Monday, June 5, 2017

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette, 2017

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Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.
Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can’t ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.
Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage—for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape. But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she’s found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core. Can Alanah’s fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she’s come to love?

(352 pages)

I have read very, very few books set before the lifetime of Christ.

Actually, make that books set before the Renaissance. Or maybe even books set before the 1700s. Really, most of the novels I read seem to either be fantasy stories (i.e. not set in our timeline) or based in more modern times. That's why I was really intrigued by Wings of the Wind, which promised to tell a fascinating romance story set during the battles between the Canaanites and the Israelites near the end of the forty years in the desert after God's people had fled from Egypt.

And it delivered. I honestly really, really enjoyed reading Wings of the Wind. I have no idea how historically accurate it was, but it seemed well-researched and relatively plausible. The characters are all realistic, and though I saw some of the plot twists coming from a mile away I definitely didn't foresee how everything wound wind up tying back to the biblical narrative. The romance between Alanah and Tobiah is relatively gradual and realistic, and not as creepy as the whole forced marriage plotline could have gone. I liked them together and was rooting throughout everything for them to stay together throughout everything that was happening. I also really liked the depiction of Yahweh, because he was so active in the Israelites' lives during this period and I think Cossette depicted his powerful justice and simultaneous mercy very skillfully.

That being said, I do want to warn potential readers that this book doesn't pull any punches. There are many references to what soldiers do to unarmed women they come across, and of Alanah's desperation not to let that happen to her, especially at the beginning of the book. Then there are some scenes that describe a couple in love and some *ahem* morning after scenes. Later in the book, Alanah encounters another city that is teeming with vice and prostitutes. Basically, there are a lot of references to both having sex and avoiding molestation throughout the book that I thought were a little bit much. In her author's note, however, Cossette explains her choice to include the atrocities committed by the Canaanites by describing her desire to provide a clear-eyed look at the people who were being wiped out. I still don't know that I can totally be okay with wiping out a whole people in order to steal their land, but I suppose God must have known what he was doing.

Anyway, this is one of the most well-written and fascinating Christian fiction/romance books I've ever read, and–with a warning about the mature material it includes–I do recommend it highly. If you're in the mood for this sort of book, then just know that Wings of the Wind is one of the good ones.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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