To Dwell Among Cedars by Connilyn Cossette
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don’t think I’ve ever read Biblical fiction, but after hearing lots and lots of good things about this book from several people, I decided I had to try it. For the first hundred or so pages, I wasn’t sold. The pacing was just a little off, or maybe I just wasn’t able to connect with the characters. But sometime near the middle of the book, this story gripped me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
The cast of characters was great. Eliora was such a brave, selfless woman, and Ronen, with all of his faults, was also likeable for the most part. I enjoyed that he was a musician and that he began praising the Lord again as he’d been called to. And Lukio/Natan? Yep, that guy definitely needs a book. The way the author set up the second book was perfect. The other supporting characters – especially Eliora’s family and Azuvah – were great. I loved seeing Eliora’s adopted family! And poor Azuvah, she was just so faithful.
The plot of the book was really interesting and something I’d never thought about before. I didn’t imagine the Hebrews fighting over where the Ark of the Covenant stayed, and I didn’t think about some people not believing the Ark had much power (or rather, that God’s power would come through it.) It’s very clear in Scripture that bad things happened when the Ark was abused, but I guess doubt and disbelief were just as common back then as they are now. Eliora and Ronen’s romance was also sweet – definitely very clean, which was welcome. The ending was pretty suspenseful, and the second half of the book really moved along well.
One of my favorite parts about this book were the themes. There was so much good stuff in here! Belief in the Lord’s power, the adoption of Eliora into a brand-new family, the importance of obedience, being thankful for who the Lord made you, and worshiping God through music were all touched upon. I especially loved the part about Eliora’s adoption when she finally understood that her place in the family wasn’t dependent on her performance – just as it is in the Lord’s family! We aren’t saved by works – we’re saved by grace, sufficient grace that never changes or alters even when we fail. Watching Eliora learn that in her earthly family was so beautiful and such a great picture for Christians!
Overall, I enjoyed my first foray into Biblical fiction. It’s probably still not my favorite genre, but I loved the strong Biblical themes (and it was cool to see Samuel show up!) I’m going to have to find the second book now and see what happens to Lukio!