free hit counter code To Dwell Among Cedars - GoBooks - Download Free Book
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

To Dwell Among Cedars

Availability: Ready to download

As they fight for the soul of Israel, will they find healing for their own? Eight years ago, after the Philistines surrendered the stolen Ark of the Covenant back to the Israelites, Eliora and her brother left their Philistine homeland to follow it to the community of Kiryat-Yearim. Though they both were lovingly enfolded into a Levite family that guards the Ark, Eliora can As they fight for the soul of Israel, will they find healing for their own? Eight years ago, after the Philistines surrendered the stolen Ark of the Covenant back to the Israelites, Eliora and her brother left their Philistine homeland to follow it to the community of Kiryat-Yearim. Though they both were lovingly enfolded into a Levite family that guards the Ark, Eliora can't stop feeling like she doesn't belong. Meanwhile, a faction of discontent Hebrews finds Kiryat-Yearim to be an unfit resting place and believes that the sacred vessel should be in the hands of the priests who mean to restore the Holy of Holies in a new location. Under the guise of gathering Hebrews to worship together for the festivals, Levite musician Ronen has been sent by his uncle to find where the Ark has been hidden and steal it back. But Ronen never expected that the Philistine girl he rescued years ago would now be part of the very family he's tasked to deceive. Ronen's attempts to charm Eliora into revealing the location of the Ark lead them in unexpected directions, as they must battle betrayal and fear to help establish Israel's leadership for a better future.


Compare
Ads Banner

As they fight for the soul of Israel, will they find healing for their own? Eight years ago, after the Philistines surrendered the stolen Ark of the Covenant back to the Israelites, Eliora and her brother left their Philistine homeland to follow it to the community of Kiryat-Yearim. Though they both were lovingly enfolded into a Levite family that guards the Ark, Eliora can As they fight for the soul of Israel, will they find healing for their own? Eight years ago, after the Philistines surrendered the stolen Ark of the Covenant back to the Israelites, Eliora and her brother left their Philistine homeland to follow it to the community of Kiryat-Yearim. Though they both were lovingly enfolded into a Levite family that guards the Ark, Eliora can't stop feeling like she doesn't belong. Meanwhile, a faction of discontent Hebrews finds Kiryat-Yearim to be an unfit resting place and believes that the sacred vessel should be in the hands of the priests who mean to restore the Holy of Holies in a new location. Under the guise of gathering Hebrews to worship together for the festivals, Levite musician Ronen has been sent by his uncle to find where the Ark has been hidden and steal it back. But Ronen never expected that the Philistine girl he rescued years ago would now be part of the very family he's tasked to deceive. Ronen's attempts to charm Eliora into revealing the location of the Ark lead them in unexpected directions, as they must battle betrayal and fear to help establish Israel's leadership for a better future.

30 review for To Dwell Among Cedars

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Geaney

    If there were an official Connilyn Cossette Fan Club, I could count myself among the founding members. I have followed her writing career ever since I read her tweet in March 2015 where she mentioned the manuscript for her novel based on the Exodus. By April of the following year, I was enthusiastically sharing my review of her debut novel Counted with the Stars. What I loved then and what keeps drawing me back is Cossette's impeccable gift for storytelling. Each story is a harmonious blend of w If there were an official Connilyn Cossette Fan Club, I could count myself among the founding members. I have followed her writing career ever since I read her tweet in March 2015 where she mentioned the manuscript for her novel based on the Exodus. By April of the following year, I was enthusiastically sharing my review of her debut novel Counted with the Stars. What I loved then and what keeps drawing me back is Cossette's impeccable gift for storytelling. Each story is a harmonious blend of word choice, pacing, biblical themes, and wonderfully complex characters; and this is true of her latest release To Dwell Among Cedars. To Dwell Among Cedars is unique for this genre in that it's set between 1 Samuel 6 and 2 Samuel 6 in a period of time where Scripture is silent. Anyone who has read the Old Testament knows the story of how the ark of the LORD was taken captive by the Philistines and then returned on a cow-drawn cart. What if two Philistine orphans happened to follow that cart and how might the presence of the ark have affected the men of Kiriath-jearim or the home of Abinadab where the ark came to rest? These are the questions Cossette posed and then set about fleshing out in her novel. Even though I prefer books in this genre to lean heavily upon the truth of God's word, the author's use of creative license did not detract from my enjoyment. Knowing the historical context, you would expect to find the themes of God's judgment, sovereignty, and provision. While these are present, the most dominant theme is that of adoption. Cossette uses Arisa (Eliora) and Lukio's (Natan) adoption into a physical family became the foundation for expounding upon the beauty of the believer's adoption into God's spiritual family.   I would be remiss not to mention Eliora and Ronen's relationship. Following their initial meeting in Beth Shemesh, 8 years would lapse before they would be reunited in the home of Abinadab. In the interim, Ronen would be changed greatly by his uncle's radical beliefs. Unbeknownst to Eliora, God would use the strength of her faith and character to break down the walls of his heart. To me, this spoke to the importance of living faithful and righteous lives. In closing, I'd like to say that his book held all the admirable traits of Connilyn Cossette's previous novels. If you are not already a fan, the book may appeal to you based on Eliora and Natan strong sibling bond, the beauty of adoption, a predisposition to books that explore the gray areas of Israel's history, or the allure of a transformational love story. In short, I expect this book to appeal to a wide audience. 4.5/5 Stars I received this book from the publisher through the NetGalley review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    Can I please rate this book a million stars?? 😍😍 This was my first Connilyn Cossette book and I can promise you it will not be my last. I have only read a handful of Biblical Fiction novels in my lifetime, but everytime I do, I fall more in love with this genre. I loved how I was able to remember certain events that happened in 1st Samuel that was written within these pages. It was so cool and I LOVED it!! The characters...oh my word, these characters! You want a unique set of characters that wi Can I please rate this book a million stars?? 😍😍 This was my first Connilyn Cossette book and I can promise you it will not be my last. I have only read a handful of Biblical Fiction novels in my lifetime, but everytime I do, I fall more in love with this genre. I loved how I was able to remember certain events that happened in 1st Samuel that was written within these pages. It was so cool and I LOVED it!! The characters...oh my word, these characters! You want a unique set of characters that will keep you on your toes, well look no further because this book literally had the best set of characters EVER! Arisa/Eliora was such an amazing female protagonist. I loved everything about her. I honestly related to her on so many levels. She had a kind, gentle spirit, but she was a people pleasures who felt like she had to earn people's love rather than people just giving it freely. I loved watching her grow throughout this book. And I really loved how raw her character was, it was so nice to be able to relate to a characters struggles. Ronen was literally the perfect definition of a cinnamon roll (well besides when he was acting stupid, so he really is a stupid cinnamon roll for a good chunk of the book)! 😂 He was so sweet and I literally melted in my chair multiple times while reading this. I loved watching him grow, learn, and discover things in his own. I literally was silently cheering for the good last five or so chapters of this book! Sadly it is 2am right now, so I could cheer out loud, lol! All of the side characters were just as amazing and heart warming as our two main characters. They really made this story so much more special and heart warming!! The romance in this book y'all is so good! I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this couple. My word, they are the absolute cutest!! I love how it's slightly a slow burn, but you know that they both are interested before they do. It also has a slight forbidden romance vibe to it too so it just made it all the more fun to read, squeal, and swoon about! 😉😂😍 As expected (since it is a Biblical Fiction novel) this book was filled with so many scripture references and themes. I just loved reading this book right now in my life because I was just vaguely learning about this part of the Bible in the Bible class this last week. So it was super cool to see a fictional story based on some true, historical events! Mrs. Cossette also has a beautiful gift in writing that should not be missed. She wrote in a way that drew me in from page one and kept me till the very end of the book! Even if you do not like Biblical fiction, or you have never tried it, this is a book that you should at least attempt to read! This book was so worth staying up till 2:30am on a Sunday early, early morning for. I don't know what I will think when I get up at 8, but this book was definitely worth the lack of sleep for. If y'all have not read this book yet please do! You will not regret it!! This book is AMAZING!!!! It was definitely worth the 2 month wait that I had to endure (thanks library 🙄😉😂). It seriously...READ.THIS.BOOK!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    MJSH

