Title: A Light on the Hill
Author: Connilyn Cossette
Series: Cities of Refuge, book 1
Major Themes: Biblical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
Synopsis: After accidentally killing her two future step-sons, Moriyah must flee for her life—but with her past already haunting her, will she ever be able to find peace again?
I didn’t know what to expect when I started A Light on the Hill, but I remember hearing good things about the author before, and thought I’d try it. Wow…I didn’t expect such a gripping story! Very few books suck me in as much as this one did. I’ve been known before to take the long way around to do a job just so I could get a little bit more time in of reading, and this book was definitely one of those that easily induces me to do so. Although it’s Biblical fiction, it’s very well done and (as far as I can tell) pretty much Biblically accurate. I loved that fact! There were a few parts I struggled with, but even with those, I couldn’t put it down.
All of her life so far, Moriyah has hidden away from everyone except those she loves. After being kidnapped as a young girl and sold in Jericho, she was branded as a temple girl—and although Jericho fell the next day, everyone thinks that she worked in the temple, and despise her for that. Although she’d love to mingle with the other girls, Moriyah feels like she can’t because of the stain of her reputation. However, things get worse when she finds out her father has arranged a marriage for her. When she meets the man, she realizes he’s only marrying her in order to get her father’s vineyard, and doesn’t actually even like her. Horrified at the prospect of her future, but determined not to give her father any more grief, she agrees to the marriage. However, when she accidentally causes the deaths of her two future step-sons, she must flee for her life—or be killed by the vengeful father. Several cities of refuge have been designated already, but it’s a race of life and death to see if she can get to one of them before the man or his servants make it.
I think I’d list A Light on the Hill among the best fiction titles I’ve read so far this year. The story was one of the most gripping I’ve read in quite a while, and the characters were very relatable. Sometimes I wanted to slap one or the other, but in all I felt like the author did an amazing job crafting this book.
There were a few things I struggled with, such as portions of the romance. Although nothing happened besides some kisses (at least, the reader isn’t told about anything!), there were several scenes that I skimmed to a certain extent because of strong physical affection and emotions. Most of the time, it doesn’t bother me too much, but this time although I LOVED the rest of the story, that part bugged me a little. This may just be personal preference, so it might not be a problem for you! If your teens do read it, though, you might want to talk to them about it.
Note: I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher, and chose to share my thoughts about it.
WARNING: In the prologue, a girl is branded with a hot iron. In chapter 2, a girl is thought of as a previous prostitute. In chapter 9, two boys die after ingesting poison. In chapter 14, there is a fight and two men are killed. In chapter 16, a man remembers seeing someone harming his mother when he was little, and how she later was killed because of false accusations. In chapter 18, there is a woman who prays to gods and has a couple human skulls and some animal bones obviously connected to her worship. In chapter 24, half-naked temple girls are mentioned with sensual smiles. In chapter 26, a man tells what he will do to the Hebrews when he catches them (pretty disgusting). In chapter 27, an intimate gesture is made by a man with a woman. In chapter 28, someone tries to kill a man, and later a lion attacks and kills a man. In chapter 29, there are quite a few kisses, and several pages were bordering on quite sensual in my opinion. In chapters 30, 31, and 39 there are more kisses. In chapter 33, there is some fighting, a man trying to kill his brother, and a woman is almost killed. In chapter 35, there is a mention of what happened when people touched the ark of the covenant.