Between the Wild Branches
by Connilyn Cossette
Finding a way to freedom might cost them everything.
Lukio has spent the past decade as a famous Philistine fighter, achieving every material goal with the help of his ruthless cousin. He’s also spent the time burying painful memories of betrayal that he associates with the Levite family that guards the Ark of the Covenant and once adopted him. Now, just as the champion of Ashdod is set to claim the biggest prize of all—the daughter of the king—his past collides with his present.
After a heartbreaking end to her friendship with Lukio, Shoshana thought she’d never again see the boy with the dual-colored eyes and the troubled soul. But when she is captured in a Philistine raid and enslaved in Ashdod, she is surprised to recognize the brutal fighter known as Demon Eyes.
When their renewed connection threatens to expose Shoshana’s dangerous secrets, Lukio must decide how far he’ll go to face his past and keep her protected. (Synopsis from Goodreads.)
Review: 5/5 ★★★★★
Are you looking for a book that will leave you incapable of being productive until it is finished and a book that will draw you closer to God? Well, look no further, because do I have the novel for you: Connilyn Cossette’s Between the Wild Branches.
I have to admit I was a little skeptical going in, not because I don’t like Cossette, but because after finishing her last few novels I was beginning to suspect they all were following a very similar plot line. Make no mistake, it was a plot line I enjoyed. But when I picked up Wild Branches, I had the sneaking, discouraging suspicion that I was going to be able to predict the entirety of the book from the beginning. I met Lukio and Shoshanna and said, “Well, of course they’re going to fall in love and get married.”
But. While I may have been right about my ability to predict the end result, but what I entirely forgot to factor in was the how. How would we get to the end result. And by chapter five, I found myself up past midnight on accident because that exact “how” was pulsing through my head and I could not find rest until I knew. Before I knew it, I was falling in love with Shoshana and Lukio as I agonized over their plights.
Not to mention in the process, I learned more about the Babylonian period of Bible times than I ever knew before. It was like as I read I was gathering information in in bucketloads about this time period of the Bible—giving a whole new life to stories I thought I knew. I saw God work in His miraculous true stories through the eyes of fictional commonors and saw His goodness for how good it was, leaving me longing for him, yearning for him. I understood a new level of the stories I’d grown up hearing; through these characters’ eyes, I witnessed them myself.
Read Connilyn Cossette. Read To Dwell Among Cedars first if you want the full scope of Shoshana and Lukio’s story. Then go back and read Out of Egypt series. Read the Cities of Refuge series. And you will find, hidden in the Bible stories you thought you knew so well, human characters who are so much like us, flawed, imperfect, kind, real. You will find yourself in these pages and you will watch with your own eyes as God does what only He can do and makes the way for the Israelites time and time again.
**Disclaimer/Content: This is very much a romance novel. If you don’t like romance, you may not appreciate it as much as I did. Cossette also does not shy away from hard topics, but approaches them with care. There are allusions to and implications of sex and rape, though nothing is ever depicted explicitly. Basically, any adult reader can see what the characters are discussing, while it would probably entirely go over a younger reader’s head. The most intense anything gets sexually is kissing. Because of the heavy topics I would recommend it to ages 16+.