's house. Rachel is Amish and has to contend with the Amish community being upset by a widow having a man at her house. The captain brings more danger because he is part of the underground railroad. The book just stops leaving several loose ends so you will read the next in the series.
Brooke Barenfanger
I have always found forbidden love desperately romantic. Hoff has sketched the characters of Rachel Brenneman and Jeremiah Gant with a finesse I have come to expect from her. She is always colorful in her language and excellent in her storytelling ability. She deals with serious themes and always shows them in a realistic manner. However, almost always at the end of her books I have found that she gives a hint of hope. She has become one of my favorite authors.
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book is a story about an Amish family living in Ohio in 1855. It addresses the challenges they face due to their traditions and beliefs. They struggle with what would be God's will when they are faced with caring for an injured outsider. The book ends keeping you wondering about what happens next. It is part of a series and I may need to read the next book.
This was one of my book club reads and very easy to read.
Janie  R.
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amish

This was the first book I've read by B.J.Hoff-a historical, Amish, with a mix of suspense,and romance. I really enjoyed her writing. It had great characters -the character of Fannie was my favorite! The Underground Railroad subplot really interests me, and I appreciated learning more about it in this story. This was a wonderful story with the theme of forgiveness and healing woven through the story. I highly recommend this book!
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rachel's Secret -book#1 of series"The Riverhaven Years" by B J Hoff

I read book#2 first and then had to go find 1-3 at library to finish the story. This is a great series and you won't want to miss any of the books.
I enjoyed the characters and wanted to hear the "whole" story.
Rachel Kenny
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i really enjoyed this book but if you are not a christian i suggest you do not read this n=]because this is a strong christian story
Tina Guffey
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story of captive hearts in a historical setting.
Linda Klager
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story about a young Amish woman who gets a surprise visit from 2 strangers. She had to make a quick decision whether or not to help them. Normally a young Amish woman who lives alone and is widowed would not take in "Englishers". It is not acceptable behavior for them. These 2 strangers were not a threat to her and really needed her help. I'm so glad that she chose to be "like Jesus" in showing compassion to them. I liked the inclusion of the story of the "Underground Railr ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this delightful and interesting Amish novel. I look forward to reading # 2 in this series.
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the back of the book: "Rachel Brenneman has a secret... But when wounded Irish American riverboat captain Jeremiah Gant bursts into the rural Amish setting of Riverhaven, her secret must come out. The suspicious Englischer brings chaos and conflict to the community - especially for Rachel. The unwelcome 'outsider' needs a safe place to recuperate before continuing his role as an Underground Railroad conductor. Neither he nor Rachel is prepared for the forbidden love that threatens a man's m ...more
Sarah Udall
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mooi boek over een amish vrouw.....die verliefd word op een buitenstaander....het verhaal speelt zich al in 1850 ....op een avond staat er een slaaf met zn zwaar gewonden kapitein voor haar deur...ze besluit de kapitein te helpen ondanks haar angst voor de amish gemeenschap...samen met haar moeder broer en zus helpen ze de gewonde kapitein....het is een verwarden tijd voor rachel ze wil het geloof trouw blijven maar ze worden verliefd....ondertussen gebeuren er allemaal aanslagen op de amish gem ...more
Mar 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amish
Rachel's Secret has a good plot but the author threw away a the ending. As in the book just stops. It doesn't truly end.

Two key parts of the book are answered but only in throwaway lines within a paragraph. One does not sense closure.

The book would have read better if I had all of the series and was reading them one after the other. BUT I rarely have that. Like many people, I read a book because it appeals to me now. Sometimes I'm reading in a series -- sometimes not. It's availability of the bo
The first book in The Riverhaven Years, this is an Amish romance that takes place in 1855. Tow Amish women fall for an outsider. I have read Amish romances set in the present day and this is not so very different. There have been changes in Amish life but their basic way of living appears not to have changed all that much from 1855.
In the beginning, Widowed Rachel finds a black man and a wounded man on her doorstep. She cannot turn them away even though her community is being harassed by those w
Nov 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I was really disappointed with the ending of this book. I realize that it's part of a series, so the story doesn't actually end with the last chapter, but it was soooooo frustrating to read 265 pages and NOT find out what happens to certain characters. Talk about a cliff-hanger! I now feel that I HAVE to read the second book and I'm not sure I like that feeling.

