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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Between the Wild Branches

  1. 5 out of 5

    Grace Johnson

    *Warnings* #1 This is a long review, so pull up a chair and grab a bowl of popcorn. You’ll be here awhile. #2 When I read a review, I want substantial information. So I will not skimp on the details. Which may mean some spoilers, so watch out. #3 - additional warning reserved only for this review - Beware, for there are insane amounts of nonsensical gushing. So much so that I wouldn't even call this a review...just, an outpouring of my heart. I don’t know if you noticed, but, uh, I’m not doing my *Warnings* #1 This is a long review, so pull up a chair and grab a bowl of popcorn. You’ll be here awhile. #2 When I read a review, I want substantial information. So I will not skimp on the details. Which may mean some spoilers, so watch out. #3 - additional warning reserved only for this review - Beware, for there are insane amounts of nonsensical gushing. So much so that I wouldn't even call this a review...just, an outpouring of my heart. I don’t know if you noticed, but, uh, I’m not doing my usual thing. As in the star rating, short summary, and favorite quote thing that I do for ARCs. Yeah...it’s just...this book. I can’t. I can’t give it a star rating because my rating is off the spectrum. I can’t give you a synopsis because it’d come out way too gushy. I can’t even pick a favorite quote because every single word in this book was like peach ice cream—aka, heavenly. So why am I here writing a review when it’s basically futile? Because I’m like technically supposed to and stuff, so it may seem like I’m being forced to collect my thoughts and still my racing heart against my will. I mean, I don’t guess they can force me to write a review...but I know I should. Not just because I got an ARC of this book but because IT DESERVES IT. Actually, it deserves more than my crappy attempt at a review, but I’ll give it my best. Too late for that. Already gave the thing my heart. Technically, Lukio has my heart, but that’s not the point. Oh, wait. It is. So, yeah. If you want a detailed, slightly less obsessive review on all the technical aspects of Cossette’s writing, her storytelling abilities, and how well she weaves biblical events and Scripture with her own imagination, I suggest reading my review of To Dwell among Cedars. Because I’m not doing that here. Okay, okay, I’ll give you a little bit. Cossette wrote this book really well and I enjoyed reading it and it’s good and stuff and like anyone would like this because it’s pretty good and blah. Blah. Blah. WHO CARES. WHAT MATTERS IS WHAT I FEEL, NOT ALL THIS BORING FACTUAL MUMBO-JUMBO. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I LOVE LUKIO. GOSH, I LOVE HIS GUTS. (Okay, that’s gross. But basically true.) I LOVE MARIADA. I LOVE SHOSHANA. (Y’all are gonna find this hard to believe, but I didn’t like her as much as I adored Lukio. Shocker, I know.) I LOVE JARU AND ZIEV AND GALIT AND YONAH AND ALL THE OTHER PRECIOUS PEOPLES. I LOVE THE TWISTS . OH MY WORD AT THE TWISTS! AND THE ENDING. OH MY LANTA T H A T E N D I N G. I WANT AN ENDING LIKE THAT. *clears throat* Well, there are my feelings for you. They’re, uh, they’re pretty strong, don’t you think? Anyway, I think I can expound upon those a little more, don’t y’all? I’m pretty good at that, you know. Expounding. Making things more complicated than they really are. Coming into this book, I was scared out of my wits. The ending of To Dwell among Cedars left us all on the edge of our seats, dying to know what happens to Lukio as time goes on. I mean, the kid left for Ashdod, ran into his whacked-out cousin, and became a brutal fighter. It’s really hard to expect good, happy, whimsical things when that’s the beginning of your story. So of course I was terrified that Lukio was going to be really hard and bitter (like, even worse than he already was), have thirty-five concubines, visit the shrine every day, have eighteen illegitimate young’uns and sacrifice half of them, and just be a thoroughly vile person. What, after all, can you expect from a Philistine? Not to mention that finding out Shoshana was sold into slavery got me really worried. The last things I wanted were (a) for the story to be full of flashbacks to all of the trials and abuse (or full of new trials and abuse) that she had to endure and (b) for Shoshana to have turned into a weak, pathetic whiny. I mean, after all she went through, I wouldn’t blame her for whining, but I prefer to read about heroines who persevere, trust in God, and are optimistic. Maybe that’s asking for a Disney princess instead of a realistic person, but c’mon, guys. Admit it. There is nothing more inspiring than reading about people who surrender to God, have faith in His promises, and push through adversity with their head held high. But all of this is entirely beside the point. Why? Because Cossette completely assuaged all of my fears! Lukio was, yeah, hard and bitter, but he was also still a tender little boy on the