Shadow of the Storm: Book Review

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“There will be times when there is nothing you can do but survive, to place one foot after the other into the driving rain.” 
― Connilyn Cossette, Shadow of the Storm

Title:  Shadow of the Storm

Series: Out of Egypt Series

Author:  Connilyn Cossette

Publish Date:  October 18th, 2016

Reading Format:  Kindle Book

Goodreads Summary: 

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?

Review:

Connilynn Cossette has become a favorite author of mine over the past few years.  I love that she focuses on Biblical fiction, and her ability to tell a story about women from so long ago that can still feel relevant today.  I have enjoyed her Out of Egypt Series and have finally concluded it after unknowingly reading the books out of order.  (I accidentally read the 3rd book first before knowing it was the final book in the series. Oops!)

Shadow of the Storm is my favorite of the trilogy.  I found Shira’s story to be the most moving to me of the three, but that might have been because I felt like I was reading this book at the exact time I needed to.  You know what I mean?  Have you ever opened a book and knowing this is exactly what you needed for the mood or life moment you are in?  This was definitely it for me!

It had been almost two years since I read the 1st book, Counted with the Stars, in the fall of 2017.  I wasn’t sure if I would remember too much, but it wasn’t too hard to recall Shira and Kiya’s adventures from before.  In this book Shira is the main character this time around and it is set at the base of Mount Sinai, where the Hebrews resided for 1 year following their exodus from Egypt.  Having grown up hearing and reading the biblical stories of Moses and the Israelites exodus to the promise land, I always find Biblical fiction so fascinating.  It seems to feel in the blanks a bit about what daily life would have been like and give more detail to the bigger picture.

Much like the other 2 books, Shadow of the Storm is filled with a lot of action and drama with an overarching love story. The story lines can fill like they follow a specific pattern in each book, but each story feels different and unique without feeling like a been-there-done-that plot line.

If your looking for a historical fiction novel that isn’t set in World War II then I would suggest checking out this series.  As a fellow lover of historical fiction, reading a time period not set between 1936-1945 has helped me not to burnout in my reading life and enter into a book slump.

And as a trigger warning to some who may chose to read this, Shira does have a traumatic event in her past that makes her uncomfortable around men.  You may want to research further before deciding to read if you are sensitive to certain themes.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Winter Garden: Book Review

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“To those who are here, those who are gone, and those who are lost.” — Kristen Hannah, Winter Garden

Title: Winter Garden

Author: Kristin Hannah

Published: February 2, 2010

Genre: Contemporary/Historical/Fiction

Reading Format: Kindle book

Summary:

Meredith and Nina Whitson have always had a very cold relationship with there mother Anya. The girls only warm connection with their mother came in the form of the Russian fairy tales Anya would tell them as children. When their beloved father passes, his last request to Nina is for her to have her mother retell the fairy tales to the girls.  As Anya reluctantly begins to tell the tales again her daughters learn more about her past than they ever have before and what seemed like an impossible relationship between mother and daughters starts to form.

Review:

One of Kristen Hannah’s other works is my all time favorite books, The Nightingale. I love Kristen’s writing and how she expands upon the different relationships the characters have with one another.  While Winter Garden did not surpass my love for The Nightingale I still found this book to be a good read.

The setting of Winter Garden .  I will say the book has a slow start to the actual fairy tale parts that Anya tells to her daughters. Because this does take awhile I felt that the end of Anya’s fairy tale was rushed and too much of the first 100 to 200 pages are devoted to the build up of the stories without actually devoting a lot of time to tell them.  Other than that Winter Garden was a good book. I learned some stuff about Russian history I’ve never known about and its made me want to look into other historical fiction set in Russia.

Winter Garden is also a very emotional read.  Much like Kristen Hannah’s other books, the author really plays with the readers heart strings with Anya’s story.  At times the characters themselves can be a bit irritating, at least that’s how they made me feel. This was especially true with Meredith’s need to control everything while also claiming to do it because she want’s to make everyone happy.  In truth when I think about the story line that takes place in “present time” (story takes place in the year 2000 in Washington State and also in Leningrad, Russia during World War II), I could have actually done without it completely and had it focus only on the Leningrad parts. Even with that said I’d still recommend Winter Garden, if you like World War II history but would like a mix of family drama then you should read this book.

Rating: 3.85 stars out of 5

Happy Reading,

Meghan