    "We can never guess what may come of our obedience, but that is not for us to know anyhow. We are not the All-Knowing One. We are simply called to 'hear and obey' and to love Adonai our God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our strength." Another incredible, heart-wrenching, soul-stirring Biblical fiction from Connilyn Cossette! To Dwell Among Cedars starts a new series The Covenant House, set during the time of the judges when Samuel starts his ministry. The story starts with the Ark's "We can never guess what may come of our obedience, but that is not for us to know anyhow. We are not the All-Knowing One. We are simply called to 'hear and obey' and to love Adonai our God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our strength." Another incredible, heart-wrenching, soul-stirring Biblical fiction from Connilyn Cossette! To Dwell Among Cedars starts a new series The Covenant House, set during the time of the judges when Samuel starts his ministry. The story starts with the Ark's capture by the Philistines and the subsequent arrival of the Ark at Beth-Shemesh, and unfolds with the years following the Ark being ensconced within the mountain village of Kiryat-Yearim. The author has an uncanny ability to transport you to this faraway land and place you in the middle of the thriving community to see, hear, taste, smell, touch, and feel the daily activities, the novelty of hosting Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashanah) celebration, the unrest and division within the Levites, and the spiritual apathy and ignorance rampant in Israel during that time. Painted on this vivid backdrop, there are profound faith lessons on sense of worth and purpose, God's immeasurable grace and mercy, and the meaning of God's adoption of us as His children. If you enjoy Biblical fiction, this book is a must read. It will stay with you long after you've finished the book and have you going back to 1 Samuel 4-7 to see these Biblical passages with fresh eyes. I loved Eliora, the rescued Philistine girl who becomes adopted into a loving and devoted Levite family that guards the Ark. She's loving and tender with a servant's heart but still struggles with her Philistine heritage and her place within the arms of a loving and gracious Yahweh as well as within her family. Her younger brother Natan (Lukio) grabbed my heart with his impulsive and rebellious ways that are fueled by rejection and resentment and I can't wait for the next book in the series where we'll get to meet the grown-up version of this young man. Ronen is so lovely in his genius and dedication as a Levite musician, devotion and loyalty to family, sense of justice (though sometimes misguided), and tenderness. There is awe, wonder and splendor of Yahweh seen with ethereal beauty of worship within these pages as well as betrayal, sweet romance, and power of familial love. Definitely in my top 20 reads of 2020! I received a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    Beautifully written fictional account based upon Judges 21:25, 1 Samuel 4:1-11 and 1 Samuel 6:19-7:2. I love that the author begins the two main sections of the novel with the passage that serves as a base for the story about to unfold. The Ark of the Covenant is a fascinating part of the Bible and To Dwell Among Cedars uses facts from the Bible combined with the author's imagination to create a plausible story for two young Philistines: Arisa and her brother Lukio. Arisa and Lukio follow the Ar Beautifully written fictional account based upon Judges 21:25, 1 Samuel 4:1-11 and 1 Samuel 6:19-7:2. I love that the author begins the two main sections of the novel with the passage that serves as a base for the story about to unfold. The Ark of the Covenant is a fascinating part of the Bible and To Dwell Among Cedars uses facts from the Bible combined with the author's imagination to create a plausible story for two young Philistines: Arisa and her brother Lukio. Arisa and Lukio follow the Ark of the Covenant at the urge of their Hebrew caretaker. They begin new lives with new names in a loving and welcoming Levite family. A group of disgruntled Hebrews, including Levite musician Ronen, seek to capture the Ark. Character development, historical detail, geographic descriptions and story line combined with themes of adoption and acceptance make for a powerful Biblical Fiction novel. I particularly loved the analogy of tree grafting to adoption. Highly recommended! My gratitude to publisher Bethany House for a complimentary copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Connilyn Cossettte is a master storyteller, her words holding me under their spell from the first to the last. Have you ever been so captivated by a story, that you did not want it to end? Eliora's journey both physically as well as spiritually is beautiful written, each page revealing layers of truth that are timeless. This reader appreciated the subtle theme of seeking God's presence in our lives in this fictional account of the Ark's journey into Philistia and its return to the Hebrew people. Connilyn Cossettte is a master storyteller, her words holding me under their spell from the first to the last. Have you ever been so captivated by a story, that you did not want it to end? Eliora's journey both physically as well as spiritually is beautiful written, each page revealing layers of truth that are timeless. This reader appreciated the subtle theme of seeking God's presence in our lives in this fictional account of the Ark's journey into Philistia and its return to the Hebrew people. The author's vivid prose brings to life the discord amongst the Hebrew people during the last days of the judges. Her attention to detail and research bring to life the stories of old. Highly recommend for fans of Biblical fiction. What keeps me returning to Cossette's books is that within delicately crafted stories, there are timeless truths and insights that speak to me. To Dwell Among Cedars is such a story and I cannot wait to read Lukio's story in the sequel. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    Connilyn Cossette's Biblical fiction is always wonderful, and the debut novel of her newest series was so well done. This book focuses on the time period in the early 1000's BC when the Ark of the Covenant was at Kiryat-Yearim. Cossette is a master storyteller and brings the disagreement between two groups of Levites over the resting place of the Ark to life as she weaves in excellent historical research as well as Old Testament events and characters of the period. I appreciated that the main fo Connilyn Cossette's Biblical fiction is always wonderful, and the debut novel of her newest series was so well done. This book focuses on the time period in the early 1000's BC when the Ark of the Covenant was at Kiryat-Yearim. Cossette is a master storyteller and brings the disagreement between two groups of Levites over the resting place of the Ark to life as she weaves in excellent historical research as well as Old Testament events and characters of the period. I appreciated that the main focus was on the Ark and that the romance between Risa and Ronen played a back story. I look forward to reading the second book in this series as we hopefully follow what happens to Risa's brother, Lukio. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Becky Lewis

