Counted With the Stars by Connilyn Cossette
Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation.
When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus.
She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?
Connilyn Cossette became a blip on my radar last March, when through social media, I read of her aspirations to publish a novel based upon the Exodus. As a voracious reader of biblical fiction, I’ve been following the progress of Counted With the Stars with uncontainable enthusiasm. It’s not often that this sub-genre of historical fiction welcomes a new voice. Connilyn brings fresh perspective and so much more in her debut novel Counted With the Stars.
One of the strongest draws to this novel is it’s multi-dimensional characters. The narrative is delivered through the first person point of view of Kiya. Ripped from a life of luxury, Kiya despairs over the loss of her family as well as the hardships she must endure in servitude to Tekurah — the lady of the house. It’s not long, however, before she finds solace in the friendship of a Hebrew slave. One sacrificial act by new acquaintance Shira, followed by subsequent talks about her One God pave the way for a soul-deep friendship between the two. Shira’s faith, gentle spirit, and willing acceptance of God’s good plan stirred my heart. Secondary characters like Shira’s brother Eben, as well as Kiya’s mother and brother enrich the story with glimmers of love and forgiveness.
Connilyn led me to see the events of Exodus with new eyes. For the first time, I questioned how word of Moses’ confrontations with Pharaoh would have been relayed through a nation as large as Egypt. Word of mouth, speculation, and pagan superstitions could have both helped and hurt the Hebrews by stirring up a mixture of resentment and fear towards them.
Have you ever considered how each plague was a targeted attack the gods of Egypt? I’ve done so through the eyes of a Christian, but never through an Egyptian’s perspective. I’ve read the biblical accounts numerous times and each time I’ve skimmed over God’s protection of the Israelites from the 5th plague on livestock. By doing so, God (Jehovah-Jireh) provided the sacrificial lambs of Passover. (See also Genesis 22:13-14, Exodus 9 & 12, & 1 Corinthians 5:7.) This book did for me the very thing that endears me to biblical fiction — it sent me searching the scriptures.
I’d like to conclude with a few general remarks: Connilyn’s approach to the retelling of Exodus is as unique as it is compelling. She was able to elicit from me genuine concern for Kiya’s salvation, making me worry if she would be “ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding.” In the story surrounding her brother, I detected a nod towards the sanctity of life and how God sees value in every life. Counted With the Stars has the perfect measure of heart and history!
I received this book free from the author in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.