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Oct 2, 2018

Shelter of the Most High (Cities of Refuge #2) by Connilyn Cossette

Shelter of the Most High (Cities of Refuge #2) by Connilyn Cossette
Published by Bethany House October 2 2018
eGalley from NetGalley, thank you!

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?

This was an intriguing story set long ago before the times of Christians but a time when there are villages devoted to serving a 'god' of their choosing. Sofea was brought up in such a way that her father was a bit of a 'god' himself, and while she thought he was a terrible person she just accepted that sacrifices and violence was okay as long as it was for her father's purposes. When a tragedy strikes her village Sofea and her cousin soon find themselves on a new land with new customs and a language she did not understand.

While this is book two of a series, I did not read book one and is not necessary to enjoy this story. In fact, it wasn't until others had started talking about this book did I realize it was part of a planned trilogy. This novel continues with Eitan and Moriyah's family and now it includes Sofea and Prezi for this installment. Eitan is smitten with the wild haired Sofea but she has seen the evil ways of man and trusts no one. It takes time and patience to trust; since this is told as a historical romance we learn a lot of the history behind the customs of the earlier generations of Yahweh believers.

Love, patience, service, forgiveness are just a few of the themes covered in this story. I most appreciated the way Sofea was wary at first of the new (to her) God of Israel and rightly asked questions first before letting herself jump in blindly. The spiritual growth was wonderful to watch yet it is not told in that preachy way that turns more secular readers off. The other fantastic part was the way the historical context was presented; I could easily imagine the settings that were portrayed. There was even a plot to kill the high priest underfoot as part of the scandalous intrigue! I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Connilyn Cossette. Another great historical and inspirational novel from Bethany House.

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