    My heart is full upon completion of reading Connilyn Cossette’s newest offering, To Dwell Among Cedars, #1 The Covenant House. This Biblical fiction book contains everything I am looking for in its genre. Scriptural accuracy, while approaching an age-old narrative of Israel in Samuel’s time from a unique viewpoint of Philistine Arisa (Eliora). Cossette vividly portrays all the emotions- the terror, the fear, the astonishment, the romance, and the suspense. As the uncertainty of being orphans at My heart is full upon completion of reading Connilyn Cossette’s newest offering, To Dwell Among Cedars, #1 The Covenant House. This Biblical fiction book contains everything I am looking for in its genre. Scriptural accuracy, while approaching an age-old narrative of Israel in Samuel’s time from a unique viewpoint of Philistine Arisa (Eliora). Cossette vividly portrays all the emotions- the terror, the fear, the astonishment, the romance, and the suspense. As the uncertainty of being orphans at the whims and mercy of others is clearly shown, I couldn’t help myself from being drawn into Eliora’s life as she struggles for a sense of belonging and security, and ultimate love. Though she and Lukio(Natan) are adopted by generous and loving priest Elazer and his family, Eliora always feels herself an outcast. Ronen, a member of a different priestly line than Elazer, first finds Arisa and Lukio(Natan) as they follow the Ark back into Israeli territory after its Philistine capture. An orphan himself, he deals with some of the same insecurities of not belonging as Eliora. These are a driving force in his thoughts and actions. There we have wonderful, multiple storylines going. I loved Connilyn’s style-immediately warm and enticing you into the narrative, enveloping you into the ancient Biblical events very quickly. Cossette sets the stage with some unusual premises. Not once did I feel that believability was stretched. One other point that makes me greatly treasure this novel is the many nuggets of truth shared and spoken naturally in uncontrived conversation. Connilyn Cossette is a master in her world of Biblical fiction. I am very sad it will be another year before we can read Natan (Lukio’s) story. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, as well as NetGalley. I am voluntarily leaving this review. All thoughts are my own. Notable Quotables: “There is no magic in the box itself, Arisa. The power is that of the hand of Yahweh. It is merely a vessel, but one that signifies the sacred covenant between Israel and our God and above which has hovered the very shekinah of the Eternal One.” ”But the Eternal One was not made by man; there is no place you can go that he will not be with you.” ”He is the God Who Sees. There is no place you can go to escape his vigilant watch over you.” ”It is not the Ark you must follow, my precious child. It is the God who made you.” ”...So why do you work so hard for a place at their table when you already have one?” "... you are working so hard to earn something you’ve already been given.” ”Because you are the woman the Creator made you to be, no matter where you come from or what you look like.” ”No matter what decision I made, the cost would be great... the cost of going against the will of the Eternal One was greater by far.”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Clara

    When the Cities of Refuge series ended, there was growing tension between the Israelites and the foreign nations surrounding them. In "To Dwell Among Cedars", we learn that this tension has escalated to the point that there is now contention between the Israelites themselves. And yet, there is still goodness and hope. And family. Which is defined beyond blood or nationality. Connilyn Cossette reverently reminds us of the importance of community, especially help each other keep the faith and perse When the Cities of Refuge series ended, there was growing tension between the Israelites and the foreign nations surrounding them. In "To Dwell Among Cedars", we learn that this tension has escalated to the point that there is now contention between the Israelites themselves. And yet, there is still goodness and hope. And family. Which is defined beyond blood or nationality. Connilyn Cossette reverently reminds us of the importance of community, especially help each other keep the faith and persevere. She endears us to a pair of siblings as lost as any of us, and a boy trying to come to grasp his own grief. Moreover, it is a story of a God whose creativity and beauty surpasses understanding. *I received a review copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Van

    To Dwell among Cedars is Connilyn Cossette's newest book, and Book 1 of the Covenant House series. This book is a complete departure from the Cities of Refuge series and Out From Egypt trilogy, as Cossette moves forward in history to the time of Samuel and the tenuous relationships between the Hebrews and the Philistines. I immediately grew to adore the sweet and caring Eliora with her big heart and her even bigger faith, and was captivated by Ronen's character, the vivid descriptions of his son To Dwell among Cedars is Connilyn Cossette's newest book, and Book 1 of the Covenant House series. This book is a complete departure from the Cities of Refuge series and Out From Egypt trilogy, as Cossette moves forward in history to the time of Samuel and the tenuous relationships between the Hebrews and the Philistines. I immediately grew to adore the sweet and caring Eliora with her big heart and her even bigger faith, and was captivated by Ronen's character, the vivid descriptions of his songs, and the dialogue detailing his inner turmoil. There's just something melodic about Connilyn Cossette's writing style that pulls you in from page one, inviting you to take part in another Biblical adventure. I must admit, I haven't read much Ark of the Covenant-related fiction, if any at all. My knowledge of the many journeys of the Ark consisted of what I'd heard in disjointed sermons preached over the years, a basic understanding of the timeline of the Old Testament, and whatever my childhood brain managed to hold onto from Indiana Jones movies (kidding... at least on that last part). Connilyn Cossette's To Dwell Among Cedars brings the plight of the Ark and of the ancient Israelites who guarded it to life in a new way, connecting the historical facts and scriptural truths with well-written fiction, charismatic and relatable characters, a sweeping romance, and reminders of who God is and was yesterday, tomorrow, and today. I am anxiously awaiting Lukio's story, that is, the story of Eliora's wayward younger brother. The bits and pieces we got of his story in To Dwell Among Cedars were simply not enough, and I am craving more! *I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    quiltingbeautyandbooks ~ Stephanie