inside! Like, his love for animals and the downtrodden and little munchkins like he used to be MELTED MY HEART. And the way he was so concerned for Shoshana, even after she told him that they were nothing but strangers? MY HEART SHATTERED, YOU GUYS. LUKIO IS SO PRECIOUS. (Not to mention he really reminded me of one of my own characters, which just gave me serious warm fuzzies. It’s a writer thing.) And then Shoshana was so strong, but not at all a feminist. I mean, I had a hard time connecting with her (too busy connecting with Lukio, I reckon), but she was never annoying or excessive in any manner. I just felt sympathy for her and was so proud of her for being tough and helping others. BUT MARIADA. Y’ALL. I know in my heart that I can’t spoil things for you, BUT MARIADA. Just but Mariada, because that’s really all I can say. I was, again, terrified that I would hate her character and she’d be just other source of conflict and whatnot, BUT NO. SHE WAS PERFECT. To be honest, I liked her more than Shoshana. Not to mention she really, really needs a story of her own. (Please, Mrs. Cossette, please! Give Mariada a happily ever after! She deserves it!) Then there was Jaru and my precious baby Ziev and ALL THE TWISTS. GUYS, COSSETTE THREW ME FOR A LOOP! Seriously, it doesn’t get any better. It just doesn’t. Except for one thing: the ending. From the reunion… To the way Lukio—ahem, Natan—stepped out in faith… TO THE WEDDING. (Or, well, lack of...) THE ENDING WAS THE MOST PERFECTEST ENDING IN THE HISTORY OF ENDINGS. (And that’s improper English. Do I care? Nope. Not in the least.) I, no lie, want an ending just. like. that. (So, uh, if my future husband is reading this, take some pointers from Lukio. Please and thank you.) So, um, yeah. I think there are more things I could say...no, I know there are...but I just can’t. Sorry, you guys, but y’all are just gonna have to be satisfied with this nonsensical, gushy word vomit. Yeah, I’m pretty sure this was not what the publisher meant by a “review.” Oh, well. Would it help if I suggested you buy the book? You think it would? Okay. BUY THIS BOOK. YOUR HEART WILL THANK YOU. Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin Laramore

    Connilyn Cossette has hit another one out of the park! This is the 2nd book in the Covenant House series and while this one could be enjoyed as a stand-alone, if you're going to read both, I would recommend reading them in order as this one would include spoilers about the ending of "To Dwell Among Cedars". This duology focuses on 2 Philistine children who followed the Ark out of Philistine territory when their land was hit by a plague due to its capture. They were adopted into a Hebrew family. Connilyn Cossette has hit another one out of the park! This is the 2nd book in the Covenant House series and while this one could be enjoyed as a stand-alone, if you're going to read both, I would recommend reading them in order as this one would include spoilers about the ending of "To Dwell Among Cedars". This duology focuses on 2 Philistine children who followed the Ark out of Philistine territory when their land was hit by a plague due to its capture. They were adopted into a Hebrew family. The first book focuses on the oldest of the 2 - Eliora. While Lukio is also a prominent character in book 1, this is HIS book, where we learn more of his story and motivations. This book begins 10 years after book 1 ends and we see that Lukio has achieved all of the dreams that he had for himself, but still finds something lacking. This story was a true tale of redemption! In addition to the major character character development plot, there are additional plot points of the war between the Philistines and the Hebrews, espionage and rescue of captured slaves and romance plot twists. There's also an allusion to a pre-cursor to the olympic games! (The author does note that there is no historical evidence of this, so this element was purely fiction, but it was a lot of fun!). I really enjoyed all of the elements of the story line of this one as well as the character development. It was incredible to see Lukio's redemptive story and see how things ended as I had no idea how they were going to get there. While the major elements of the Biblical story-line are in the first book and this book just happens to take place in the same time period (in other words, not much Bible story-telling in this one), it was still an enjoyable Biblical fiction read and brought and enjoyable conclusion to the first book in the series. I would strongly recommend to fans of inspirational historical and particularly Biblical historical fiction. Special thanks to the author and publisher for an advance copy of this novel. Extra special thanks to the author for the bonus chapters offered to pre-orders that amplified this story as well. I was under no obligation to provide a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    Between the Wild Branches is definitely my favorite of Connilyn Cossette, I was so invested from the very beginning, but the glimpses I got in Risi's story allowed me to connect with Lukio's story so much more. Very good! Between the Wild Branches is definitely my favorite of Connilyn Cossette, I was so invested from the very beginning, but the glimpses I got in Risi's story allowed me to connect with Lukio's story so much more. Very good!