Title: Until the Mountains Fall
Author: Connilyn Cossette
Series: Cities of Refuge, book 3
Major Themes: Ancient Israel, Biblical Fiction, Books for Women
Synopsis: When Rivkah is asked to marry a man in obedience to the law, she runs away—but her life goes from bad to worse. Can her father ever forgive her?
I’ve been eagerly anticipating Until the Mountains Fall for quite a few months now. So when I saw that it was finally available, I was quite excited! I loved the first two books in the series, A Light on the Hill and Shelter of the Most High, and knew I’d likely enjoy this book just as much as those. Well…I ended up loving it even more!
One of my most favorite aspects of Cossette’s writing is that she sticks to the Old Testament laws. The ancient Israelites may not have been perfect in living them out, but she does her best to share her stories within the boundaries of the Torah, and I applaud her for that! Even small things are taken into consideration, like the stipulations surrounding vows, or the procedure for having a lifetime servant, or what a newly-married man can or cannot do. I love the fact that she’s done her research and done it well—it makes the whole story feel more believable.
Recently widowed and still grieving the loss of her husband, Rivkah has been encouraged to marry her husband’s brother, in order to give her husband an heir according to the command in the law. However, she has no intention of marrying the boy-turned-man who teased her mercilessly in their youth. Her only option is to run; but she soon discovers herself in even deeper trouble than before. Will her life be wasted as she tries to support herself however she can? Can her father—and her betrothed—ever forgive her for what she’s done? And with trouble brewing in the area, how can she even hope for her own safety?
Until the Mountains Fall has one of the best “prodigal” stories I’ve read in fiction. It’s somewhat of a subtle theme, but it’s there, and I loved it. As I mentioned before, I’ve always appreciated the setting for Cossette’s books—they have a ring of realism that I haven’t felt in every Biblical fiction I’ve read. This book, especially, is one of my favorites by her, though. I never felt pulled out of the story, the romance wasn’t too intense in the physical aspect for me (at least, for the most part), and I felt like I could relate with the characters well.
If you’re looking for a good Biblical fiction series that actually can carry the name “Biblical” fairly well, I’d recommend you check out the Cities of Refuge series. They aren’t all perfect—I found some of the romantic elements in the first two books more than I can appreciate, bordering on lust—but otherwise, they are excellent stories. This time period in Israel will never look quite the same to me again, in a very good sort of way!
I requested a free review copy of this book from NetGalley, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: There is lying in ch. 1, 5, and 23. Cursing or swearing is mentioned in ch. 3, 13, 34, 36, and 38. There is touching between unmarried people in ch. 2, 8, 9 (inappropriate), 30, 31, 33, 34, and 36. Kisses are mentioned in ch. 6, 10, 23, 33, 36, 40, 42, 43, and 44; some scenes feel a lot more intimate than others. Pregnancy is mentioned in ch. 5 and 6. Fornication is mentioned in ch. 10, 27, 30, and 34—generally only hints of it, never describing the act itself. Mentions of the possibility of masters forcing themselves upon their maids are in ch. 21, 22, and 39. A woman is not dressed well at all in ch. 23, and she is loudly speaking intimacies to her husband in the chapter (not described too much, but you get the picture). False Canaanite gods are mentioned in ch. 9, and heathen worship rituals, which are really awful, are briefly told of in the same chapter. Chapter 12 mentions a girl who was recruiting temple girls. A woman is drunk in ch. 9. Men or women are hurt and lives are threatened in ch. 13, 25, 30, 36, 38, 39, and 40 (this was a battle scene). Men are killed in ch. 17, 39 (more than one), and 40 (again, more than one).