    THIS IS A NETGALLEY REVIEW #netgalleyreview I soooo enjoyed this book!!! Connilyn went in to great detail with history, traditions and gave amazing analogies, I absolutely loved it. Tho a slave, Azuvah never gave up on her faith and her people. She was entrusted with two young children with whom she would sacrifice her life. Eliora and her brother Natan follows the Ark of the Covenant and is found in "enemy" territory and witnessed what many believed to have been a thunderstorm striking many men. Eli THIS IS A NETGALLEY REVIEW #netgalleyreview I soooo enjoyed this book!!! Connilyn went in to great detail with history, traditions and gave amazing analogies, I absolutely loved it. Tho a slave, Azuvah never gave up on her faith and her people. She was entrusted with two young children with whom she would sacrifice her life. Eliora and her brother Natan follows the Ark of the Covenant and is found in "enemy" territory and witnessed what many believed to have been a thunderstorm striking many men. Eliora knew from that point on that she could not live far from the presence of the Ark. Natan, is young, he only knows that before fleeing his home, he was just getting the attention he craved from his uncle and now that was gone. Ronen, a Levite, lost his father and brother on the battlefield and his mother abandoned him and left him in the care of his uncle. He'd do anything to get his uncle's approval. Figuring out, learning and heeding the truth of Yahweh can lead to decisions one would have to make that could lead to separation of all that you know. Seeking power and control, anger, revenge, acceptance, adoption and love are all so entwined in this book. This book was so full of spiritual nuggets for me, I would love to share them all with you, but I can't. SO I RECCOMEND THAT YOU PICK UP THIS AMAZING BOOK!!! Trust me, you will love it just as much as I did! Tho I received this book for free, my opinions are that of my own. I can't wait to purchase the physical copy to add to my library.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    I don’t know how she does it, but with every book Connilyn Cossette manages to draw you into the world of Old Testament Israel, and it’s like you’re actually transported there and left my living room behind. Ok I think I partly know how she does it and that is an impressive amount of research, but still, to be able to have a setting like this is just amazing. Also, tell me the last time you read a book set in the time of the judges, just before Samuel. I couldn’t think of a single one, and that I don’t know how she does it, but with every book Connilyn Cossette manages to draw you into the world of Old Testament Israel, and it’s like you’re actually transported there and left my living room behind. Ok I think I partly know how she does it and that is an impressive amount of research, but still, to be able to have a setting like this is just amazing. Also, tell me the last time you read a book set in the time of the judges, just before Samuel. I couldn’t think of a single one, and that is another reason that makes it so original: she manages to make you look anew at a tiny piece of the Bible. We start as the Ark of Covenant is taken by the Philistines, where it causes great havoc, and the kings decide to return the Ark to the Israelites to stave off the pestilences. And then she picks two Philistine children as the main focus of the story. And what a story it is... we start off in Philistine itself, with a clear picture of how a heathen culture and religion functioned. It was quite a brutal story, but always with hope, and the children are told to follow the ark, that’s where they’ll feel peace and shelter and that’s exactly what they do. They are adopted in a faithful family who guards the Ark - and grow up. Eliora, the eldest sister and main character, as the nagging feeling that she needs to earn her place and tries to fit in, that she might not be enough, and works from day till night with a smile on her face because she does honestly enjoy it. She grows an amazing garden, and her faith in God is unwavering. Her brother however, is having a hard time. He doesn’t really want to become Hebrew and is quite troubled and has given up om fitting in. As the Jewish feast of Jom Teroea draws near, Levites from all over arrive at the house, among them her former rescuer, Ronen, but he now has a whole other mission as he is charged with finding the Ark and betraying the family that took Eliora in... but meeting Eliora, his heart is torn in two, as they both find healing in each other. I absolutely loved this story, every minute of it. The characters grew so much and you really felt the affection growing because of that. The conflict was interesting, and you even get a little invested in where the Ark actually is lol! I had some interesting guesses... all in all, I can really recommend this story that has both a lot of depth and adventure. I received a free copy through Netgalley but it hasn’t influenced my opinions.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christine Indorf

    This is my 1st Biblical Fiction in awhile. For a time that is all I read. I do enjoy the genre, and it was nice to get back reading it. The story starts when the Philistines take the Ark of the Covenant and the trouble they suffer because of it. Eilora and her brother follow the ark for safety and they become a park of the Hebrew family and live next to the Ark. One of the men who helped Eilora as a child comes back for a mission, to steal the ark. He did not realize that his feeling for Eilora This is my 1st Biblical Fiction in awhile. For a time that is all I read. I do enjoy the genre, and it was nice to get back reading it. The story starts when the Philistines take the Ark of the Covenant and the trouble they suffer because of it. Eilora and her brother follow the ark for safety and they become a park of the Hebrew family and live next to the Ark. One of the men who helped Eilora as a child comes back for a mission, to steal the ark. He did not realize that his feeling for Eilora might betray him and his mission. I really liked the story. Connilyn Cossette finds a small passage in the Bible and writes a story from it, like this one. This book opens your eyes when the Philistines took the ark and troubles because of it. The romance was a nice touch and the story of the ark was wonderful. Ronen didn't believe the ark had anymore power but when you read you find out otherwise. I look forward to book 2, you follow Eilora brother who feels he doesn't fit in with the Hebrews. If you want to get into Biblical Fiction I highly recommend reading one of Connilyn Cossettes books and I especially recommend this series!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Bartlett

    I have read all of Connilyn Cossette's books and she has never ceased to amaze me yet. From her first series, Out of Egypt, and then her second series that takes place in the cities of refuge, I have loved it all! Her ideas for stories always captivate me and anything she writes, I will read! I have read all of Connilyn Cossette's books and she has never ceased to amaze me yet. From her first series, Out of Egypt, and then her second series that takes place in the cities of refuge, I have loved it all! Her ideas for stories always captivate me and anything she writes, I will read!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cover Lover Book Review

    First, I have to gush over the cover art. It makes my heart happy to see a book cover that makes me stop and sigh, and this one does that. It not only sets the mood for the story inside, but it transports me to Biblical times. It’s so exciting to begin reading a new book series, especially when it’s a biblical fiction series written by Connilyn Cossette! I believe I’ve read most, if not all of her stories and have rated them all with 5 stars. Yes, they’re that good! The story begins with young Eli First, I have to gush over the cover art. It makes my heart happy to see a book cover that makes me stop and sigh, and this one does that. It not only sets the mood for the story inside, but it transports me to Biblical times. It’s so exciting to begin reading a new book series, especially when it’s a biblical fiction series written by Connilyn Cossette! I believe I’ve read most, if not all of her stories and have rated them all with 5 stars. Yes, they’re that good! The story begins with young Elisa and her brother Lukio, Philistines under the care of Azuvah, a Hebrew slave. Oh, how I love Azuvah, who stays true to her faith and convictions in a difficult environment. When an urgent time arises, selfless Azuvah urges Elisa and Lukio to run away and follow the Ark of the Covenant. There escape from a dreadful future is pivotal, heartbreaking, and inspiring. It was common in Biblical times to receive a name change from the Lord during a pivotal time in someone’s life and faith, and when Elisa’s name becomes Eliora and Lukio becomes Natan, the story takes on a new life as well. To Dwell Among Cedars, the first book in The Covenant House series, is captivating, heart-breaking, heart-pounding, and stirring. I effortlessly sank into this story and enjoyed the varying points of view. I stayed up late reading, unable to put the story down, for upon reaching the end of each chapter the story urged me to read further. The research that went into writing this story is evident and taught me so much about the customs and lives of people in that time in history. And I just love it when a story teaches me something new! Walking in Arisa’s shoes has been quite an experience. I look forward to the next book in this series, delving deeper into Natan’s life. Connilyn Cossette has done it again, becoming a favorite read of the year. A gorgeous cover, a captivating story, and brilliant storytelling. #2021Favorites #BiblicalFiction #TheCovenantHouse #MustRead #CoverLove Dɪsᴄʟᴏsᴜʀᴇ: I ʀᴇᴄᴇɪᴠᴇᴅ ᴀ ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟɪᴍᴇɴᴛᴀʀʏ ᴄᴏᴘʏ ᴏғ ᴛʜɪs ʙᴏᴏᴋ. Mʏ ʀᴇᴠɪᴇᴡ ᴡᴀs ɴᴏᴛ ɪɴғʟᴜᴇɴᴄᴇᴅ.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Connilyn Cossette simply stuns me with every new novel she releases! Her characters are always stellar and before I even realize what’s happened, I end up completely immersed in the landscapes of the Old Testament. She has a gift for spinning a wonderful story from such a small amount of text and the hours of research that must have gone into this book shine through. From the Philistine city of Ashdod to the mountain top of Kiryat-Yearim, Arisa and Lukio face the loss of family and the emotional Connilyn Cossette simply stuns me with every new novel she releases! Her characters are always stellar and before I even realize what’s happened, I end up completely immersed in the landscapes of the Old Testament. She has a gift for spinning a wonderful story from such a small amount of text and the hours of research that must have gone into this book shine through. From the Philistine city of Ashdod to the mountain top of Kiryat-Yearim, Arisa and Lukio face the loss of family and the emotional turmoil of joining another, becoming Eliora and Natan. After losing his family to the Philistine’s, Ronen embraces the political views of his uncle, along with his scheming. With opposing factions amidst the Levitical community and a plot to shift control of the Ark, Eliora and Ronen must decide where they stand and what they are willing to sacrifice for their beliefs. There was a little bit of cliffhanger to the ending that has me more than anticipating Lukio’s tale. If you are looking for some great Biblical fiction, this is a book you will want to check out. Fans of Jill Eileen Smith, Tessa Afshar and Mesu Andrews absolutely need to check out Connilyn Cossette’s books! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Becca-Rae Weidel

