About the Book
Book: To Dwell among Cedars
Author: Connilyn Cossette
Series: The Covenant House #1
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Genre: Biblical Literature, Historical Fiction
Eight years ago, when the Philistines stole and then surrendered the ark of the covenant back to the Israelites, Eliora left her Philistine homeland to follow the ark to the community of Kiryat Yearim. There, the family she was adopted into has guarded the ark at the top of a mountain in seclusion.
Ronen is a Levite musician determined to secret away the ark to a more fitting resting place, watched over by priests who would restore the Holy of Holies. He never expected that the Philistine girl he rescued years ago would now be part of the very family he’s tasked to deceive.
As Ronen’s attempts to charm Eliora lead them in unexpected directions, betrayal leaves Eliora with strained family ties and Ronen questioning his own loyalties. Ultimately, Eliora and Ronen are caught up in the battle for the soul of Israel and its future under the leadership of Samuel, the last judge before the era of the kings begins.
To Dwell among Cedars by Connilyn Cossette is an exquisite read. This story took my breath away, had me in tears, and left me with a wonderful sense of hope and belonging. As with all Cossette novels, To Dwell among Cedars is masterful. The plot is highly engaging and captivating. I truly hated to put this book down. The historical and Biblical details are so well researched and so brilliantly illustrated that I felt transported to the time of the Judges. I could feel the debauchery and vileness of Ashdod. I could smell the verdant cedars of Kiryat Yearim. I could feel the terror as the Ark was mishandled by self-serving men. To Dwell among Cedars is a fully interactive read! In addition, the characters are simply wonderful. Eliora and Ronen are fully developed, realistic, and truly endearing. I will not forget these characters. Their struggles and frustrations and heartaches are so universal I felt I could easily relate to both. And, as if this isn’t enough, this story is replete with timely messages and themes that had me self-reflecting and crying out to Jesus. To Dwell among Cedars is the cathartic read I didn’t even know I needed!
I don’t understand what it means to be loved just cause. That absolutely doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m going to be 40 years old in just a few months and I STILL struggle with this concept. How is it possible that the Creator of EVERYTHING loves me just cause? I’m puny and insignificant and messy. I make mistakes — sometimes really big ones. I really struggle with anger. And I HATE stupid. BUT, I’m a great worker bee. I can clean anything. I can grade anything. I can blog with the best of them. My boss needs a volunteer for a conference — I’m there. My husband needs dinner now — I’ve got it. My daughter needs help with a project — it’s on. I will work until I basically pass out. And with all that work comes appreciation and love and acceptance, right? Nope. Most of the time, my works go unnoticed. And then my mistakes happen. And then I feel unlovable, unforgivable, unacceptable. Eliora is my fictional soul sister. I can’t tell you how many times I burst into tears while reading her story because what she does in this novel is what I do — try to earn love through works. You know what this gets people like me and Eliora? Exhaustion, soul weariness, utter frustration, and, if we are not careful, total hopelessness. For the first time in my life, through the reading of this novel, I think I finally understand what it means to be accepted by God, to be loved by Him. It turns out I don’t have to understand WHY God loves me, I just need to accept that He does. I am walking away from To Dwell among Cedars a little smarter and a lot stronger in my walk with Jesus.
If you can’t tell already, I highly recommend To Dwell among Cedars. This beautiful story is not one I will soon forget. If you love Biblical Literature, Historical Fiction, or just plain good stories, then this is definitely the book for you!
I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, via NetGalley in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.