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    1052 BC Ashdod, Philistia I have been highly anticipating Lukio's story since I read the first novel in this series. After spending a decade in what he thought was his dream and home land, Lukio has learned some difficult lessons about what is truly important and who can be trusted. There were so many pieces that came together beautifully in this conclusion to The Covenant House Series. To avoid spoilers, I won't add to that statement. I love when there is a canine character that adds to a novel. 1052 BC Ashdod, Philistia I have been highly anticipating Lukio's story since I read the first novel in this series. After spending a decade in what he thought was his dream and home land, Lukio has learned some difficult lessons about what is truly important and who can be trusted. There were so many pieces that came together beautifully in this conclusion to The Covenant House Series. To avoid spoilers, I won't add to that statement. I love when there is a canine character that adds to a novel. In this case, it was a very large dog that quickly proved to be a loyal companion to not only Lukio but those he cared for as well. Key themes in the pages are compassion, forgiveness and adoption. The many characters that lived out these traits were so easy to admire. There is quite a bit of action including planned matches and attempts to set slaves free. Beautifully written Biblical Fiction novel that weaves an engaging story line with historical details from the time period focusing on the Ark of the Covenant. My gratitude to publisher Bethany House for a complimentary copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    This book not only hit every single one of my expectations, but it blew them out of the ballpark. I literally was drawn in from page one and I still feel like I could read more and never get bored. Although I loved the first book in this duology, this book definitely is my favorite. I loved the found family trope in To Dwell Among Cedars, but Mrs. Cossette truly blew me away with the trope in this book. Towards the end of the book, I was nearly in tears because of the theme of forgiveness that w This book not only hit every single one of my expectations, but it blew them out of the ballpark. I literally was drawn in from page one and I still feel like I could read more and never get bored. Although I loved the first book in this duology, this book definitely is my favorite. I loved the found family trope in To Dwell Among Cedars, but Mrs. Cossette truly blew me away with the trope in this book. Towards the end of the book, I was nearly in tears because of the theme of forgiveness that was so beautifully portrayed in this book. I will refrain myself from gushing anymore over the last 20% of the book only so I do not spoil anything for anyone! I had really enjoyed Lukio's complex character in TDAC and was anxious to see where Mrs. Cossette took him in this book. I honestly fell in love with his character. I loved watching him go from this ruthless fighter to this compassionate, fearless, selfish man that we got a slight glimpse of in book one. Lukio was so protective of both Shoshana and all the other wonderful side characters that he came in contact with. I loved how Mrs. Cossette wrote his redemption arc, because it truly has to be hands down one of my favorite. I know that this is just a work of fiction, but it truly amazes me that we serve a God who can turn someone like Lukio into His child because that is not a work of fiction, but something that He does on a daily basis! Shoshana was such a darling main character. I had loved her character in book one, and I only feel further in love with her in this book. My heart ached for her when we learned about her past and what she had gone through to get where she in this book. She had such a sensitive, kind heart that there were many times that I wanted to wrap her up in a massive hug. She also was so fearless and bold in the best ways. I seriously just love her so, so much! The side characters in this book were AMAZING! It would take me forever to go over them all, but if you read this book then you would know exactly who I am talking about!! I also LOVED being able to see Lukio's family again. I literally almost started crying when some of his brothers were brought into a scene, it literally was so enduring! This book, as I slightly mentioned above, had so many deep and beautiful messages. I literally am still in awe at how beautifully written this book was. This book has touched my heart in ways that I cannot even put into words. All I can say is that you MUST read this book!! Yes, it will stress you out and maybe even give you a mini panic attack, it is all worth it to read the beautiful message that God has clearly given Mrs. Cossette to share with the world. You really do not want to miss this book!! Favorite Quote: “We’re bringing him home.” Although I could probably have chosen a dozen quotes or so, this part literally almost made me start sobbing at 12am. This probably has to be one of my favorite scenes from this entire book! 😍 *I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was NOT required to write a positive review.*