    Once again Connilyn Cossette has proved herself as one of my absolute favorite authors of Biblical fiction. Her writing is impeccable, creating imagery so tangible you feel yourself being sucked through the pages into the very setting of the characters. I had been VERY impatiently waiting for this one, and I was not disappointed in the least! I'm only sad I have to wait again for the next in the series to release. Eliora was such an amazing character, and I felt myself clinging desperately to her Once again Connilyn Cossette has proved herself as one of my absolute favorite authors of Biblical fiction. Her writing is impeccable, creating imagery so tangible you feel yourself being sucked through the pages into the very setting of the characters. I had been VERY impatiently waiting for this one, and I was not disappointed in the least! I'm only sad I have to wait again for the next in the series to release. Eliora was such an amazing character, and I felt myself clinging desperately to her story hoping for her healing and happiness. She had such a heart of gold yet struggled to grasp her full worth. She endlessly continued to put more weight on her shoulders, believing that it was what she did for others that earned her her place and love in their lives. I could relate to her in more ways than I'd like to admit, but it served to only hold me more captive in her story.  I liked that Ronen was a complex character, who was flawed yet genuine. He looked to his uncle and cousin to help fill the void that had been created when he lost his family, and just like Eliora, he was looking for a place where he could belong and feel loved and wanted. Despite wanting to make his uncle proud he was also seeking God's will, and that was more important to him than any human relationship. He went through a lot of growth throughout the story, and  his desire to be obedient to God made him another character that was easy to root for. I honestly couldn't recommend this novel enough!! I absolutely ADORED this story, and was not ready to let the characters go when I finished reading. I now sit impatiently waiting for the next book in the series. Absolutely amazing!  *I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Park

    This book is a thrilling addition to the world of Biblical fiction. On the surface, it is such a simple story: broken girl meets broken boy...both experience the power of God. Then there is the layer of it being set at the beginning of 1 Samuel and seeing life through the eyes of the people at the time of Israel's last judge, Samuel. Add in the element of a Philistine perspective. Next comes the story of adoption, both literal and spiritual. Throw in the drama of a plot to steal the Ark of the C This book is a thrilling addition to the world of Biblical fiction. On the surface, it is such a simple story: broken girl meets broken boy...both experience the power of God. Then there is the layer of it being set at the beginning of 1 Samuel and seeing life through the eyes of the people at the time of Israel's last judge, Samuel. Add in the element of a Philistine perspective. Next comes the story of adoption, both literal and spiritual. Throw in the drama of a plot to steal the Ark of the Covenant. And yet, I haven't even scratched the surface of this amazing book! The world building in this book is extraordinary and puts you in the heart of the action. Connilynn Cossette has once again succeeded in creating a masterful novel that leaves you wanting more. I received this book from the publisher through the NetGalley review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christie

    I absolutely loved this story by Connilyn Cossette and am so happy that it is the beginning of a new series. The author clearly did a lot of research for this book and discusses some of her findings at the end. I am someone who reads the Bible and doesn’t put too much thought into the unwritten details. The Bible states the Ark of the Covenant stayed with Abinidab & Eleazar for 20 years. Cossette creates a story of what those first eight years may have looked like in the place where the Ark resi I absolutely loved this story by Connilyn Cossette and am so happy that it is the beginning of a new series. The author clearly did a lot of research for this book and discusses some of her findings at the end. I am someone who reads the Bible and doesn’t put too much thought into the unwritten details. The Bible states the Ark of the Covenant stayed with Abinidab & Eleazar for 20 years. Cossette creates a story of what those first eight years may have looked like in the place where the Ark resided. Stories like this get me to realize there were people and events going on around the Ark. Overall, I loved the story and the characters. They all had their strengths and weaknesses, just as we all do. I can't wait to read the next book in this series. I received this book from the publisher through the NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andria

    Another excellent read from Connilyn Cossette! She weaves the stories she writes so gracefully from her meticulous historical research and first-hand knowledge of the geographical area to her beautifully crafted characters to make these stories come to life. I love being able to picture each scene in my mind as if I could reach out and touch each person. And though the book is fiction, there is always truth woven gently in to the story. As with many of her previous books, I was so immersed in th Another excellent read from Connilyn Cossette! She weaves the stories she writes so gracefully from her meticulous historical research and first-hand knowledge of the geographical area to her beautifully crafted characters to make these stories come to life. I love being able to picture each scene in my mind as if I could reach out and touch each person. And though the book is fiction, there is always truth woven gently in to the story. As with many of her previous books, I was so immersed in the lives of the characters that I was brought to tears at the end. Highly recommended for any reader who not only enjoys Biblical fiction, but historical fiction in general. And to my great delight every time I pick up one of her books, a good clean romance as well. I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ang

