Wings of the Wind (2017) by Connilyn Cossette is the third 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 five days. I give this novel 5 STARS. It is a Christian Biblical novel set at the end of the 40 years in the wilderness when the Israelites are fighting Canaanites for the Promised Land.
Here is the GoodReads blurb:
Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.
Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can’t ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.
Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage — for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape. But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she’s found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core. Can Alanah’s fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she’s come to love?
In the first novel of this series the reader is introduced to Kiya, a young Egyptian woman who chooses Yahweh over Egypt and flees with the Israelites into the wilderness during the Great Exodus. The second book, Shira’s story, tells of an Israelite trying to find the place God has created for her out in the vast wilderness. Specifically, it takes place the first year the Israelites are out in the wilderness where they foolishly worship the golden calf, learn the Torah, and construct the Mishkan. The final novel, Alanah’s story, illustrates a young, exceptionally angry Canaanite woman who wants revenge against the people who killed her father and brothers. So, the final setting is the end of the Exodus story when the new generation of Israelites, under Joshua’s leadership and God’s power and grace, fight the Canaanites to win the Promised Land.
Alanah is fascinating. She is beautiful, strong, hardworking, and exceptionally talented with a bow and arrow. But, she is also hard and hopeless. She is a young woman who has grown up around the debauchery and vileness of Canaan, has loathed it her whole life, and feels utter hopelessness by her circumstances (she is a young, unmarried, pretty girl with no money or family, but adamantly refuses to become a cult prostitute; she would rather kill herself). She knows the actions of her people are wrong, but she doesn’t have anywhere to turn. The violence, the prostitution, the blood sacrifices to Baal…all of this literally turns her stomach. This book does not shy away or cover up the truth about what Canaanites practiced on a daily basis. I had to take breaks from this novel to pray and get in the right mindset (that’s why it took me five days to read this book). Canaan was an evil place, and Ms. Cossette aptly illustrates this in a well-written, highly researched manner. In “A Note From The Author” at the end of the book, Cossette states, “Although it may have been difficult to read about the atrocities of Canaan, as much as it was to write some of them, I felt it was necessary to depict the brutal nature of the tribes that made up Canaan…Civilizations that destroyed human life in sacrifice to their gods disappeared, in one way or the other.”
Tobiah, the Israelite whom Alanah falls in love with, is a great character. He is strong, quiet, gentle, and vulnerable. Tobiah, from the house of Judah, is a soldier in the Israelite army. He 100% trusts that God is going to give Canaan into the Israelites’ hands. He is even prepared to fight against the Canaanites at any cost. BUT, he is not expecting to meet Alanah, a Canaanite, and fall in love. The best part of this relationship is the patience. Alanah is clearly a hurting woman. Tobiah has some pain to work through as well. Both are a bit distrustful with one another, as you would expect of enemies, but they are patient with one another. When their relationship progresses to love, it feels incredibly genuine and natural.
One issue that this novel brought up was the Israelites’ complaining against and boredom with manna. At first, I didn’t think anything of the complaints. I actually glossed over that detail. It wasn’t until an outsider — Alanah — was brought into the camp and given some manna that I realized many of the Israelites were being whiny complainers again. When Alanah tastes the manna for the first time, it is such a good experience. This woman came from a drab, dark place. When she eats the manna, begins to learn about Yahweh and His Torah, and experiences respect, she is a bit overwhelmed by it all. At one point, when she can’t take the complaints anymore, she scolds a group explaining that life in Canaan without God is hard. For her it was bone-breaking, long, arduous days. It was working from sun up past sun down with little to show for it. She scolds them for taking for granted God’s protection and daily provision. She is shocked that they could behave so ungratefully.
At this point, my English teacher hat came on and I realized just how awesome this novel, and Ms. Cossette’s writing, truly is. The complaining Israelites, Alanah, and the manna are metaphors. Alanah is the new convert to the manna (JESUS is the Bread of Life!) and she cannot comprehend how the Israelites could possibly complain about daily provision. Alana, who did experience real hunger and want at times, could not understand a people who were ungrateful for a constant, nutritious food they did not have to work for, or for a protective, loving God! The Israelites represent old converts who have made manna a religious ritual — something done by rote and without relationship to the God who provides. This is a GREAT reminder for me: is Manna important in my life? Do I have a relationship with Jesus? Or, has Manna become a religious thing I sort of do?
There is much more I could say about this novel, but I think that would lead me to spoiling everything. Suffice it to say, this novel is beautiful. It is well-written, well-researched, and realistic. It is fast-paced and full of action. You cannot get bored reading this book. Like the other novels in this series, this book has given me a new appreciation for the Exodus story in the Bible, and for the God I love so much. After reading this book in particular, I do have a greater appreciation for the Manna in my life. I highly, highly recommend this series. I am sad that there are no more books in this series, but I do look forward to many future novels by Ms. Cossette.