Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.
Choosing to flee with the Hebrews, Kiya finds herself reliant on a strange God and drawn to a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away and now facing the trials of the desert, will she turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?
Continue reading for my review of Counted With the Stars. I’ve also got a link to an excerpt from the novel and another link to a free six day devotional about the Exodus.
I’ve read a number of Exodus-centric novels in the past year. Counted With the Stars is a debut from Connilyn Cossette and looks at how Yahweh’s plagues impacted the Egyptians. The main character, Kiya, was born into wealth but obeisance to her gods didn’t save her from being sold to cover her father’s debts. Her only friend is a Hebrew girl called Shira, a gentle soul who tells Kiya of the Hebrew God. The temple priests have no answers when the rivers turn red like blood, but Shira has an explanation involving her people and an ancient prophecy. When Shira takes the blame – and punishment – for one of Kiya’s mistakes, the young Egyptian woman is determined to repay her for her loyalty. Kiya doesn’t become an immediate follower of the Hebrew God. We see how Yahweh reveals himself to her, not just in grand miracles but also in small gestures.
This book isn’t as detailed as some of the narratives I’ve read concerning the Hebrews’ flight from Egypt. Cossette intentionally leaves out Pharaoh’s name and other known historic elements. It should seem like a cop-out – other writers have set the Exodus at a particular point in time – but it never comes across that way. To Kiya, the pharaoh is a god; perhaps his human name is irrelevant. To the slaves, one pharaoh must have been very much like another. Instead, the reader learns of life inside Egyptian households, and of free women whose lives were not their own. After the Exodus starts, we see the Egyptians in the multitude wonder if they’d done the right thing in leaving everything they’d ever known.
Counted With the Stars doesn’t end with the miraculous parting of the sea. It goes past the first arrival of the mysterious manna, through the battle with the Amalekites, to when Yahweh spoke at Mount Sinai. I enjoyed this book due to the historic narrative, but romance fans will enjoy the relationship Kiya slowly forms with another former slave. It is the first book in a series called Out From Egypt and book two should be released later this year.
Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of Counted With the Stars, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read Counted With the Stars? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Explore the Exodus with Connilyn in a free six day devotional. Click for more info.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 05 April 2016
Page Count: 352