    Connilyn Cossette does it again! She took a story from the Bible that was not well known and brought it to life! I love this author because she dares to do just that, take biblical stories that are not so well known and weave her own ideas into them but staying true to the Word of God and history. This story is taken from 1 Samuel 4:1-11 where the Israelites, under the High Priest Eli's sons Hophni & Phineas, take the Ark of the Covenant that represents the place where God's presence dwells with Connilyn Cossette does it again! She took a story from the Bible that was not well known and brought it to life! I love this author because she dares to do just that, take biblical stories that are not so well known and weave her own ideas into them but staying true to the Word of God and history. This story is taken from 1 Samuel 4:1-11 where the Israelites, under the High Priest Eli's sons Hophni & Phineas, take the Ark of the Covenant that represents the place where God's presence dwells with His people, into a battle with the Philistines. They did not seek the Lord first, and end up losing the battle to the Philistines, but also lose the Ark to them. The Philistines capture the Ark and trouble ensues for them because of it. The story picks up in Ashdod, a Philistine city, where we meet two of the main characters Arisa and her brother Lukio, who are orphaned by their father after their mother dies giving birth to Lukio. Arisa and Lukio are cared for by their Hebrew slave who comes with them as they are dumped on their aunt and uncles doorstep. Their aunt and uncle tolerate them but the Hebrew slave Azuvah is the one who loves them and cares for them. She teaches them her language and tells them all about the One True God, Yahweh and all the stories about Him that were handed down from generation to generation to her, and the place where His presence dwells, the Ark of the Covenant. As the Philistines bring the ark to the city of Ashdod, trouble brakes out majorly for the Philistines and that leads to many of them getting tumors, their main god Dagon's huge stone body being broken by an earthquake, which caused many of the residents of Ashdod have so many problems such as famine and sickness, and that led to Arisa & Lukio's aunt & uncle both dying. After the death of their aunt and uncle, Arisa & Lukio's cousin Mataro wants to send Arisa to be a temple prostitute, and he wants to make money off young Lukio making him fist fight for money. Azuvah risks her own life to save Arisa & Lukio, and tells them to follow the Ark because she knew the Philistines would eventually take it back to the place where it belongs, among the Hebrews, her relatives. The opportunity for escape happens, and Azuvah tells Arisa to "“Follow the Ark, Arisa. Do not turn to the right or to the left, and do not stop until it dwells among the cedars and you are sheltered in perfect peace.” This book tells the story of how Arisa, who takes her brother with her and flees for their lives, obeys and follows the ark back to where it belonged: among the Hebrew people. This story will weave a beautiful tale of how two Philistine orphans follow the Ark and are grafted into God's family, and how He shows them His love and restoration through a family who looks past their lineage, and who sees them for who they are. It also tell the tale of the Ark as it was brought back amongst the Hebrews and the struggles there were regarding who rightfully should care for it, hence we learn about the Levite Ronen who ends up becoming a very important person in Arisa's and her families lives...but with a plot that will totally surprise you!! The Lord really touched me personally with this book, but if I share I will give too much away. But through Connilyn's story, God spoke to my heart and encouraged me so much in my own life, and I can't recommend this book enough! This story was fascinating, interesting, unpredictable, beautiful, and just a great story! So please take the time to read this and all.her other books. I pray God will speak to your heart and encourage you as He did me! So worth the time!!! Here's an excerpt from the book. It is a discussion between Eliora and her adopted Hebrew mother when she is scared to move forward with her adult life...Her mom understands and shares: “Oh, my precious girl, of course you belong here. Yahweh brought you to us in his marvelous generosity, and I cannot thank him enough for doing so. But for as much as I selfishly would love for you to remain here, he may have plans for you beyond this mountain, whether that is with Ronen or with another man who will see the great worth in you and plead with us to make you his wife and the mother of his children.” Every bone in my body recoiled at the suggestion of leaving Kiryat-Yearim. “But I must stay. This is where the Ark is.” She tilted her head, studying my face intently. “And why must you be where the Ark is?” I chewed on my lip, gripping Ronen’s lyre even closer to my chest. “Because . . .” My voice dropped. “Because I feel safe here, in the place Azuvah told me I would find peace. And because it is nearby, I am at rest and know that Yahweh hears my prayers. When I go too far away, even down into town, I am . . . uneasy.” “Oh but, daughter, do you not remember that Yahweh is not a regional god like those of your people? He does not live on this mountain, or even within the Ark, although there have been times when the indwelling has resided upon its throne. The Ark itself is just a thing, fashioned by the hands of men, even though it was commissioned by Yahweh himself. But the Eternal One was not made by man; there is no place you can go that he will not be with you. Whether that is here, or Beit El, or Ashdod, or any other place. He is the God Who Sees. There is no place you can go to escape his vigilant watch over you. If it were not so, then he would not have heard our ancestors cry out to him from Egypt or see our sufferings there.” Then the mother reminds her about Sarah, Abrahams wife: “And what if she had refused?”my mother continued. “What if she had planted her sandals on the ground and refused to go with her husband? Refused the call of a God she could neither see nor hear? We can never guess what may come of our obedience, Eliora, but that is not for us to know anyhow. We are not the All-Knowing One. We are simply called to ‘hear and obey’and to love Adonai our God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our strength. I do not know what good things he has in store for you, but I will say this: if Ronen is one of those gifts, it would be disobedience to turn it away, even if that means leaving Kiryat-Yearim. It is not the Ark you must follow, my precious child. It is the God who made you.”

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ashton Dorow

    The queen of Biblical Fiction still reigns supreme! To Dwell Among Cedars is a fascinating look at a rather obscure portion of the Samuel-era of the Bible and the ancient Philistine culture. Connilyn has a way of taking events from the Bible, whether well-known or barely known, and making them come to vivid life. This strength is beautifully exhibited here, as I was sucked into Arisa/Eliora's and Lukio/Natan’s world from the very first chapter. It was fascinating to learn about Philistia, an anci The queen of Biblical Fiction still reigns supreme! To Dwell Among Cedars is a fascinating look at a rather obscure portion of the Samuel-era of the Bible and the ancient Philistine culture. Connilyn has a way of taking events from the Bible, whether well-known or barely known, and making them come to vivid life. This strength is beautifully exhibited here, as I was sucked into Arisa/Eliora's and Lukio/Natan’s world from the very first chapter. It was fascinating to learn about Philistia, an ancient kingdom still very much shrouded in mystery. And while I knew of the story of the Ark of the Covenant being stolen by the Philistines and then returned by a cart pulled by two cows with no driver, this wasn’t a story I’d ever given much thought to. After seeing it through the lens of this book, though, I’m completely fascinated by the story. What a strange sight that must have been! I loved how Conni used Eliora and Lukio’s Hebrew slave/caretaker, Azuvah, as not only a way for them to learn about Yahweh, but as the impetus for their flight from Philistia. The life of this sweet, old servant lays the foundation for the entire story and in fact, much of it hinges on the impact she has on the hearts of the characters. She was by far my favorite character of the book! There were other excellent characters as well, though–Eliora, Ronen, and Lukio. Each of them are very different from the other, but each struggling with different aspects of being grafted into new families. Eliora is thankful for those who have adopted her as their own, but she feels like she has to constantly prove herself in order to belong. Ronen is trying so hard to be a part of his uncle’s family, not realizing that in doing so he is running farther and farther from who he really is inside. And Lukio… poor Lukio. I grew frustrated with his constant anger and rebellion, but in the end I could see and understand just how broken he is. He has wounds deep in his soul from childhood that keep him from truly joining himself to the family that has welcomed him with arms wide open. His underlying fear of being abandoned by everyone he cares about struck me right in the heart, and now I am anxiously awaiting book two, Between the Wild Branches! Speaking of book two, I feel like there are so many questions I need answered and storylines I want to see play out. I'm hoping Connilyn will show us how Eliora and Ronen’s life unfolds following the events of the final chapter of this book, and of course, I am eager to see what happens in Lukio's life after that cliffhanger ending… But since book two starts TEN YEARS after this one, I have a feeling things won’t go quite like I expect. HOWEVER, Connilyn’s storytelling is always brilliant and I’m sure I and other reads will end up satisfied in the end. While I wasn’t quite as invested in this story as I was with some of her previous books (I think this was more the fault of the Christmas holidays and my reading time being limited, and not so much the book’s fault) the fascinating Biblical history and the depth and beauty of the message makes this book a can’t miss read for Biblical fiction lovers. 5/5 Stars! PS: That subtle tie in to the Out From Egypt series is EVERYTHING! **insert all the heart-eyes and cry-faces** Fans of that series, be on the lookout for this so you don’t miss it!! **I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review, but was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.**

