Wings of the Wind, by Connilyn Cossette

book cover Wings of the WindPublisher’s Overview:

Can vengeance give way to forgiveness when one woman’s destiny becomes entangled with the very enemies she sought to destroy?

Motherless and raised alongside her brothers, Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting. When her father and brothers are killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, has spent his share of time on the battlefield and is shocked to find an unconscious woman among the casualties. Compelled to bring her to a healer back at the Hebrew camp, he’s unprepared for the consequences of what he intended as an act of compassion.

In order to survive, Alanah must unite with her enemy. But will a terrible revelation drive her toward an even greater danger?

First Thoughts:

I chose to read this book because it followed on from Counted With the Stars and Shadow of the Storm. It does, however, appear to be set much later in the Exodus, and I’m wondering how much commonality there will be between the books.

My Take:

Wings of the Wind is one of those Biblically-based novels that reminds me how little I really know the Old Testament. I didn’t know about many of the battles they faced, and my eyes have often glazed over the various rules by which they were expected to abide. The premise of this novel is that Tobiah is compelled to marry the female warrior he captures on the battlefield. On the one hand, marrying a captured woman was permissible according to Deuteronomy 21 but, on the other, it would’ve been forbidden according to Deuteronomy 7 since Alanah was a Canaanite. I’m still slightly confused, but Connilyn Cossette seems to have taken a middle ground by describing Alanah as a Canaanite who had no faith in the Canaanite gods and hated the pagan rituals of her people.

This is the final book in the Out From Egypt series and takes place approximately 37 years after the previous two. The majority of characters are new, but it was good to see at least one familiar figure. It isn’t necessary to read the series in chronological order, but I’d suggest doing so anyway. It does follow the Biblical narrative of the Israelites’ time in the wilderness, as described in Numbers 21 and Joshua chapters two through six. There are mentions of God providing fresh water and manna, of their growing boredom of His provision, of Korah’s rebellion and fate, the various battles fought, and the vital action around the walls of Jericho. And, not to spoil things too much, but I was surprised to see Cossette weave another important Biblical figure into the story. It isn’t so much that the character appears, but how they feature.

While I don’t think Wings of the Wind is the best book in this trilogy it is, nevertheless, a good read. The young Hebrew woman, Moriyah, becomes a sympathetic character in the novel and I closed the book wanting to know what happened to her. The good news for me is that it looks as though she’ll appear as the main character in a new book by Cossette next year.

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of Wings of the Wind, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Wings of the Wind? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 02 May 2017

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Connilyn Cossette’s Website  Bethany House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

Alabaster, by Chris Aslan

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Maryam is stuck in an abusive marriage, living with her in-laws in a conservative, toxically religious village. A few years back, her father was given a jar of priceless perfume by a dying leper and it seemed as if their fortunes would improve, but then Maryam’s father contracted leprosy and was exiled from the village. Maryam and her siblings, Eleazar and Marta, experience the shame and ostracism this brings. The precious jar that was meant to bring them freedom has only brought destruction. But rumors abound concerning a new doctor; perhaps hope is on the horizon…

First Thoughts:

This had such an intriguing description that I just had to read this debut work of fiction.

My Take:

Alabaster begins ominously with a young woman experiencing an earthquake and its aftermath. We learn immediately that she’s treated like a slave by her husband’s family, is a mere 15 years of age, and has an older sister who lives alone. While the earthquake has caused some damage in the village, and a nearby family has suffered a fatality, Maryam is relieved to find that her family’s most precious possession has survived. From there, the first person narrative goes back to the time when Maryam and her father came across a dying leper in their olive grove. Her father’s choice of grace over Mosaic Law came from a good heart, but when he paid for it later the family was plunged into shame. The story continues to go back and forth in time, which I found confusing until I realized that the tense changed with each switch.

Aslan’s debut work of fiction has some wonderful moments. When the sisters learn they’re to host an important visitor you can feel the excitement. When a woman is found guilty of adultery and the sentence is carried out you understand her mother’s pain. I had read three-quarters of the book when I came upon a scene I immediately recognized. I don’t want to give anything away, but at that point I realized who the sisters were and I looked at them differently from then on. Other familiar scenes followed. I read Alabaster during Holy Week and found it to be a very appropriate tale. Overall, I loved reading this novel, found it far too short, and am looking forward to its follow-up whenever it’s released.

Thank you to Kregel for my complimentary copy of Alabaster, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Alabaster? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Kregel Publications

Publication Date: 27 March 2017

Page Count: 208

Read more on:   Chris Aslan’s Website   Kregel’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story, by Jill Eileen Smith

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

One devoted woman is about to discover the power of love

When famine visits Bethlehem, some hold out hope for rain, while Naomi and her family make a long journey to Moab in search of greener pastures. The harvest there is plentiful, and for a time it appears the Lord is blessing them. But when calamities strike, one after another, Naomi is left alone in a foreign land with only her widowed daughters-in-law for comfort.

Downhearted and destitute, Naomi is determined to return to Bethlehem alone. But her daughter-in-law Ruth refuses to leave her side. Despite the fact that she and Naomi will almost certainly live out their days in widowhood and poverty, Ruth holds out hope for a better future . . . and maybe even a second chance at love.

First Thoughts:

It’s an honor to review any novel by Jill Eileen Smith. I’ve been highly impressed with many of her previous titles and they’ve often helped me look at the featured Bible story with fresh eyes. I’m hoping for the same with her interpretation of Ruth.

My Take:

Once again, Jill Eileen Smith has taken a well-known Bible story and brought it to life. The story of Ruth begins with her future mother-in-law assisting Boaz’s wife in childbirth. It establishes Naomi as a woman who is familiar with Boaz and his family, placing Boaz as her husband’s cousin and creating a brother-in-law as well to act as the relative closer to Naomi than Boaz.

After reading Redeeming Grace I had to review Ruth’s story for a Bible study. Thanks to this novel, I saw the story with new eyes. We don’t know why she was so willing to leave her home and everything that she knew to go with Naomi. Here, Smith has given her a realistic reason, as well as an interesting theory on how and why Naomi’s sons might’ve died. It was refreshing to see Ruth portrayed as a Moabite, as some authors I’ve read have gone out of their way to ignore this aspect of her character. Ruth was a foreigner, although it’s acknowledged that her people were descended from Abraham’s nephew, Lot.

I found Redeeming Grace difficult to put down. As well as being entertaining, it was also thought provoking. For example, why did God let Naomi’s husband and sons die? Was it punishment for moving away from the Kingdom of Judah? The final paragraphs hint, however, of what was to come from Bethlehem and the line of Boaz and Ruth: the Messiah Himself.

Thank you to Revell and the author for my complimentary copy of Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Redeeming Grace? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 14 February 2017

Page Count: 368

Read more on:   Jill Eileen Smith’s Website   Revell’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com