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ebos Aifuobhokhan

    This is one of the very few books I couldn't predict it's direction. The twists and turns are to die for. My God! I was amazed beyond reason. If there was any book that screamed divine providence, appointment and God's sovereignty, it was this book. It reminded me so much of the verse in Scripture that says, God is watching over His word to bring it to pass. I felt like crying after the book ended. The story was so sweet and made me feel so good and warm inside that I did not want it to end. I k This is one of the very few books I couldn't predict it's direction. The twists and turns are to die for. My God! I was amazed beyond reason. If there was any book that screamed divine providence, appointment and God's sovereignty, it was this book. It reminded me so much of the verse in Scripture that says, God is watching over His word to bring it to pass. I felt like crying after the book ended. The story was so sweet and made me feel so good and warm inside that I did not want it to end. I knew Lukio's story was going to be mind-blowing but I did not imagine it was going to be so exhilarating, exciting, and touching. I had tears in my eyes through parts of the story. His story shows how God changes a person's heart inside out, how he adopts one into his family and forgets ones past. I saw restoration, love, redemption, the firece and undying love of God and the devotion and loyalty of family illustrated in this book. I loved how Lukio adored Shoshana. Distances and circumstances did not douse their love for each other. I loved the name her called her "Tesi" Her heart, devotion and loyalty floored me. How one could be so kind and loyal, with no regard for their comfort amazed me. She deserved every happiness she got. It was refreshing to see the other characters in To Dweel Among Cedars featured in this book. I sure missed those beautiful woods. Connilyn Cossette excels at what she does. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and this is my honest opinion.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jolene -

    I devoured Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette. Mortal danger, secrets of the past, and palace conspiracies combined to produce an adventuresome read that kept me turning the pages of Lukio and Shoshana’s story. Though their youthful romance derailed with her betrothal to another, longing and mutual concern laced every interaction between the two characters, and I couldn’t help but hope for complete reconciliation. Also, I admired Lukio’s strength, character development, and example o I devoured Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette. Mortal danger, secrets of the past, and palace conspiracies combined to produce an adventuresome read that kept me turning the pages of Lukio and Shoshana’s story. Though their youthful romance derailed with her betrothal to another, longing and mutual concern laced every interaction between the two characters, and I couldn’t help but hope for complete reconciliation. Also, I admired Lukio’s strength, character development, and example of true repentance. His transformation during the story aligned with a powerful theme of hating evil and clinging to good. Between the Wild Branches stands as the final installment in The Covenant House Duology by Connilyn Cossette. While this novel can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading To Dwell Among Cedars first as the reader gets a front row view to young Lukio’s experiences rather than abbreviated memories. Also, towards the end of Between the Wild Branches, quite a few characters from book one reappear and I think I would have been a bit lost if I had not read the first novel. Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Trixi

    With explosive secrets and unbreakable vows standing between them (Lukio & Shoshana), finding a way to freedom for both may cost them everything. ~quoted from the backcover. I enjoy a good Biblical fiction novel because it brings scripture alive for me and fleshes out people I've only read about in God's word. I learn so much more about the culture, traditions, and way of life of ancient times & people. This was my first book by Connilyn Cossette but it certainly won't be my last! I have not re With explosive secrets and unbreakable vows standing between them (Lukio & Shoshana), finding a way to freedom for both may cost them everything. ~quoted from the backcover. I enjoy a good Biblical fiction novel because it brings scripture alive for me and fleshes out people I've only read about in God's word. I learn so much more about the culture, traditions, and way