Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette
About this book: (from the publisher) Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.
To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?
About the author: When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), Connilyn Cossette is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure, out-of-print history books. There is nothing she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible and uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives near Dallas, Texas. Connect with her at connilyncossette.com.
Genre: Fiction/Biblical Fiction
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: G
Reminds me of: Biblical fiction by Stephanie Landsem
[Tweet “Biblical fiction buffs, looking for a new author? Debut “Out From Egypt” series by Connilyn Cossette”]
Reflection: The Exodus story. To this day, it remains an epic tale that reverberates deep in the souls of God’s faithful. So layered in mystery, adventure, and revelation of the Divine, its depths will never be completely plumbed. I find it hard to resist a novel like this one that offers a fresh examination of this rich, old story.
Counted with the Stars, told solely from the perspective of an Egyptian slave, provides readers a well-imagined glimpse of the terror experienced by those who lived through the famous ten plagues. As a side note: just a few weeks before reading this book, I’d learned that each of the ten plagues presented a specific, direct challenge to ten of the main Egyptian gods. I’d not known that particular detail and so was intrigued to see it lived out in this story.
What I appreciated most about this novel was its unique, “outsider-looks-in” perspective–that, and the author’s meticulous research and her deft hand at weaving historical minutiae into her narrative. I did feel, though, that many of the characters lacked that same kind of originality and finesse–with the notable exception of the main character and eventual love interest, who were far more complex. Most characters struck me as a bit too one-dimensional and predictable. Kiya’s nemesis, for instance, is her mistress–which we’ve seen dozens of times before–who hates Kiya for reasons that aren’t hard to guess. And while on the whole descriptions are well-drawn, occasionally the author resorts to clichéd hyperbole. (“Pure evil dripped from her smile.” p.89).
Nonetheless, in rating this novel, I would put it higher than my own personal appreciation might suggest because the production and creative values are otherwise strong, and the meticulous research and fresh take on a familiar story make it worthwhile reading.
Thanks to Bethany House and Bethany Bloggers for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.