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.
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Author Connilyn Cossette always writes a solid story that is a pleasure to read, and that is the case again with To Dwell Among Cedars. I really enjoyed reading this story, and am looking forward to its sequel!
Cossette immerses her readers in the scenes that take place. I felt the terror of an earthquake, the horror of a plague, the comfort of love, and the awe inspired by God's presence and judgement.
This book was written in first person from two perspectives. Cossette manages this format well, and it allows the reader to understand the characters' motivation. What I enjoyed about the characters was that they were committed to doing what was right, based on what they knew. And as their knowledge increased, they were willing to make changes in their thought processes, convictions, and actions. Eliora was brave and committed to taking care of her younger brother. Ronen was kind, but had lost his first love for Yahweh. Both are great characters, but the real hero of this story is Azuvah. Azuvah had been kidnapped from her Hebrew family by Philistines when she was eleven years old. She continued to pray to God in Hebrew, and recite the Bible passages she had memorized, and remember the historical accounts of her people. She eventually became the nursemaid to Eliora and her brother Natan, and not only kept them physically safe when they were young, but would recite the prayers, the Tenach, and the teachings to the children so they learned them and learned Hebrew as well. Eliora's trust in Azuvah and Azuvah's faith in Yahweh saved her life and gave her the direction she needed at critical moments in her life.
There are many life lessons to be learned in this book, naturally as the story unfolds. I highly recommend it for readers of Biblical fiction. Readers of Cossette's work will enjoy this as thoroughly as her previous novels.
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes. The thoughts expressed here are my own.