of life of ancient times & people. This was my first book by Connilyn Cossette but it certainly won't be my last! I have not read the first book To Dwell Among Cedars, but I am going to after reading this one because I want to know more about Lukio & Shoshana as children. The author made them very real in my mind and invested my heart into their lives. What I loved most about this story was how it reminded me of being grafted into God's family & how He loves me no matter my heritage or who I call my family. He spoke my name and I answered so many years ago! This was a lesson that Lukio learned the hard way, my heart ached for him to know the truth of it sooner. But I also know oftentimes we learn those lessons through the heartache and trials of life.....forged in the fire if you will. God can burn away the impurities of our lives in the fiery furnace and that is exactly what He did in Lukio's heart. I watched him go through so many hard things, but I rejoiced when his eyes began to open to the truths that had always been in front of him. He was very much a changed man by the end of the book! Shoshana was a strong woman in both spirit and mind in spite of all the horrendous things she went through after her capture by the Philistines. She ended up with kind & caring mistress in Mariada who treated her well. She never forgot how precious she was to Yahweh and clung to His truths and loving ways. I admired her strength of character and getting to know her, I also ached for all she lost over the years. God truly restored what the Canker worm destroyed in the end. I won't spoil the story, but journeying through the lives of Lukio & Shoshana and all the things that went on was a real treat. I could easily envision everything; the sights, smells, and emotions. When an author makes you feel like you've stepped into the pages of their book, and are walking right beside the characters, that's truly the sign of good writing to me! The research Cossette did for this shines through and I feel like I have a deeper meaning from the time period of King Solomon in scripture. If you enjoy a well-written & well-researched Biblical fiction story, then I recommend reading Between the Wild Branches! *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was not obligated to leave a favorable review & all opinions expressed here are mine. *

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Between the Wild Branches is the second book in Cossette's Covenant House duology. I somehow missed To Dwell Among Cedars when it released last year, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything when I dove into Between the Wild Branches. (I do, however, want to go back and read the first book, as the glimpses I got of it in this book's pages made it sound fascinating!) This novel tells the story of Lukio, the great fighter of Ashod known as "Demon Eyes," and Shoshana, the Hebrew woman he loved Between the Wild Branches is the second book in Cossette's Covenant House duology. I somehow missed To Dwell Among Cedars when it released last year, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything when I dove into Between the Wild Branches. (I do, however, want to go back and read the first book, as the glimpses I got of it in this book's pages made it sound fascinating!) This novel tells the story of Lukio, the great fighter of Ashod known as "Demon Eyes," and Shoshana, the Hebrew woman he loved as a child. Their story is one of heartache, danger, and ultimately redemption, and I found it so engaging that I read the whole thing in two afternoons. Strong themes of forgiveness, familial love, and care for the less fortunate are woven throughout the novel, helping to make a story set in 1052 BC still be relevant today. Fans of biblical fiction (and even semi-fans like me) will find much to love in Between the Wild Branches. Highly recommended! Disclosure of material connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    It's not often that when I start the next book in a series that my mind still feels so fresh from the previous one. Well, with Between the Wild Branches certainly felt like it picked up with my emotions right where To Dwell Among Cedars left off - at least with my emotions towards Lukio. I wasn't surprised to find Lukio exactly where I expected - in a fight for money. Sigh... it was rough to find him in such conditions, but that seemed to be what he was searching for when he left Kirya-Yearim all It's not often that when I start the next book in a series that my mind still feels so fresh from the previous one. Well, with Between the Wild Branches certainly felt like it picked up with my emotions right where To Dwell Among Cedars left off - at least with my emotions towards Lukio. I wasn't surprised to find Lukio exactly where I expected - in a fight for money. Sigh... it was rough to find him in such conditions, but that seemed to be what he was searching for when he left Kirya-Yearim all those years ago. He really was just a heart broken, lost boy back then. While my heart went out to him, I was also frustrated with