Monday, February 24, 2014

Northkill by Bob and Joan Hochstetler

Book Blurb:
Drawn into the savage clashes of the French and Indian War, Jakob Hochstetler faces an impossible choice—and the irreversible consequences.

In 1738 Jakob Hochstetler and his family arrive in America, seeking sanctuary from religious persecution in Europe and the freedom to live and worship according to their Anabaptist beliefs, which include the doctrine of nonresistance. Along with other members of their church, they settle in the Northkill Amish Mennonite community on the Pennsylvania frontier between civilization and wilderness. They build a home near Northkill Creek, for which their community is named.

For eighteen years, the community lives at peace. Then, while the French and Indian War rages, the Hochstetlers’ way of life is brutally shattered. Early on the morning of September 20, 1757, their home is attacked by a party of Delaware and Shawnee warriors allied with the French. Facing certain death with his wife and children, Jakob makes a wrenching choice that will tear apart his family and change all of their lives forever.

Read an Excerpt:

Chapter 1
September 22, 1752

“Christian!” Stiffening, seventeen-year-old Barbara Hochstetler came to an abrupt halt on the stone threshold of the log house.

Out in the yard, her little brother, sky-blue eyes wide, reached up to touch the silver baubles that hung from the neck and ears of the Indian warrior who bent over him. While Barbara watched in breathless terror, the man returned the boy’s smile and trailed claw-like fingers along the soft curve of the child’s cheek, speaking in a melodious language she could not understand.

The sight of the wide bands of black and red paint slashed across the warrior’s lean, pockmarked face, caused Barbara’s heart to contract so painfully she felt lightheaded. “Maam!” she gasped, frantically searching the farmyard for her mother’s ample form.

On the near side of the barn by the chicken house, she saw her mother, Anna, swing around, the pan of crushed corn she had been scattering for the hens dropping to the ground. Barefoot, Maam ran back toward the house with astonishing speed for one so plump, her full petticoats bunched in her clenched fists, the wide brim of her flat straw hat bouncing with every step.

“Christli, ins Haus! Schnell!” In the house! Quickly!

Christian jerked around at her scream, his expression registering confusion and fear. A flurry of squawking, flapping fowl scattered out of Maam’s path as she crossed the dusty yard to pull Christian away from the warrior.

Biting her lip hard, Barbara focused on the man’s face, which darkened into a frown. Eyes narrowed, he straightened to his full height and spoke again as he reached for Christian. This time the menace in his voice and gesture was all too clear.

Maam shoved the boy in Barbara’s direction and, hands on hips, planted herself protectively between her children and the warrior. Her stance reminded Barbara of an angry hen guarding her clutch of eggs.

If she had not been so frightened, she would have laughed. Instead, she sucked in another sharp breath as five more warriors, painted and armed like the first, emerged from the woods behind the springhouse. 

Before she could cry out a warning, Christian collided with her so hard he almost knocked her to the ground. She staggered, then regained her balance and caught the six-year-old in her arms. Sobbing, he pressed hard against her legs, burying his tear-streaked face in her petticoats. She was shaking as much as he was.

To her astonishment, her mother did not shrink back at this new threat. Instead, she kept her narrowed eyes on the man in front of her, whom Barbara took to be the roving band’s leader. He was angry, that was clear. But Maam held her ground, even when the other warriors advanced.

They all carried muskets, with a tomahawk hanging from their belt, and a hunting knife dangling from a rawhide thong against their chest. The weapons glittered in the sunshine.

Barbara pressed her clenched fist against her mouth and breathed a fervent plea for God’s protection. She tried to think where the rest of her family would be at that hour.

By now ten-year-old Joseph should be driving the cows up from the pasture for the evening milking. Today, as usual, he lagged in performing his chores, and she added a prayer for his safety.

Early that morning, twelve-year-old Jake had gone with their father to Christian Stutzman’s plantation a mile away. The men of their Amish Mennonite community were completing the roof of the new house Crist was hurrying to finish in time for his and Barbara’s wedding in October, only a few weeks away. Daat and Jake should be on their way home along with her oldest brother, Johannes, who lived with his wife, Katie on the adjoining plantation.