  22. 5 out of 5

    V. Palmer

    My feelings on To Dwell among Cedars by Connilyn Cossette can be summed up with a verse: "It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out." Proverbs 25:2 In reading To Dwell among Cedars by Connilyn Cossette, I felt like I was not only privy to the glory that had been searched out for this fascinating blend of fact and fiction but also felt like a king as I searched through the pages of this exemplary journey for myself! Truly wonderful! First, let's talk a My feelings on To Dwell among Cedars by Connilyn Cossette can be summed up with a verse: "It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out." Proverbs 25:2 In reading To Dwell among Cedars by Connilyn Cossette, I felt like I was not only privy to the glory that had been searched out for this fascinating blend of fact and fiction but also felt like a king as I searched through the pages of this exemplary journey for myself! Truly wonderful! First, let's talk about the stunning setting in To Dwell among Cedars! Not only was it lush and descriptive with nods to earlier eras, the author opened up this particular era of the Bible in ways I had never experienced! I could see the conflict, doubts, factures within the nation of Israel. I could feel the religious, political, and spiritual struggles -- everything that had led the nation to this point. I felt like a scholar as I learned through this fictional tale. I was so deeply immersed! However good the setting, the characters and their respective yet intermingling spiritual journeys are what shined the brightest in To Dwell among Cedars! Eliora and Ronen's struggles and triumphs are so deeply, heart-wrenchingly relatable that I felt personal freedom through their story. The adoptive covenant with God was so beautifully reflected that I felt renewed in my spirit as a cherished child of God. And their love story -- though rift with betrayal and pain -- was a testament to God's forgiveness, grace, and redemption! I don't have enough words to describe how amazing this was! Five Stars ~ To Dwell among Cedars by Connilyn Cossette is an exemplary story in the Biblical Fiction genre! To Dwell among Cedars is the first book of the Covenant House Series. I can't wait to read the next book of this duology, Between the Wild Branches! Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ochegba

    Wow! It took a while to write down this review because I was looking for the best way to bring justice to this story and say I loved it all round. I loved every minute of the story from start to finish and just confess I read it in bits because I didn't want it to end. This story challenged me in many ways and checked my faith pushed me to want to know more about God, reminded me that I am loved just as I am I don't need to prove anything, I am accepted. Showed me that faith can much more than f Wow! It took a while to write down this review because I was looking for the best way to bring justice to this story and say I loved it all round. I loved every minute of the story from start to finish and just confess I read it in bits because I didn't want it to end. This story challenged me in many ways and checked my faith pushed me to want to know more about God, reminded me that I am loved just as I am I don't need to prove anything, I am accepted. Showed me that faith can much more than fear. I loved every minute of this book, I loved Eliora, I understood her because we've all been there wanting to prove our worth and unwilling to accept that we are enough, we are loved. I loved that she grew to accept that love from her family realising she didn't have to prove herself. I also enjoyed Ronen's side of the story although he wasn't sure of what to believe and also followed blindly, I love that he was willing to step back and search the truth for himself. I could go on and on but you should read the book for yourself. Looking forward to Lukio's story. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are solely mine.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nay Denise

    Received an eARC and finished copy for review. This was such a beautiful read for me. I truly enjoyed the history and atmosphere within this book. I felt like I was there at the beginning of Samuel's time. The writing was flawless. Each character was so unique to the other which I truly enjoyed. Eliora is such a sweet girl who stills struggled with the understanding of being in a family and not having to work for love and support. I adored her shyness. I loved the faith she had even though she was Received an eARC and finished copy for review. This was such a beautiful read for me. I truly enjoyed the history and atmosphere within this book. I felt like I was there at the beginning of Samuel's time. The writing was flawless. Each character was so unique to the other which I truly enjoyed. Eliora is such a sweet girl who stills struggled with the understanding of being in a family and not having to work for love and support. I adored her shyness. I loved the faith she had even though she was originally a Philistine. She was such a joy to read! Lukio is the younger brother of Eliora and he frustrated me the whole book. However, he is such a broken child with abandonment issues. My heart ached for him and seeing him battle with happiness was hard. I still have high hopes for him. Ronen is such a sweet guy caught up with a twisted family. I liked him a lot. I liked seeing his struggle with faith and believing God's power after dealing with a loss. I think he learned some valuable lessons and grew from the beginning to the end of the story. The romance was adorable but also absolutely frustrating because as a reader you know the motives, but can also see the genuine emotion between Eliora and Ronen. I think it was a great progressive romance that felt very realistic. I loved the drama, loved the secrecy, enjoyed the cute moments and loved the ending. The other characters were all so interesting. I also enjoyed seeing the different tribes and other nations that lived in those times. The faith aspects were great for me. This was a well-written story! Overall, I enjoyed this book and can't wait for the sequel, Between the Wild Branches, to be released next year !!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    "Follow the Ark, Arisa. Do not turn to the right or to the left, and do not stop until it dwells among cedars and you are sheltered in perfect peace." Urged to flee Philistia before being forced to slave among lascivious temple priests, Arisa and her younger brother Lukio follow the curious gold box belonging to the Hebrews, as it makes it way out of Ashdod. Their childhood servant, a humble Jewish woman named Azuvah, had whispered stories about Yahweh all their lives, but hearing about Him and b "Follow the Ark, Arisa. Do not turn to the right or to the left, and do not stop until it dwells among cedars and you are sheltered in perfect peace." Urged to flee Philistia before being forced to slave among lascivious temple priests, Arisa and her younger brother Lukio follow the curious gold box belonging to the Hebrews, as it makes it way out of Ashdod. Their childhood servant, a humble Jewish woman named Azuvah, had whispered stories about Yahweh all their lives, but hearing about Him and believing in Him were two totally different concepts. Tired, hungry, and homeless the two siblings happen upon a celebratory welcome for the revered Ark of the Covenant, only to become eye-witnesses to the magnificent holiness of the One true God. Years pass following the adoption of the two orphans into a kind and compassionate Hebrew family. The talented Levite musician Ronen, who initially rescued Eliora (her new name) and her brother, returns to Kiryat-Yearim to discover that the scared little waif who clung to his back has turned into a very beautiful young woman. But Ronen's task in Eliora's home is not a pleasant one, for he is virtually a spy, working silently for an opposing Levite faction whose primary goal is to purloin the Ark in order to transport it back to the fully restored tabernacle. Urged by his cousins to use his masculine charm to extract information from Eliora regarding the Ark's location, Ronen quickly finds himself torn between the God he thought he knew about and the God that Eliora serves with her whole heart. This author's ability to bring Scripture to life is astounding; capturing the beauty of the Old Testament with resounding joy, the book's powerful imagery paints landscapes of love, honor, and sacrifice, its characters exude the fragrances of flawed humanity who bow humbly before a God who not only sees and hears, but loves and forgives; a God who grafts the weak into the branches of the strong, and a God who writes His own song upon every heart, . "There is no song more beautiful than the one the Creator is composing with every note of your life, one he's been weaving together even before your first breath." I receive a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Connilyn Cossette's stories get you excited to go and read the Bible, making the stories and people seem more real and giving you a glimpse of how the mighty works of God would have been experienced by ordinary people. Often when we read the Bible we can just focus on the main figures and forget the hundreds and thousands of other unnamed people who were also witness to those wonderous events. Ronen and Eliora could have been some of those unnamed people that were alive during the prophet Samuel Connilyn Cossette's stories get you excited to go and read the Bible, making the stories and people seem more real and giving you a glimpse of how the mighty works of God would have been experienced by ordinary people. Often when we read the Bible we can just focus on the main figures and forget the hundreds and thousands of other unnamed people who were also witness to those wonderous events. Ronen and Eliora could have been some of those unnamed people that were alive during the prophet Samuel's time. Eliora is a Philistine that witnessed the havoc that the Ark of the Covenant wreaked on the city of Ashdod. Convinced of it's power, she follows it back to it's homeland with her brother, Lukio, and is eventually adopted into a Hebrew family. Ronen is a Levite who has become immune to the power of God, convinced that God's miracles are fabled stories of the past. Their romance is so sweet and special! I loved how even though Eliora so quiet and shy, Ronen sees and hears her, all the time wondering how other men fail to see what an amazing women she is. This story gives us a fascinating look into a part of Biblical history that would otherwise have been skipped over for the next exciting story. While it's mostly fiction, it still opens your eyes to the time of the early prophets and reminds you that the Bible is not just stories but accounts of real events and real people. I'm beyond excited for the sequel of this story where we'll find out what happens to Lukio!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lifeofliterature

