Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.
Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.
A Light On the Hill is the third book I’ve read written by Connilyn Cossette. I believe it is her best yet. I really enjoy Biblical fiction. But I’m very picky about it. Cossette has a way of making the time period come alive. All the details of her meticulous research are subtly woven in to the story. So instead of an info dump the reader is transported back in time. I really appreciate this as it gives a much better context to certain events and cultural aspects of the Bible that are harder to grasp for modern American readers. I’m thrilled that in this first book of her new series, Cossette focuses on the lesser known Biblical phenomena; the cities of refuge. These were cities where someone who had accidentally taken a life could go to be spared having theirs taken in revenge.
Moriyah is an excellent heroine and a surprising one. One would little expect a physically and emotionally scarred woman to be in need of a city of refuge. But that is exactly what happens when she is accused of involuntary manslaughter. This tender, thoughtful, fearful girl finds herself on the run for her life. I love how human Moriyah was, equally weak but strong, scared yet bold when necessary. And even though most people don’t have to deal with the level of prejudice, harrassment and fear that she does, I think most can relate to creating our own prisons out of a need to protect ourselves. I learned a lot about my own heart watching Moriyah examine hers.
I have to say that I think Darek is Cossette’s most romantic hero to date. He’s an interesting conundrum. Darek is a soldier/surveyor/spy used to violence and yet he is so tender with Moriyah. Smitten at first sight he isn’t shy about expressing his feelings for her even as he wrestles with them. Thanks to an embarrassing scar, Moriyah has spent years hiding behind a veil thinking she is a shame and burden to her family, so Darek has a hard time convincing her he truly sees her. Not to mention he must also battle between his feelings for her and his loyalty for his family. But man, if anyone ever looked at and talked to me the way Darek does with Moriyah I would melt into a puddle on the floor. I don’t know how she resists him as long as she does.
I was actually expecting most of this story to be set in a city of refuge. However, that was not the case. This book was a lot more adventurous than anticipated. Moriyah flees for her life and spends most of the book making her way to that safe city. Along the way, many exciting and also frightening things happen to her and those helping her. It made for some intense reading that really hooked me into the story even more.
Connilyn Cossette has quickly become one of my most trusted and favorite authors in this genre by writing compelling characters, brilliantly weaving in historical facts and giving new perspectives to Biblical stories. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.