Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books, reading, Reviews

“A Light on the Hill” by Connilyn Cossette ~ Book Review

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“A Light on the Hill” by Connilyn Cossette

Book One in the Cities of Refuge Series

Review copy from the publishers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

 

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.

 

 

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My Thoughts:

 

What a delightful treat to be able to read Moriyah’s story, whom we were introduced to in “Wings of the Wind” (part of the Out of Egypt Series, while this book is book one of the Cities of Refuge Series)!
I loved this book; it was excellent. I love how the author weaves a story that is at once so captivating and so meaningful and ripe with the Lord’s beauty.
And I loved the characters – of course, Moriyah, but also Ora, and Eitan (SO adorable!!), and the hero Derek – all such excellent characters, well-constructed and portrayed.
I was impressed that most of the book was one of the characters being on the move – they weren’t in one location for very long, and that made the setting very unique! And adventurous. Though the reason behind it was a sad one, the descriptions of the sights they saw were a pleasure to read.
Moriyah’s heart-journey was even more enjoyable, seeing her struggles from page one and how she found healing from Yahweh. Her finding her worth was beautiful. <3
She was so kind to those around her, and so strong even when she felt herself weak. I also loved how she could hear Yahweh’s Voice – so precious. Moriyah was such an easy character to bond with. I felt like I shared in her sorrows and also her joys. I wanted to see her triumph, but most of all I loved how she committed – and surrendered – her life to Yahweh. Such a humbling and good reminder, one I love to read about in fiction.
I was a little surprised by the amount of kissing involved…I am not a Biblical/Historical expert at all, but I wouldn’t think that a Hebrew maiden would give away so many kisses before commitment, let alone before marriage. And if it was a matter of getting caught up in the moment (understandable; the flesh is weak), I think because of their upbringing, she would have felt a bit of remorse afterwards, if that makes sense.
But otherwise, I very much adored this book.
Each piece of this book was well-written and engaging, and I can hardly wait for the next one (yay for getting to see an older Eitan in the next one!!)!!
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Quotes:

 

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“Hear, O Israel. The Lord your God, the Lord is One. And you should love the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength…these words which I command you today shall be on your heart.” If I loved Yahweh, I would obey, no matter the cost.

 

Posted in 1940's, Author Interview, Books

Author Interview! Sarah Sundin

 

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Welcome to the third Author-Interview Monday on this blog! I can’t wait to share this lovely interview with author Sarah Sundin herself! Like, so excited. I’m a huge fan, and so to have her here on the blog – yep, pretty amazing!! I won’t keep you in suspense any longer…here’s the interview!!

 

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Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :)  Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:

My name is Sarah Sundin, and I write historical romance set during World War II.

 

 

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Of your books, is there a character that you relate best to? And if so, why?

I relate to all my main characters. When I write a novel, I really try to get into the skin of my hero and heroine. Before I begin the rough draft, I explore their lives up until the story begins, their personalities, fears, secrets, dreams, and hopes. In the process of writing, I imagine the story through the lens of their experiences. I feel like I get very close to them.

 

 

 

Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?

Names are very important to me. Sometimes the character’s name is just there, and other times I have to work to find it. Baby name books are very helpful, and I look at timeliness of names, ethnicity, and meaning as well as if it seems to fit the character. For Wyatt Paxton’s name in The Sea Before Us, I thought I might want a name with a meaning related to the sea, since he’s a naval officer. I found Wyatt, which means water, and it sounded like an appropriate name for my hero from Texas! For Dorothy Fairfax, I chose Dorothy because it was very popular in that time period and it just fit her.

 

 

 

I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one?  If so, would you mind sharing?

I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I do a lot of pre-writing. I fill out character charts, plot charts, and more. Lists and color-coding and timelines make me very happy!

 

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It usually energizes me. The plotting phase sometimes feels like a wrestling match as I’m trying to make the story and history and characters fit a structure, but it’s thrilling when it comes together. And the rest of the writing process is a blast—I love character development, research, the rough draft, and editing.

 

 

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How important to you is the faith-element in your writing?

Very important. Each of my main characters has an issue to deal with—a sin issue, a faith issue, or a flaw he hasn’t dealt with. The events of the story forces him to turn to the Lord in order to grow and change.

 

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

Snicker. My husband is a pharmacist and he married a pharmacist—who turned into a novelist. It was kind of disorienting for him. He’s come to support his wife’s strange new career. When my daughter was a teenager, she thought my writing career was my way to torture her. She’s grown out of that now, thank goodness. My grown sons are great supporters and avid readers! My youngest son, a sailor in the Navy based in Japan, had his picture taken with one of my books at the top of Mount Fuji!

 

 

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If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell her to relax, be patient, and enjoy the writing process. I was so eager and anxious to get published—as are most beginning writers. But discovering the joy of writing was a time to be savored and to explore.

 

 

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have two complete unpublished novels and an unpublished novella. The novels will never—and should never—be published. But they served their purpose and showed me I could finish a full-length novel. As for the novella, I’m still fond of it and would enjoy doing something with it someday.

 

 

 

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What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

One of the joys of belonging to the Christian writing community is meeting dozens of authors. Some have become critique partners, some have become publicity partners, and some have “just” become dear friends. It’s an incredible blessing!

 

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your latest, “The Sea Before Us”?

Recently I’ve read and loved Kristy Cambron’s The Lost Castle (one of the three timelines involves the French Resistance leading up to D-day) and Jocelyn Green’s A Refuge Assured. Next on my to-be-read pile are two more World War II novels, Cathy Gohlke’s Until We Find Home and Liz Tolsma’s Melody of the Soul.

 

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Thank you so very much, Mrs. Sundin!

 

 

 

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Sarah Sundin is the award-winning author of ten novels, including The Sea Before Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. Please visit her at www.sarahsundin.com.

 

 

 

 

 

The Sea Before Us.jpgBlurb for “The Sea Before Us”:

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France, determined to redeem himself with the brothers he has betrayed. Dorothy Fairfax serves as a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, piecing together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France—including those of her family’s summer home—in order to create maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day. As Wyatt and Dorothy work together, he hopes Dorothy will return his growing love. But will family secrets, misplaced affections—and the seas off Normandy—separate them forever?

 

 

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Wasn’t that superb, readers? I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed reading her answers. And I took encouragement from what she’d tell her younger-writer-self. To enjoy the writing time. It’s definitely easy to strive for that one day when you finally become published, but the writing process is my favourite part and I want to savor it while it’s here. :)

So many great answers, and I hope you all enjoyed reading them as well! Learning more about favourite authors is a great treat. :)

 

If you’re interested, you can also read my review of “The Sea Before Us” here.

 

And check back next Monday for another special Character-introduction post! :)

 

 

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*Some of the images are stock-photos or taken from Amazon/Goodreads. I don’t claim any ownership to those ones.