What do those words convey to you? In just reading them, do you sense a longing for that type of peace?
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
Sometimes my spirit cries out for that rest, overwhelmed with stress and burdens that I seem to gather up on a regular basis. Why do I carry them? It is not necessary. It is not in God’s plan or design for me. I need to remember on a regular basis to lay my burdens down at Jesus’ feet.
To experience His peace.
Shelter of the Most High
by Connilyn Cossette
Series: Cities of Refuge #2
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date October 2, 2018
Genres: Biblical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Israel Creation to the Judges
Main Character Ages: 15-18, 28-24
Written for: Adults
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?
I would like to thank Celebrate Lit, Netgalley for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Snatched away from her island home by pirates along with her cousin, Sofea knew she could never go back. When they were picked up on the beach of Canaan by warriors she could not understand, she fully expected the worst.
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the sense of what it would be like to be completely immersed in a culture where I couldn’t speak the language or be understood, and where the culture was a mystery to me. The way the author helped me experience Sofea’s confusion was remarkable. I really liked her character, the strength and fierce determination she showed despite circumstances that appeared to be dire.
Eitan was so interesting! He apparently was introduced in A Light on the Hill along with his mother, Moriyah. (I really need to read that book!) Now, as a man of twenty years, he is struggling with a desire to be able to fight for Yahweh along with his mother’s husband, and yet he can’t leave Kedesh.
Oh, speaking of Kedesh! I have a completely new understanding of the Cities of Refuge that were set up in Israel now. Not that I’d given them much thought, but now I have a sense that though they were a place of refuge, they were also a prison of sorts. The very fact that by simply stepping outside the walls, the Avenger of Blood could take your life would be quite confining!
I can’t believe I have not read any of this author’s books before and plan to remedy that. Starting with book 1 of this series. That said, I didn’t feel like I was lost as I read this one, it really could stand alone. I want to read the first so I can know everything that has happened already!
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
Christian Centered book Reviews, 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:
- All five of Conni’s novels, including Shelter of the Most High
- 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