She wanted to go to Maam but dared not leave Christian alone. He clung to her so tightly that she was afraid he would panic if she pulled away.

If the worst happened, she and Christian might have time to escape through the house and out the side Stube door, intercept Joseph on the path to the barn, and make it to Johannes’s home. But seeking sanctuary with Johannes might lead the Indians to her brother and sister-in-law and their new baby. She felt sick at the thought.

Daat, come quick! she pled.

To buy her book, go here:

Joan's Bio:
J. M. Hochstetler is an author, editor, and publisher. She is the daughter of Mennonite farmers and a lifelong student of history. Her American Patriot Series is the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. Her contemporary novel One Holy Night was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year. She is a direct descendant of Jacob Hochstetler through his oldest son John.

Bob's Bio:
Bob Hostetler is an award-winning writer, editor, pastor, and speaker who traces his descent from two sons of Jacob Hochstetler: John and Joseph. He has co-authored eleven books with Josh McDowell and won two Gold Medallion Awards, among others. Bob is a frequent speaker at churches, conferences, and retreats.

About Northkill:
Northkill is closely based on an inspiring true story well-known among the Amish and Mennonites. It has been documented in many publications and in contemporary accounts preserved in the Pennsylvania State Archives and in private collections. You’ll find more information about the history of the Hochstetler family on my website and at

To connect with Joan, go here:

Joan is giving away a copy of NORTHKILL. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


Amy C said...

I can not wait to get my hands on Joan's new book. It sounds SO good! I look forward to it.
Amy C

J. M. Hochstetler said...

Thank you for stopping by and entering the drawing, Amy! We're getting great feedback on this story, and I hope it blesses you!

Anonymous said...

This looks so interesting! It would be an awesome addition to our Homeschool History and culture section!

Joan said...

Northkill would indeed be a good addtion to a homeschool library, but for high-school-age children. It does include some graphic violence during the Indian attack. However, for more mature students it also includes a great deal of the history of the French and Indian War period and the early history of the first Amish settlers in this country. Thank you for entering the contest!

squiresj said...

I will be happy if I won this and could review it and share it. jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

Juanita Cook said...

This sounds like a book I'd really love to read. Thanks for a chance at winning it.


Patty said...

I love good historical fiction, and would love to read Joan's new book!


Jackie McNutt said...

I loved this excerpt, it looks like a very intense and gripping story. So fascinating that it is based on real stories.
Would love to read this. thank you for featuring Joan and her book Northkill.

Cindi A said...

This appears to be a very interesting book. Please enter my name in the drawing.


Susan Johnson said...

This sounds like a great book. I would love to win a copy.
susanmsj at msn dot com

Joan said...

Ladies, I'm so glad you all stopped by and entered the drawing! Good luck to you all! I wish everyone could win, but I'll also be doing a giveaway on my Northkill blog next week to celebrate the release, and at the Colonial Quills tea party that Friday. So if you don't win here, be sure to drop by the blogs or check on my facebook page.

sm said...

Interesting about the Mennonite, Anabaptist and Amish and how it is pretty impossible to flee persecution/trouble forever. sharon wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

MsRubyKat said...

Sounds like a very interesting book. Would love to win a copy. Thank you for the chance.
Karen G.

Linda Marie Finn said...

So love history and your book sounds so good to me, even when some things in life are hard.
Linda Finn

Wendy Newcomb said...

This book sounds great, thank you for the chance to win it.


Joan said...

Sharon, there's a lot of truth in what you say. Many of us do meet hard trials in life, Linda, but I suspect most of us have learned that as God carries us through those times, we learn so much and grow stronger. Karen and Wendy, I'm so glad you ladies stopped by too. Good luck in the drawing!

Anonymous said...

Hello Joan. So interesting that this book is about your ancestors. Wish I could know that much about mine.
It is sad that they were killed because of not fighting back. I just know it is a very interesting book. Thanks for a chance to win it. Hoping to be lucky.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Joan said...

Hi, Maxie! I'm glad you stopped by, and good luck in the drawing!

Emma said...

Northkill sounds wonderful. Please enter me in contest. Thank you for the opportunity to win.Have a wonderful week.

Kay from NY said...

Nice blog. Sounds like a wonderful book. Will put this on my wish list. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

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