BOOK REVIEW: Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

A Story of Love, Desperation, and Hope During a Great Biblical Epoch

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.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she's only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she's ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

The book of Exodus in the Old Testament in the Bible tells the story of the Hebrews during their captivity in Egypt and how God used Moses to deliver His people from Pharaoh.  It tells of the events leading up their their exodus, and their experiences in the desert, in the wilderness, and at Mount Sinai.  I grew up with this story.  I could probably tell a pidgin messed up version if called upon at a moment's notice.  Let's not try that shall we?  However, Connilyn Cossette has done something with this book, the fictional story of Kyia, than years of Sunday School never did.  I feel like I understand the story of the Exodus better now than ever before.  The even better thing is this is the first book of a trilogy that I can't help but believe will only get better.

After Kiya finds herself sold into slavery, by her own father, she meets Shira, a Hebrew woman who serves in the same household.  They form a bond and friendship over their shared trials.  Over the course of their friendship, and the plagues as they fall upon Egypt, Shira slowly introduces Kiya to Yahweh, the 'faceless god'.  What I learned through their friendship seems so utterly commonsense but somehow never fell into my understanding.  Each plague that called down on the Egyptians was a direct attack on one of their gods.  The water turning to blood?  Hapi, the Egyptian God of the Nile.  The death of all the livestock?  Hathor the Egyptian Goddess of Love and Protection.  Three days of complete darkness?  Ra the Sun God.  And ultimately leading to the death of all first born which was a direct attack on Pharaoh himself, the ultimate power of Egypt that was believed to be part man and part god.  However, Yahweh overcame every single one of them.  Not only were the plagues aimed at these specific gods but they were also timed so as to offer maximum impact.  The Nile turned to blood just at the height of the delta flooding that guaranteed the dark silt that provided the bountiful crops that were grown there.  The locust?  At the height of harvest so that what crops did survive were eaten in the field.  How did I not ever know this?  Or perhaps I did but I never really understood it.  Either way.  I get it now.

Another things that gripped me about this book was how the story of Exodus was told through the view of an Egyptian.  I never even gave much thought to how they would have reacted to events at the time.  The fears they must have had, the anger at how some plagues never affected their 'slaves', the anger at their gods and their slaves.  Kiya, as an Egyptian woman (even though also a slave) feels these things and more.  However, her friendship with Shira helps her to figure a few things out along the way.  She's still not sure of this 'faceless god' even after fleeing Egypt with the Hebrews.  Small things along the way slowly open her heart and her mind and with all the other evacuees at Mount Sinai she gives herself over to Yahweh, a new life, and a new faith.  I cannot wait to start reading the next book in this series!

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Counted With the Stars (Out from Egypt, #1)

 About Connilyn Cossette
Connilyn Cossette is the CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series from Bethany House Publishers. There is not much she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads

No comments