The writing was lovely, though ... BJ Hoff has a very simple, sweet style to telling a story and I really enjoyed the book as I was read
Jan 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tasha enderby
Nov 05, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amish
I love amish tales and I hate rating this one so poorly but it wasn't really written by an Author that writes Amish stories and you can tell. The facts about the faith and culture are not correct and that was turn off to me. They don't really say that poor Fannie was abused by those English boys on the road but I get the feeling it was more then a bump on the head and kicks that had her so upset. The book ends with no real resolve but a lot of hoping it all ended for the best.
Barbara Labbe
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Great Story

I love BJ's books. Her characters come alive on the pages and I fall in love with all of them. The intertwining the Amish community and the prejudices towards them with the Underground Railroad gives the story an interesting twist. I know she does research because I know exactly where the county that she mentions in this story. Can't wait to start book 2 to learn what happens to the Amish community in Riverhaven.
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, a clean fluffy Amish book in which the characters fall in love as the hero is mostly unconscious. This one weaves in a subplot about the underground railroad and possible conversion to the Amish religion, but it is mostly poofy. I will probably read the next book in the series, but after I've read something with a little more bite.
May 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of an Amish girl who suddenly becomes affiliated with an unwelcome "outsider" and what she does to stay true to her religion, but also grow in a relationship with that "outsider." Some parts of the book dragged on a little long, but I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next book due out in September.
Ashley Daviau
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always find forbidden love appealing and this story was no different. That element mixed with the Amish way of living, and the Underground Railroad made for a wonderfully compelling novel. Although I would have liked to see more about the Underground Railroad! can't wait to dive into the next in the series!
I really liked this book and would highly recommend it. There are elements of danger, mystery and romance that make a great story. The historcal parts of the underground railroad and slavery added more dimension. There were also difficult circumstances in the romances since Amish and Englishers are forbidden to fall in love.
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even though there is an English twist to this story it is still one of my all time favorite series. The story did not falter from Amish love and loyalty that I come to expect in this genre. This series ended beautifully and everyone found their way. I also discovered what an amazing author B.J. Hoff is to.
Apr 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first foray into Christian fiction and I really liked it. I especially love historical fiction, and this one (the first in a trilogy) surrounds characters in an Ohio Amish community during pre-Civil War times. The underground railroad was also highlighted and I appreciated learning more about it. A nice feel good read without the "yuck" so often found in books today.
This was similar to Beverly Lewis' books, yet from a different time period and with the touch of Irish that B. J. Hoff always incorporates into her books. I didn't like it as much as most of B. J. Hoff's other books, but still enjoyed it quite well and read it quickly. There was a bit too much romance, but not as overblown as in some novels.
Linda Branich
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amish
IF YOU ENJOY READING ABOUT THE PLAIN PEOPLE ( Amish) or the Underground Railroad,
this book will be right up your alley, as it is about both. It is the first of a trilogy, and I am looking forward to reading the other two books in the series . This was my first taste of this author's work. I plan to sample more than just the trilogy.
Nov 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did really like it, but also felt like there were many things that were left unfinished. Whatever happens to Asa? That is the biggest part of the story that is left hanging. I was already planning on reading the rest of the series, but I definitely will have too now to find out if some of those loose ends are tied up.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
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BJ Hoff’s writing is known for her historical settings, her unforgettable characters, and her lyrical prose. She is the bestselling author of numerous historical fiction series, including the Riverhaven Years, the Mountain Song Legacy, the Song of Erin saga, the American Anthem series, An Emerald Ballad series, and her newest book Harp on the Willow.

Her five-volume Emerald Ballad series was the fi
More about B.J. Hoff...

Other Books in the Series

Riverhaven Years (3 books)
  • Where Grace Abides (The Riverhaven Years, #2)
  • River of Mercy (The Riverhaven Years, #3)

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