Shadow of the Storm (2016) by Connilyn Cossette is the second novel in her Out From Egypt series. This novel comes in all forms including eBook, and is roughly 352 pages in length. With a full-time job and a five-year old at home, I was able to read this novel in ONE day. I give this novel 5 STARS. It is a Christian Biblical novel set during the Israelites’ first year in the wilderness after the Great Exodus.
Here is the GoodReads blurb:
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?
I love everything about this novel, but I absolutely adore the main character, Shira. I can relate so much to this character and her struggles throughout this novel. To those who love her, Shira is brave and strong and beautiful, but Shira struggles to believe this. She feels weak and cowardly and small. In the beginning of this novel, Shira is put into positions where she could say something or do something right, but her fear gets the better of her and she feels like a coward. I cannot count how many times in my life, looking back on a moment, I realized I didn’t say or do something because of fear. Then, I sadly slink off asking God why He created such a coward. I truly related so much to Shira in these very real-to-life moments.
As the novel progresses, and Shira continues to learn the Truth about Yahweh, she internally grows stronger in her courage and faith. Some of the best parts of this novel happen when Shira stands up for herself, her family members, and God. I could not help but cheer for her, and feel emboldened by her! Another aspect to Shira that I LOVED is her realization that her past does not define who she is as a woman of God. At one point, Shira states, “It seems to me that Yahweh somehow takes the broken parts of us and builds something better than we could imagine.” SO TRUE!!!! God loves cracked pots, and if we let Him, He loves to heal our cracks.
I also appreciated how this novel illustrates the harshness and frustrations of life lived in a ginormous group of humans out in the middle of a deserted, seemingly nowhere. I am a Type-A introvert. The chaos, complaining, single-mindedness, and fickleness of the people at Mt. Sinai that first year after the Great Exodus would have been enough to drive me insane. Many times while reading this novel, I looked at my husband and asked, “Why does God keep coming to us? Humans are so annoying!” My husband would just laugh at me and shake his head! But honestly, I just don’t get it. God was physically present in the form of the shekinah cloud, and still people were worshiping other deities. False things that could do nothing. Multiple times, God reprimanded the people for their idols and bad behavior, and many still chose themselves over God. CRAZY!!! Shira even asks God at one particularly frustrating moment, “Yahweh, will we never be satisfied? Will we forever be grasping and squalling like infants?” I know Jesus told us to have faith like the little children, but I don’t think we are supposed to behave like little children. At some point, we need to mature in our faith and behave like it!
Oh my goodness…the golden calf fiasco!!! I have always read this part in the Bible and judged. I admit it. I judge the people who worshiped the golden calf. WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!? ARE YOU CRAZY PEOPLE?!?! Obviously, this judgement is wrong; I am wrong for judging anyone at any time. If I had been there, would I have worshiped the golden calf too? I hope I would have been stronger than to fall back into idol worship, but God purposely did not allow me to be there for that moment, and I think that might be telling. This scene is done so well in this novel — I felt like I was there. The depth of emotion written into this scene is intense. My heart hurt so badly for Aaron. What he must have felt in that moment…the anguish, the sense of utter failure. It hurts to rethink this moment in the book. BUT, it leads to such a great realization. Speaking for Moses, a highly-emotional Aaron states, “‘Yahweh is kadosh. Separate. Holy. There will not be such blatant sin against His Holy Name within this camp’…’You too were called out, to be kadosh. You have broken covenant with Adonai.'” I balled. I cried my eyes out and then asked God to forgive me again for every sin I had ever committed. This moment is so powerful!!!
This book is fantastic. Ms. Cossette has a GIFT. She can take moments from the Bible that we have all probably turned into a one-dimensional picture, and turn them into a 3-dimensional, emotionally-churning, gut-wrenching epoch. I devoured the pages of this novel. I highly, highly recommend this book.