Until the Mountains Fall (Cities of Refuge)

Written by Connilyn Cossette
Review by J. Lynn Else

“If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead man shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her.” – Deuteronomy 25:5 ESV

1380 BC. A month after her husband’s death, Rivkah is betrothed to her husband’s brother, Malakhi. Rivkah feels like a brood mare, lost and unheard by her family. Little does she know that Malakhi has been in love with her for years. He longs to make her happy, but Rivkah only sees the boy who teased her growing up. Unable to make her father understand, Rivkah runs away with another woman fleeing an unwanted betrothal, but Rivkah doesn’t know how this act will ripple through Malakhi’s family and drudge up an old family conflict. Along the path Rivkah finds herself traveling, can she find a way back to God? And as an Aramean invasion looms, can Malakhi’s love survive the heartache of abandonment when Rivkah and her family need him the most?

Cossette’s next installment in the Cities of Refuge series revolves around Deuteronomy 25:5 intermixed with one of Jesus’s parables. Rivkah’s boldness and views on Torah law feel slightly modern, but I think this is very subtle and works to connect with modern audiences. Cossette masterfully explores complex Biblical questions and provides fresh perspective to the Old Testament. Narrative switches between Malakhi and Rivkah help encompass the broader landscape and keep the plot engaging. Rivkah has a love of writing, and I enjoyed exploring how women could occupy the role of a scribe in ancient society. Cossette’s prose is engaging and beautiful while employing heartfelt themes of mercy and redemption. Recommended.