BOOK REVIEW: Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette

In the Depth of the Storm's Shadow, Only Truth Can Light Her Way

Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the shekinah glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira's gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart's calling to become an apprentice midwife.

When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira's people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she's denied herself and embrace who she truly is?

A continuation of the Out of Egypt series, Cossette takes us back to Mount Sinai and the story of Shira.  Shira was pivotal in the first book (Counted with the Stars) in bring Kiya, an Egyptian slave, and her family with them as they left Egypt.   As Shira deals with the extended time at the Mount and deals with her own history, her desires for her own future, and the influences of her family onto all of those things, she also learns to trust herself, her family and Yahweh.  A fictional account of the exodus from Egypt and the Israelites time in the desert Shira's story is one of faith, redemption, and holds so much value for even today's world.  It's not cushy feel good faith, it's gritty in it's honesty and redemptive in it's progression.  

Shira feels called to midwifery but her mother wants her to continue with the tradition of weaving.  Shira not only does not enjoy weaving but also has little patience or talent for it.  Approached by an honored midwife within the tribe, Shira feels as though her calling is to follow that path.  In defiance of her mother she chooses to apprentice herself under Reva (the midwife) and knows in her heart that it's where she belongs.  Despite the fact that she has not and will not ever have children of her own, which is considered a detriment as a midwife since there can be no personal understanding, Shira thrives on this path.  Until she is present for a birth that the mother does not survive.  Dvorah, also apprenticing under Reva, helps to push Shira away with her accusations that Shira is to blame.  Dvorah was an enigma for me in this story.  I didn't understand why she mattered to the whole when she was introduced.  She frustrated me with her attitude, her seeming ability to win despite the less than honorable things she did and thought, and her ultimate betrayal to Shira.  Perhaps that was her point but good gravy did I despise her as I'm certain I was intended to do.  

Shira's story could only be completed by Ayal.  Shira's history in Egypt was not for the faint of heart.  Taken advantage of as a young girl by an Egyptian overseerer she was not only emotionally very scarred but also physically.  Things done to her at so precious an age left her barren.  Something she was shamed by, knowing she would never have children of her own and fearing it would ever prevent her from marrying.  After leaving midwifery behind and returning to weaving after the death Shira is forced to deal with her own actions and reactions to what happened.  Ayal wants to marry Shira, wants to have her be the full-time mother to his children after their mother passes away.  His background is not all sunshine and roses either and their friendship to romance path has more switchbacks than a donkey trail through the Grand Canyon.  

There's a lot of about, a lot of history and not a lot of me thus far.  All of the history is so vital to my feelings about this book.  I was so drawn into the characters I'd already met, emotions so engaged with each new character as well.  I loved, I despised, I felt apathy, I felt frustration.  This book lead me exactly where I needed to go with a story line that was well crafted and characters that I engaged with.  This book hit every mark for me and I cannot wait to begin the third and final book of the series.

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Shadow of the Storm (Out From Egypt, #2)

 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.

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