“We are surrounded by killers! Surrounded!” …So said Sofea to her cousin, after discovering what a city of refuge was in the land of Israel. Imagine escaping a near death experience, only to find out that your rescuer and the home they’ve opened to you is a refuge for people who’ve taken the life of another? Quite a shock, I’d say! Yet, through all the adventures Sofea finds herself on in “Shelter of the Most High,” this stunning realization is only a small part of the exciting story in the second book of the Cities of Refuge Series by Connilyn Cossette.
To those of us who have a little understand of Israel’s Old Testament laws, the cities of refuge are not unheard of. But someone coming in from the outside might not fully understand such mercy. Such was the case with Sofea. Sofea and her cousin came from the island of Sicily, whose pagan ways were vastly different from Yahweh’s. When Derek and Moriyah (Eitan’s parents) take her and Prezi in, the two women had a lot to learn about Israel’s ways. I really liked Sofea’s personality in the book. She was strong, yet susceptible, and had a will to survive. My favorite part of the book was in the beginning when Sofea and Prezi had to navigate the language barrier in Eitan’s home. (Being from Sicily, they couldn’t understand Hebrew.) The author did a great job of bouncing back and forth with what was really happening and what the women thought was happening. It was a fun section of the book!
Lately, I’ve been hooked on the History channels show “Forged In Fire,” so you could imagine my excitement when I found out Eitan, the hero, was a blacksmith who made weapons. If Sofea wasn’t ready to swoon by chapter six, I definitely was! I was fascinated how one of his knives played a tragic role in the story and why the events leading up to that point made so much sense after a harsh betrayal was revealed. In contrast to being talented in the forge, Eitan had to deal with some deep issues during the novel. Living in a city of mercy with a loving family may have been a blessing he never had in Shiloh, but, living under the shadow of Raviv’s promised revenge gave his childhood another type of bondage.
Conclusion: Loss. Hope. Betrayal. Language barrier between characters. All come together in “Shelter of the Most High” for an exciting continuation of Connilyn Cossette’s “Cities of Refuge Series.” I fell in love with Connilyn Cossette’s books earlier this year when I read, “Counted With The Stars” and “Light On The Hill”. “Shelter of the Most High” continued what I love about Connilyn Cossette’s writing – first person point of view that’s the best ever written; characters that fit in a Biblical time period, yet, aren’t tied down to a specific Bible story and finally, a story that gets deep inside you and teaches about God’s mercy. This novel is a must read for Biblical Fiction lovers or Bible Students interested in the conquest era of Joshua’s time.