“With explosive secrets and unbreakable vows standing between them (Lukio and Shoshana), finding a way to freedom for both may cost them everything. ~quoted from the back cover.”
I enjoy a good Biblical fiction novel because it brings scripture alive for me and fleshes out people I've only read about in God's word. I learn so much more about the culture, traditions, and way of life of ancient times and people. This was my first book by Connilyn Cossette but it certainly won't be my last! I have not read the first book To Dwell Among Cedars, but I am going to after reading this one because I want to know more about Lukio and Shoshana as children. The author made them very real in my mind and invested my heart into their lives.
What I loved most about this story was how it reminded me of being grafted into God's family and how He loves me no matter my heritage or who I call my family. He spoke my name and I answered so many years ago! This was a lesson that Lukio learned the hard way; my heart ached for him to know the truth of it sooner. But I also know oftentimes we learn those lessons through the heartache and trials of life... forged in the fire if you will. God can burn away the impurities of our lives in the fiery furnace and that is exactly what He did in Lukio's heart. I watched him go through so many hard things, but I rejoiced when his eyes began to open to the truths that had always been in front of him. He was very much a changed man by the end of the book!
Shoshana was a strong woman in both spirit and mind in spite of all the horrendous things she went through after her capture by the Philistines. She ended up with kind and caring mistress in Mariada who treated her well. She never forgot how precious she was to Yahweh and clung to His truths and loving ways. I admired her strength of character and getting to know her, I also ached for all she lost over the years. God truly restored what the Canker worm destroyed in the end.
I won't spoil the story, but journeying through the lives of Lukio and Shoshana and all the things that went on was a real treat. I could easily envision everything; the sights, smells, and emotions. When an author makes you feel like you've stepped into the pages of their book, and are walking right beside the characters, that's truly the sign of good writing to me! The research Cossette did for this shines through and I feel like I have a deeper meaning from the time period of King Solomon in scripture. If you enjoy a well-written & well-researched Biblical fiction story, then I recommend reading Between the Wild Branches!
*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was not obligated to leave a favorable review & all opinions expressed here are mine. *
Ten years ago Lukio fled Kiryat-Yearim, where he'd been adopted by the Levite family who guarded the Ark of the Covenant. Feeling betrayed by everyone, he returned to his birthplace in Philistia to become a famous fighter. Now the champion of Ashdod, Lukio has achieved every goal with the help of his ruthless cousin. But just as he is set to claim the biggest prize of all, the daughter of the king, his past collides with his present in the form of Shoshana.
After a heartbreaking end to her secret friendship with Lukio, Shoshana thought to never see the boy with the dual-colored eyes and the troubled soul again. But when she is captured in a Philistine raid and enslaved
in Ashdod, she is surprised to find that the brutal fighter known as Demon-Eyes is Lukio himself.
With explosive secrets and unbreakable vows standing between them, finding a way to freedom for both may cost them everything.
Bethany House Publishers, July 6, 2021
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