    I love how Connilyn Cossette brings Biblical fiction to life in her novels! In this particular book, I learned so much about the way life might have been like for the Israelites before the era of the kings and learned even more about the Ark of the Covenant and its importance to the Israelite community. Connilyn writes beautifully, transporting you as the reader easily back in time to experience Biblical culture. She includes such impeccable research and detail that I feel the Bible is respected I love how Connilyn Cossette brings Biblical fiction to life in her novels! In this particular book, I learned so much about the way life might have been like for the Israelites before the era of the kings and learned even more about the Ark of the Covenant and its importance to the Israelite community. Connilyn writes beautifully, transporting you as the reader easily back in time to experience Biblical culture. She includes such impeccable research and detail that I feel the Bible is respected and honored in her fictional story. I felt myself growing closer to God reading this book and was impressed with how the spiritual themes were applicable to my life and inspiring to my own circumstances. The characters were captivating and I enjoyed reading about their interactions and growth in the story. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I have been saying for years that Connilynn Cossette is my favorite Biblical fiction writer. This book is her very first in a duology. This book is so beautiful! The story is well crafted and it drew me in , because it is a two part story I am eager for the second! Boy .....am I eager! I loved the subtle references to her other series, and I loved seeing her characters grow! The pacing of this book is a bit slower in parts compared to some of her other books. However it is so good! Have I mentioned I have been saying for years that Connilynn Cossette is my favorite Biblical fiction writer. This book is her very first in a duology. This book is so beautiful! The story is well crafted and it drew me in , because it is a two part story I am eager for the second! Boy .....am I eager! I loved the subtle references to her other series, and I loved seeing her characters grow! The pacing of this book is a bit slower in parts compared to some of her other books. However it is so good! Have I mentioned how I love how this author can weave a story?!!! She weaves such depth and truth into her fiction it is amazing. The characters are flawed, and you see how their past has shaped how they view themselves. I loved the message of adoption and being seen by The God Who Sees! A touching journey and a great new beginning!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fiction Aficionado

    Connilyn Cossette has delivered yet another immersive read, taking readers to the time of Samuel and introducing them to a young Philistine brother and sister whose lives become tied to the Ark of the Covenant when they flee from their cousin and follow the Ark back to Israel. From there, the story jumps forward eight years, when tensions between those Israelites who believe Samuel is appointed of God and those who believe Samuel is a pretender are reaching a peak. While the existence of such ten Connilyn Cossette has delivered yet another immersive read, taking readers to the time of Samuel and introducing them to a young Philistine brother and sister whose lives become tied to the Ark of the Covenant when they flee from their cousin and follow the Ark back to Israel. From there, the story jumps forward eight years, when tensions between those Israelites who believe Samuel is appointed of God and those who believe Samuel is a pretender are reaching a peak. While the existence of such tension is not mentioned in the Bible, Cossette outlines the research and thought processes that led her to explore the possibility that some Israelites were unhappy about the shift that occurred in the succession of the High Priesthood after the death of Eli and his sons. Knowing Israel’s history, I found it firmly within the realm of possibility, and more importantly, the story line didn’t alter the biblical account, only imagined what may have filled in some of the silences. I felt as though this story took a little while to get started, but a certain amount of backstory was necessary to understand where Eliora and Lukio came from and how they ended up following the Ark. Once the story moved forward eight years, I couldn’t help but become involved. Ronen and Eliora’s friendship develops even as Ronen’s family exerts greater pressure to discover the location of the Ark, and I keenly felt Ronen’s inner conflict as he begins to realise that his family has been misrepresenting Eliora’s adoptive family. The story explores the ways in which family and our sense of belonging influence us both for good and bad. And as I often find with Cossette’s books, I enjoyed gaining a deeper insight into what it means to be grafted into Covenant with the living God. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Barbara M. Britton

    Connilyn Cossette's writing is fluid and beautiful. She transports the reader back in time flawlessly to Biblical Times. The story takes place near the Israel and Philistine border and involves the Ark of the Covenant. Eliora, an orphaned Philstine, follows the Ark out of her city and across the border at the urging of her Hebrew caretaker. Eliora brings her brother with her as she escapes the prospect of being sold as a temple prostitute. Eliora and her brother are found by Ronen, a musician and Connilyn Cossette's writing is fluid and beautiful. She transports the reader back in time flawlessly to Biblical Times. The story takes place near the Israel and Philistine border and involves the Ark of the Covenant. Eliora, an orphaned Philstine, follows the Ark out of her city and across the border at the urging of her Hebrew caretaker. Eliora brings her brother with her as she escapes the prospect of being sold as a temple prostitute. Eliora and her brother are found by Ronen, a musician and Levite. Both orphans are welcomed into the home of a Hebrew--a Levite descended from Aaron. Tension between the Levitical bloodlines going back to Aaron cause turmoil surrounding where the Ark should be located. Ronen is caught up in the intrigue and his goal is to deceive Eliora and find out where the Ark rests. Love thwarts Ronen's efforts and a confrontation happens between the rival Levitical clans. Some of the Levite history might be challenging for readers, so I would give this 4.5 stars. I especially liked Eliora as a character, but Ronen did not leave me swooning. Book 2 is coming this summer about Eliora's brother. Now, Natan is a fiery character.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.