To Dwell among Cedars

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 368
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Title: To Dwell among Cedars
Fiction

About The Book

Eight years ago, when the Philistines stole and then surrendered the ark of the covenant back to the Israelites, Eliora left her Philistine homeland to follow the ark to the community of Kiryat Yearim. There, the family she was adopted into has guarded the ark at the top of a mountain in seclusion. 

Ronen is a Levite musician determined to secret away the ark to a more fitting resting place, watched over by priests who would restore the Holy of Holies. He never expected that the Philistine girl he rescued years ago would now be part of the very family he’s tasked to deceive.

As Ronen’s attempts to charm Eliora lead them in unexpected directions, betrayal leaves Eliora with strained family ties and Ronen questioning his own loyalties. Ultimately, Eliora and Ronen are caught up in the battle for the soul of Israel and its future under the leadership of Samuel, the last judge before the era of the kings begins.

Why I Choose This Book

If you’ve been around my blog for any length of time, you’ll know it’s no secret that Connilyn Cossette is my favorite author of Biblical Fiction. Her dedication to details, thoroughly developed characters, exciting plot twists, and delightful writing style keeps me coming back for more. In fact, I’ve had the honor of reviewing every single one of her books as they’ve been released. I talk about her books online a lot, and even more often in real life.

ALSO. OH MY LANDS. Look at that cover! The inside of the book is full of beauty, too. The design team outdid themselves this time.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Not every book can be a favorite, you know? And that’s okay. Just because a book didn’t hit the elusive five-star-rating I was hoping it would, doesn’t mean that it won’t for someone else. (In fact, over on Amazon the book has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating with over 115 reviews – that’s impressive!)

I read the book in one day while on a 72-hour work quarantine due to being exposed to someone who was exposed to someone who tested positive. Ah, the joys of 2020! It took me a total of six and a half hours to read, and although I’m only giving the book a three-star rating, it did make tears come to my eyes at one point, so maybe my rating should be taken with a grain of salt? 

For this review, I’m going to go with 3 Pros and 3 Cons. 

The Pros: 

  1. As always, Connilyn Cossette’s writing style is impeccable. It draws the reader in, paints beautiful pictures, and makes the story world come alive. Her vocabulary is expansive, describing ordinary things in a way that makes me want to look around me more carefully and soak in the nuances of the every-day things surrounding me. 
  2. Arisa, the main character, was my favorite part of the book. I could relate to her thought processes, understand why she lived life the way she did, and longed to simply wrap her up in a hug. She definitely grew on me as the book progressed. The way she cared for her family was my favorite part of the story. 
  3. The story delves into a time in the Bible that we don’t know a lot about. I hadn’t thought much about how the Children of Isreal lived during the early years of Samuel’s life, and although there’s no way to know what actually happened, Connilyn Cossette’s ideas are facinating. 

The Cons: 

  1. My main issue with the book was that I felt there were descrpeinces between the story and the Bible. One of the reasons I’ve always liked Connilyn Cossette’s books so much is because of how well she follows the Biblical account, and in this story that didn’t seem to be the case. Maybe I simply misunderstood? I read the Biblical account several times to see if I was getting it wrong, and I’m still confused. Most of the things were little – like the fact that the Levities were the ones who cleaned up the dead bodies after God struck them for looking in the Ark. But the Old Testiment is very clear that the Levities weren’t supposed to go near dead bodies. I know that probably seems petty, and I could be missing something completely… But there were several instances where something like that happened, and therefore took the rating of the book down for me. 
  2. The story was also a bit slow getting started. Again, that’s perfectly fine, just currently I’m in the mood for fast-paced stories. 
  3. There were a lot of characters who didn’t play a huge part in the story, but were mentioned fairly often (family members, etc…). It was a bit confusing keeping all of them straight. 
CONCLUSION

This book has less violence and death than some of this author’s other books, although it’s still mentioned. (It is Biblical fiction, after all.) The story is mostly clean and sutiable for mid-to-older teens, as well as adults. 

Although this wasn’t my favorite book of Connilyn Cossette’s, I still enjoyed it and look forward to continuing to read her books as they’re released. I highly recommend her stories, and feel honored to be on her review team.  

RATING

I’m giving To Dwell among Cedars 3 out of 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author/publisher and wasn’t required to provide a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone. Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me this book!

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