Shelter of the Most High
post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: Shelter of the Most High
Author: Connilyn Cossette
Series: Cities of Refuge, book 1
Major Themes: Biblical Fiction, Faith, Romance
Synopsis: When her family is killed by sea raiders, Sofea must find hope and healing while living in a foreign land.
I didn’t fully know what to expect when I picked up Shadow of the Most High recently. I knew I would enjoy the story, although just how much was hard to determine. Having loved A Light on the Hill, I was looking forward to a continuation of that story and hopefully another well-written story. I wasn’t disappointed! Although keeping to the setting, Ms. Cossette continued the Cities of Refuge series with a story I wasn’t expecting, and brought out elements of ancient Israel I hadn’t considered before.
Sofea, a daughter of the sea from the Island of Sicily, is having a nearly-perfect day with her cousin. They have been able to go swimming together, spending a few precious hours exploring and enjoying the area they call home. However, perfection turns to tragedy when sea raiders descend on their little village and massacre nearly all the inhabitants—leaving only Sofea and her cousin Prezi alive, but in captivity. What will these evil men do to them next? Can tragedy so profound ever be worked through, and hope found again?
Sofea’s story drew me in from the first page. The description gripped me first, but then as the first few chapters unfolded, I was stunned at how Ms. Cossette wove a story of love and fear while not overbalancing one way or the other as she did so.
Although I had known some of Eitan’s story before I started this book, the continuation of his tale was both intriguing and fulfilling. I loved getting to know him as a man, see his developing skills, and feel the heartbeat of someone who truly wants to do best—for God, and the people around him. Of all the characters in this book, I felt like I connected with him the best. And that was really special.
I can’t say too much about the story without giving it or the previous one away. I wouldn’t recommend reading it without reading the first book—too many things in here would be a spoiler for that, or wouldn’t make sense. In all, this was a delightful continuation to the series!
One quote I loved said:
“The Almighty Creator spoke your being into existence. How could you be anything less than precious?”
I requested a free review copy of this book from the publisher, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: In chapter 1, a girl is threatened with death, and men delight in seeing some girls without clothing on (mentioned a couple times in the chapter). Later in chapter 1, there are descriptions of seeing people who had been massacred and mention is made of a man’s head being worth a lot to some people. In chapter 2, a man has a bare chest that is covered with blood, and someone mentions that the men had been “a long time away…from the pleasure of women”. In chapter 3, a girl is beaten. In chapter 10, there is mention of what a brutal man did to his wife. In ch. 19, it mentions that a man had so much power anyone who came against him was killed. In ch. 26, a man betrays his friend. In ch. 28, a man wants to kill another man. In ch. 31, a girl nearly poisons a man, and remembers watching a man being killed because he threatened her father’s position.
There is fighting, sometimes fairly graphic, in ch. 3, 15 (man killed), 17, 27, 32, and 40. False gods are mentioned in ch. 3 and 4. Human sacrifice or pagan worship rituals are mentioned in ch. 10-12, 15 (this one is child-killing based on superstition), and 16. There is a lot of remembering what it felt like to touch or kiss the other romantic interest throughout the book; sometimes, a good portion of the chapters were spent on similar subjects. I would call a lot of it passionate, if not bordering on lustful. I noted them in ch. 18, 20 (throughout the chapter), 21, 22, 25, 36, 37, 38, 42, and the epilogue. In ch. 36, two unmarried people lay down next to each other in the dark (nothing happens, but I don’t think according to the Bible that should be done, either).
Links to buy Shelter of the Most High:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Keywords: Faith, History, Biblical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Ancient Times, Israel, Jewish History, Middle East, Books for Women