I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Baker Books, NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.A Light on the Hill (Cities of Refuge Book #1) by Connilyn Cossette
Series: Cities of Refuge #1
Published by Baker Books on February 6th 2018
Genres: Ancient World, Christian, Fiction, Historical, Romance
Source: Baker Books, NetGalley
Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.
Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies--and unexpected allies--she will encounter on her way.
This book is my 20th book of the year. That is a mini milestone on the quest to the larger goal. It wasn’t meant to be my 20th book. Life went sideways and got really messy. I’m still in sideways messy mode and will be for a while but I’m also working hard at finding a new balance, a new normal if you will. I had every intention of review this book on it’s release day (February 6th). Feel free to re-read above as to why it wasn’t reviewed then. Here’s the thing, I don’t feel like this book has anything to do with sideways messy but I think it was meant for it to have to be postponed. It needed to be my 20th book this year. It needed to be a mini milestone.
We first met Moriyah in ‘Wings of the Wind‘, the final installment on the Out of Egypt series. Moriyah was kidnapped to the temple of Ba’al and Ashtoreth and branded (on her face), by a vicious Priestess, as a temple prostitute. Moriyah escaped from that unscathed, except for the brand. And her view of herself. Moriyah grew up from that 13 year old girl and we meet back with her in ‘A Light on the Hill’ as a woman of 20. A woman who never even answers her door without her veil in place to cover her brand. A woman who never even lets those she loves see her face because of her brand. A woman of compassion and talents. A woman who may have accidentally killed the children of the only man who will agree to marry her – to gain her father’s vineyard. A woman on the run for her life to find sanctuary in a City of Refuge.
What I keep going back to as I think over this book, besides the fact that Cossette has yet to write something I am not head over hills for, is Moriyah’s veil. I might accidentally give you spoilers so don’t hold that against me. There’s so much more to this book than her veil however. There’s adventure on her journey. There’s romance with a character that I might have a ginormous crush on. There’s action throughout. But I keep going back to the veil. As a child, Moriyah heard the voice of God. As an adult she is convinced He has left her, abandoned her, due to her brand. While she follows His laws and love’s Him as the Father she feels as though He has left her. She feels as though He no longer hears her. When her intended husband requires she show him the brand on the day they meet she is broken further at his reaction. When she must remove the veil to save the life of another she is humiliated. However, she finds she is also accepted.
Her brand provides her a small measure of safety in the territory of the enemy on her journey. Here’s the thing though. When she removes the veil, keeps it removed, and calls out to God? She hears Him. Her clinging to the veil as her protection was what was dividing her from Him. Her using the veil as safety instead of God kept her from Him. Her belief that the veil would cover her shame and not her trust that God could cover her shame kept her from Him. And all I could think of was all the things we all put between us and Him to keep us apart. We try to cover our shame, our embarrassment, our insecurities with material (hello veil) instead of with Him. We find our security, our comfort, in our jobs or our friends or our talents or even our possessions. I was drawn to Moriyah and her veil. I mean, I was drawn to the whole entire book but her veil spoke to me.