People. It’s basically been forever and a day since I’ve posted a book review on Noveltea. Today I’m emerging from the depths of silence to share a total gem of a story with y’all…this author that I’m about to talk about – goodness, where do I even begin?
Her worldbuilding is so utterly fantastic it makes the world dance into my brain and captivate me.
Her characters are complete and real.
Her plots nearly always have twists I hadn’t expected.
Her writing is lyrical and magical, weaving the story in a way that makes me long to always have a supply of her new books on hand.
Her name is Connilyn Cossette and I personally consider her the Queen of Biblical fiction.
If you want to hear more of my gushing about her, there are ample opportunities. You can watch me chatter about all five of Miss Connilyn’s books, or specifically about her newest book (that I’ll be reviewing below). Or you can check out my reviews of her first four books. (Because goodness children! Somehow I was given the honor and privilege of reviewing each of her books as they came out. How did this happen?!?)
And now on to the review for today. We’ll be talking about her latest book, Shelter of the Most High. Really, you should just pause your reading right here and now to check out one of her books at the library or perhaps just buy it on Amazon. Then you can continue reading while waiting for it to arrive. 😉
First off, Some Stats:
Back Cover Blurb:
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 and 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. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?
Why I Choose This Book:
I can’t imagine ever not wanting to read Miss Connilyn’s books. Seriously. Every time I get chosen to be part of the release team I do a happy dance inside. But even if I wasn’t chosen? Well, I’d totally pre-order the book.
What I Thought of This Book:
Growing up with the Bible I obviously knew what the Cities of Refuge were. But did I ever think about them? Sit down and ponder them? Research them? No. Somehow that crazy bit of history just flew past my brain and never captivated my imagination until I began this series by Miss Connilyn.
Like with the rest of her books Miss Connilyn took an account from the Bible, researched it, imagined it, wrote about it, and brought it totally to life in the pages of her book. Now when I read the Old Testament I feel more depth – the people feel more alive to me and in a way I can almost relate to them better. This, my friends, is what good Biblical fiction does. It doesn’t disagree with the Bible, instead, it just adds details that could have happened, and with those details the world from that era bursts into colors and sights and sounds and smells. It’s rather glorious.
Technically this book can be read as a standalone. It gives enough information from the previous book that you can gather what’s going on. But really, I really recommend reading A Light On The Hill first, because after reading this book you’ll want to read that book, and this book kinda spoils the first one.
As for the plot itself, this was the first time when I really felt like I could guess what was going to happen and for the most part, I was right. With Miss Connilyn’s books, there are generally fairly big plot twists for me, but this time that didn’t happen. I’m not sure if it’s because the plot twists were less hidden or because I’m used to her writing style by now, but in any case, not being surprised really didn’t take away from the book so that’s cool.
The characters didn’t resonate with me this time like they sometimes do, but I still liked them and enjoyed learning along with them. My favorite part was getting to see everything from Sofea’s perspective. Her thoughts and the way she described the world around her made me want to hug the book and read it over and over again. It was nothing short of lyrical and whimsical. So well done.
There’s some violence in the book although it doesn’t go into extreme detail. There’s mention of evil pagan practices, a destroyed village, people wanting to get revenge, and then some deaths that go along with living in a City of Refuge. I thought that it was written in a mild enough manner that it’s suitable for ages 15+ (although I guess that depends a lot on the person).
As for romance there was kissing much earlier in the book than I was expecting, but overall it wasn’t bad and I don’t recall having to skim-read much like I generally do when books get overly romantic. 😉
I’m giving Shelter of the Most High 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone who likes Biblical fiction or wants to give the genre a try.
I’m so thankful for Miss Connilyn for giving me a book in exchange for reviewing it. She rocks, y’all.