Title: Shadow of the Storm
Author: Connilyn Cossette
Series: Out from Egypt, book 2
Major Themes: Ancient Israel, Biblical Fiction, Romance, Midwifery
Synopsis: After years of learning and hating weaving, Shira has discovered her life’s work—but when a young mother dies under her care, will she be able to forgive herself, or will the trauma she suffered in Egypt and now in the wilderness destroy her confidence forever?
I was delighted when, around a year ago, I was able to borrow Counted With the Stars from a friend. I’d been looking forward to reading it for years, but never had the chance until then. After reading that book, I knew I wanted to get Shadow of the Storm as soon as possible—although, in the end, it was a few months until I was able to download the audiobook and listen to it. What a read! I expected to be sucked into the story, but I think I found this book more gripping than Counted, if that is possible!
Although she’s always worked for her mother, helping out with the family weaving business, Shira has never been good at her job. Her work is passable, of course, but nothing to be really proud of. One stormy night, when her mother is called away on an urgent summons to help supply the lack of midwives in the Hebrew camp, Shira goes along, too—and discovers that not only is she fascinated with the process of bringing new life into the world, but she’s good at encouraging and supporting laboring women. Is this what she was created to do? Against her mother’s wishes, she throws herself into learning the skills necessary to protect the mothers and babies under her care. But one horrible day, she loses a new mother. Bound to a man she cannot trust, and caring for the three young children who are left behind, Shira tries to keep her head above water—but when a vengeful woman who hates Shira’s tribe gets involved, life becomes even more difficult. Can she face her fears from the past and rest in the fact that Yahweh will care for them, even when her life seems to be a mountain of broken pieces?
I think the reason why I connected so well with Shira in Shadow of the Storm is because I’ve gone through some difficult things, and watching her work through her pain helped me in my journey as well. Our histories may be quite different (and I’m ever so glad I haven’t had to face what she did!), but recovering from trauma and the ways seemingly-innocent things can trigger us is something I could relate to as I read her story. We might lead different lives, but underneath, there are often commonalities—and I appreciated seeing that playing out in this book. Some of the advice Shira was given was especially encouraging to me, and, of course, it was helpful that her story had a good ending.
One thing I hadn’t really considered before is what life might have been like for the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. How did they react when God talked to them? What was it like to know that others were out there worshiping the golden calf against God’s wishes? How long did it take to build the tabernacle and get the priests ready to serve? I’d never considered some of those questions before, but seeing an idea of how that may have happened in this book was quite fascinating.
History, coupled with an excellent mystery and rich characters, made Shadow of the Storm a great read. I can’t wait to dive into the last book and find out what happens next!
WARNING: There are mentions of Egyptian gods several times. In ch. 1, people hear other people being killed outside. A character was raped before the story began, and there are several flashbacks to that in ch. 2, 28, and 37. A man is killed in ch. 4. Several times, there are details of women pregnant, in labor, or deliveries. In ch. 16, a woman bleeds to death. There is some lying throughout, and “cursed” is used several times. One character was born in a brothel, and throughout the story, she tries to seduce a man (ch. 24 and 33 were the worst). A man talks about his unfaithful wife in ch. 34 and later, admits he got a girl pregnant out of wedlock in ch. 36. There is touching here in there in the story (one inappropriate time in ch. 30, and a couple are alone in the dark in ch. 35), and kisses are mentioned in ch. 35, 37, 41, 42, and 48. Ch. 41 has a short scene with a couple in their wedding tent. In ch. 45, a man tries to rape and kill a woman, and he ends up getting very hurt, and in ch. 49 a badly burned woman is discovered.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults