A Light on the Hill: Cities of Refuge Book 1 By Connilyn Cossette

a light on the hill

 

A light on the Hill, is another beautifully written story by author Connilyn Cossette.  This woman is a fantastic, gifted writer that I can’t say enough about.  Her stories bring alive the Bible times and bestow upon you the sense that you walk with her characters, that they are truly within your reach as you envision their story, feelings and ultimately their individual relationships with God.

One of the main reasons I enjoy reading this authors stories, besides her gift of storytelling, is how she chooses to use names for her Characters.  For instance, she uses “Yahweh” for God as is used in the Jewish faith.  For Joshua we read, “Yehoshua” and Moses becomes, “Mosheh”.  The research that has been done is so evident and adds to the compelling style of the author.   At the back of the book, the author shares how she developed her storyline.  She mentions reading in Joshua 20 and being caught up in the idea of the cities of refuge and how they beckoned to her.  The author also mentions her research taken from Book V of The Antiquities of the Jews.  It is very clear that the author delves into ancient times and Biblical teaching to provide as many true facts as possible to base her fictional characters and story.

In A Light on the Hill, our main character is one that we met earlier during the series, Out of Egypt: Wings of the Wind. She wasn’t a main character but still an important one that left an impression not only on the reader but the author as she mentions in her notes that she knew Moriyah would be the heroine in the next book.  Moriyah’s past has filled her with fear which has also allowed misplaced shame to trap her in a prison of her own making.  Through this fear and shame, she has done what so many of us have…. shut God out.  Moriyah wears a veil on the outside, but on the inside, she also has a veil blocking her from hearing God’s whispers.  She believes God has forsaken her, but she is the one who has forsaken him and kept him behind that inner veil.  I think that is a message many of us can relate to.

In A Light on the Hill, Moriyah must leave her life and learn to break the shackles of her “prison” when accused of a heinous crime.  Along the way she finds she is to travel with someone she can’t fully trust, one she feels betrayed her, and even hates her…. but one who holds her heart.  As she travels to find sanctuary at one of the cities of refuge, Moriyah learns who she is and what she is capable of.  She also learns that the shame she has placed upon herself isn’t truly there and that others may not view her as she has thought. As events begin to heat up she realizes God has never forsaken her and all she must do is simply remove the veil and trust God with her life and those she loves.

Moriyah’s life isn’t pain free…. whose life is?  The beauty of this story shows that life can be hard, but we are never alone and all we have to do is trust God and his plans for us.  Have faith and allow God to lead you and listen for those whispers.  How beautiful is that?

Connilyn Cossette is one of my favorite authors and I am so thrilled have read each of her books.  They are beautiful, compelling, and vivid.  The imagery is so surreal that I feel as if the characters are acting out a scene right in front of me and when that last page is turned, I feel like shouting because I am not ready for an end.

 

Author’s Bio:

connilyn cossette

Connilyn Cossette is the Christy Award Nominated and CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series from Bethany House Publishers. There’s not much she enjoys more than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Connect with her at http://www.ConnilynCossette.com

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A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith

HANNAH'S STORY

I had started a few months ago by reviewing another series and still plan to continue with it but after a little detour.  I have two very wonderful authors who write in the Christian Fiction genre that have new books out, so I am excited about them and wanted to make sure I got my review posted as they are very newly published.

I am a confusing individual….  One moment I am reading MC Romance Fiction and the next Christian fiction followed by a textbook of some sort after.  I can never get enough to read or to learn.  I wonder if you are like that as well.  When I can add a fact or two in a discussion and people look at me in surprise and ask, “how in the world do you know that?”  I just laugh and tell them I read all kinds of books and you never know what I have stored away.  It can be priceless depending on the bit of information I put out there!

Why Christian Fiction?  I am a Christian who is always searching for something I have yet to put my finger on.  I want more, more, more but what is the more I am looking for?  I don’t know.  When I read I feel I am getting closer to knowing what that might be, but I am still not sure. It seems closer, but still too far away.  What I can say about reading fiction is that if I can find a lesson I need to give more thought to then I have found a wonderful author and story.  If that author can make me understand a Bible story that has been a little vague or make me see it in a whole new light with new possibilities, then I have found something worthwhile.

Jill Eileen Smith has done precisely that with her newest book, “A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story”.  When I heard this book was coming out, I wanted to read it, but I also didn’t.  Hannah’s story has always made me so sad and because of that, I kept thinking …. “No, I can’t, I’m not ready”.  Hannah was placed in such a sad situation.  She had married expecting to have children but didn’t and all believe she never would.  Then she was delivered of another blow.  Her husband took another wife and she would have to share him.  Could it get any worse for such a woman?  Yes, she received blow after blow of mocking and hatred from not only others but this second wife of her beloved husband’s who gave him the children she desired.  For years, Hannah pleaded for God to deliver her a child and then came the day in grief and desolation Hannah made a vow to God.  If he gave her the son she desperately wanted, she would give him back to God when he was old enough to leave her.  Hannah fulfills that vow to God.  Would I have had the strength to do so?  No…. simply no.

 

Jill Eileen Smith brings Hannah story alive and creates a beautiful story of love, acceptance, trust and ultimately forgiveness.  Hannah truly loves the Lord, and even after years of being barren, of being mocked, of feeling that she has lost her beloved husband, she still placed her trust in God.  We read of a woman who was kind even to her “enemy” the second wife of her husband who treated her so badly.  We read of a woman whose trust in God would be greatly rewarded.

But let me tell you what else we read…. we read of a husband who is pulled in so many directions that he cannot grasp what to do and the stress is heavy on his heart.  He loves Hannah as his beloved and it did not matter if she was barren or not for she is all he wanted.  However, his family intervenes and pushes him to take a second wife.  Elkanah is devastated but does as his family and even Hannah has asked of him.  He knows not what to do to bring peace in his family, and he hurts for the pain he knows Hannah hides.  His beloved is his heart and although he cares for his second wife and loves the children she gave him, he is not fully at peace.

We also read about the second wife and her view.  Her jealousy of Hannah, her love of Elkanah and the pain of feeling unwanted.  It was indeed an eye-opener to view Hannah’s nemesis in a different light. And there is one of the lessons…. what is behind the actions of others?

The dynamics of the family unit created by Elkanah and his two wives are shown by the author to have suspicion, jealousy, hatred, and so much pain. Through these dynamics and the ending, she provides, the author gives the reader some thoughts to dwell on.  A Christian will not help but think are we living up to the example Hannah set in her love of God?  Have we placed our complete trust in God as she did through the storms we face in our lives?

 

“A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story” is beautiful and one you will enjoy from the first to the last page.  I hope you give it chance and I would love to hear your comments and if you feel the same as I do.

Enjoy Hannah’s story!