Shelter of the Most High (Cities of Refuge Book #2)

Written by Connilyn Cossette
Review by J. Lynn Else

1388 BC: With their island village plundered and their families murdered, Sofea and her cousin Prezi are taken by pirates.  After a daring escape, Sofea and Prezi wash up on the shores of an unfamiliar land, where they are discovered by soldiers. Raised by a community who offered blood sacrifices and were ruled by Sofea’s cruel father, the islanders are fearful of what’s in store for them—especially as they do not speak the native language. They are brought to Kedesh, into the caring hands of Moyirah and her family. As they learn about Hebrew life, Sofea develops feelings for a young man named Eitan. While Eitan shares these feelings, he longs to become a soldier alongside his adoptive father. However, plans to avenge the death of two boys are unfolding, deaths that are the reason Eitan cannot step foot beyond Kedesh’s borders, and these shadows from the past are about to make Sofea a pawn in their deadly game.

Cossette’s characters and their emotional growth are always a highlight of her novels, especially within this series.  Eitan and Sofea have fractured hearts, their lives have been marred by death, and they’re learning to forgive themselves for past mistakes.  This time, Cossette amps up the anxiety by having two main characters unable to communicate during the first section of the story and thus must learn to trust by the actions of strangers. Sofea is a girl who grew up by the sea, and her references are beautifully drawn from her past experiences. Compared to Cossette’s other books, the pacing of Shelter of the Most High is a bit languid in the middle. Overall, however, it’s a deeply felt and historically rich story about hope, forgiveness, and trusting in God’s love. I look forward to the next book of this series.