What is your opinion of biblical fiction? Do you like it, hate it, read it or not? Personally, I don’t like having the Bible retold adding in extra things. Leave the Bible alone please for this lady. This series, Cities of Refuge, by author Connilyn Cossette, however, is a delight for biblical fiction readers. In her second book Shelter of the Most High, readers are able to follow along without having read Book One. It does continue the story of Moriyah and Darek so I want to go back and read Book One now.
Author Cossette has an engaging style of writing. Her book was well researched and took me back in time to a place and era of which I have often read. This time instead of reading about it, I experienced it. The year was 1388 BC, a time before Christ had come to earth. People were much different.
My emotions ran deep as I read. I had become immediately invested in the lives of the well developed characters. Sofea was the daughter of a pagan high priest. She and her cousin, Perez, were violently taken from their home in Sicily and ended up in Canaan. Aboard the slave ship they were beaten and starved. The tragedy was heartbreaking. One minute you are home and the next your home is attacked. You are enslaved and sent on a ship to an unknown land that cannot understand your language. I needed tissues.
Times of joy brought happiness to me. I was frightened with the characters. They experienced violence and such trauma. The girls received love and compassion. I could relax then.
One of the things I really loved about this book is that it is not about a biblical, historical person. As I said earlier, I don’t like it when people add words or thoughts to an actual biblical person. This is much better. It still provides a venue to enlighten readers to the people, area, and customs of the time.
The Old Testament is known for being a bit violent. This book has manslayers, murder plots, kidnapping, and slavery. It also has love. There is a sweet love story and a greater one. One inspiration message is that God loves us. Another is to let our light shine forth to others. Not everyone really knows about the one true God, our God. We can share Him with others and help them.
I highly recommend this captivating book. If you like bible times, you will adore this. It is packed with action, intrigue, romance, history, culture, and inspiration. There is much food for thought in its 335 pages. After the story are Author Notes and Discussion Questions. I love books that include those because it makes reading groups so much easier. Rating this book 5 out of 5 stars was my recommendation. A copy was provided by the publisher but I was under no obligation to write a review. All thoughts are my own, honest ones.
About the Book
Book: Shelter of the Most High
Author: Connilyn Cossette
Genre: Christian Biblical Fiction
Release Date: October, 2018
The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.
Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a city of refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood, yet chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.
As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Can they uncover the betrayal in time to save their lives and the lives of those they love?
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About the Author
Connilyn Cossette is the CBA bestselling author of the Out From Egypt series. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for the Christy Award, the INSPY Award, and the Christian Retailing’s Best Award. She lives in North Carolina with her husband of twenty years and a son and a daughter who fill her days with joy, inspiration, and laughter. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com.
Guest Post from Connilyn
Shelter of the Most High, the second book in my Cities of Refuge Series, will be the first I’ve written to have been influenced by my trip to Israel last year. When I started writing Biblical fiction almost nine years ago, I was limited to exploring the Land of Promise via Google Earth, books, and through a plethora of photos on the good ol’ world wide web, but of course nothing can compare to actually experiencing the atmosphere and scenery for yourself.
So although I’d already written Shelter of the Most High by the time I hopped on a plane to join fellow author Cliff Graham’s GoodBattle Tour, once I returned my editing was filtered through the sights and sounds I’d witnessed for myself. It had been a life-long dream to go to Israel and it did not disappoint, in fact it just went way too fast!
One of my greatest fears was that I would see the places I’d written about in my books and realize I totally messed up my descriptions, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that for the most part I’d been fairly accurate (although I did tweak a few things here and there).
Standing on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee I was able to envision Eitan, our hero in Shelter of the Most High, sitting on one of the black boulders there, defeated and weary as he searched for his love. I was able to look toward the snowy peaks of Mount Hermon in the north and over the fertile Hula Valley just below the ancient ruins of Kedesh, the city of refuge, and consider how Sofea must have felt as she experienced the landscape of her new home for the first time, both the fear and the awe.
One of my favorite sites was Tel Dan and although it does not feature in Shelter of the Most High it’s lush greenness and dense forest gave me a better sense of what Israel must have been in the past before deforestation, war, and shifts in climate have done to the fertile land God himself called a land of milk and honey. Since I was so affected by Tel Dan (or Laish in ancient times) that city will be one of the settings in my upcoming third installment of the Cities of Refuge Series, Until the Mountains Fall.
Being a super visual person who is highly sensitive to sensory input, I took great pleasure in absorbing with all my senses as we walked paths, climbed mountains (yes, mountains), slogged through a long, cold, and wet tunnel deep beneath Jerusalem, hiked up to the secret oasis of Ein Gedi where David hid from Saul, and rocked along on a boat over the glassy surface of the Galilee. I felt like a sponge just soaking up every little detail and every grand vista.
Smelling the salty breeze off the Mediterranean and hearing the waves crash against the sandy beach in Tel Aviv and Caesarea Phillipi made me imagine our heroine Sofea looking over that enormous, blue expanse and wondering what sort of god had control of such a powerful thing.
Feeling the timeworn cobblestones beneath my feet gave me a sense of what it must have been like for Eitan and Sofea to walk through the streets of Kedesh, their own sandals scuffing against the rough-hewn stone as they went about their daily activities.
Running my fingers along the pitted surfaces of ancient buildings and tracing the chisel marks from craftsmen of the Bronze Age wrapped me in a whirl of imagination about who the people were that hefted those same rocks into place and the ingenuity it took to create structures that have lasted so long.
Tasting the unique spices and flavors of the Middle East gave me a sense of the passion Moryiah (our hero’s mother) has for creating delicious new dishes to feed her growing family and the guests at her inn.
Although I write fiction, my stories are woven into Biblical accounts so going to Israel was a perfect reminder for me that the people that lived between the pages of Genesis to Revelations were real. They breathed, they cried, they loved, they mourned, they suffered, and they celebrated with their families. I am so grateful to have gleaned some great new insight into the Land and its resilient, vibrant people and hope that through Shelter of the Most High readers get a small sense of the beauty and wonder I experienced there. I cannot wait to go back!
A Baker’s Perspective, November 20
The Power of Words, November 20
Among the Reads, November 21
Gensis 5020, November 21
God’s Little Bookworm, November 22
Book by Book, November 22
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 22
Remembrancy, November 23
Real World Bible Study, November 23
Inklings and notions, November 23
The Becca Files, November 24
Baker Kella, November 24
Bibliophile Reviews, November 25
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, November 25
By The Book, November 26
Reading Is My SuperPower, November 26
Aryn The Libraryan, November 27
All-of-a-kind Mom, November 27
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 27
Abbas Prayer Warrior Princess, November 28
Christian Author, J.E. Grace, November 28
Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
For the Love of Literature, November 29
Janices book reviews, November 29
The Lit Addict, November 30
Texas Book-aholic, November 30
Just the Write Escape, December 1
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 1
Connect in Fiction, December 2
The Christian Fiction Girl, December 2
Bigreadersite, December 2
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 3
Purposeful Learning, December 3
Carpe Diem, December 3
To celebrate her tour, Connilyn is giving away
Grand Prize: All five of Conni’s novels, including Shelter of the Most High, plus AHAVA Dead Sea Bath Salts
Three other winners will receive a copy of Shelter of the Most High!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d66d/shelter-of-the-most-high-celebration-tour-giveaway