him. lol I think Lukio reminds me of all of us in one way or another to some extent. We're all trying to find our purpose. Some of us are running because we don't know what that purpose is and the running makes us feel safe only to find out we're not where we thought we'd be. It was such an interesting idea to be drawn into Philistia fictional world. The way we see them in the Bible as so ruthless and following idols, I liked how the author created an idea of what it was like during those times. And for her to bring Shoshana into this difficult world brought the story to life. To see Lukio now through not only Shoshana's eyes, but also through the eyes of the Philistines was quite the dichotomy. When she first was remembering their childhood together in book one, I felt like I was remembering it at the same time. I could also feel the tension of having lived in two different worlds for Lukio. He can see his future with King Nicaro's daughter, but now he's being reminded of his past. I loved watching God's hand move throughout this entire story! We know about the Ark and it being sent back to the Israelites, but to get a glimpse of slaves in Philistia and how God uses people to rescue them is wonderful! The way He ties people together to work for His good! So well done!! Of course, the redemption thread in the story is, to me, the most important one. Also, grace and mercy are shown through a variety of characters in the story. All important ones for us to use as examples in our own lives. Betrayal comes with a price, but when there's a chance to give mercy and/or grace, that we should take the opportunity to do so! I can't wait to see what Connilyn Cossette has up her sleeve for her next novel, but not matter what, I'll be first in line to read it!! *I received this book for review. This is my personal opinion.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Cossette's strong writing pulled me in immediately. The historical detail is exceptionally good, as usual and fans of this author will enjoy seeing Lukio's redemption, as well as a more in-depth look at the Philistine life. Between the Wild Branches has a rawness to it that made it kind of hard for me to read though. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. No compensation received. Cossette's strong writing pulled me in immediately. The historical detail is exceptionally good, as usual and fans of this author will enjoy seeing Lukio's redemption, as well as a more in-depth look at the Philistine life. Between the Wild Branches has a rawness to it that made it kind of hard for me to read though. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. No compensation received.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sunnie

    What an amazing book this was. I had been waiting for this book since finishing book 1, To Dwell Among Cedars. I could hardly wait to read it and it was as good as I had hoped and expected from this wonderful author. This was Lukio's story as his past comes back into his life and finds the woman he cared so much for in his youth. But so much has happened since they were torn apart from the wishes of her father. So many changes and things to complicate their lives. There is a very interesting story What an amazing book this was. I had been waiting for this book since finishing book 1, To Dwell Among Cedars. I could hardly wait to read it and it was as good as I had hoped and expected from this wonderful author. This was Lukio's story as his past comes back into his life and finds the woman he cared so much for in his youth. But so much has happened since they were torn apart from the wishes of her father. So many changes and things to complicate their lives. There is a very interesting storyline and a story of repentance and striving for the good as opposed to the evil. Both books of this set are excellent and make for good biblical period fiction. I love historical things and the lifestyle and events are always very interesting to read about. I love this author's work and can't wait to see what her next book will be about. I am sure it will be amazing! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. All thoughts are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    This book was everything I'd hoped! The historical setting was fascinating, the emotions where intense and the characters were beautiful! Connilyn Cossette's extensive research was apparent as she depicted this ancient world I knew so little about before. The characters were such lovable yet broken characters, but broken in a good way in that they were stronger because of it. The romance was one of those tortured together-but-not-together type storylines with a highly anticipated kiss because th This book was everything I'd hoped! The historical setting was fascinating, the emotions where intense and the characters were beautiful! Connilyn Cossette's extensive research was apparent as she depicted this ancient world I knew so little about before. The characters were such lovable yet broken characters, but broken in a good way in that they were stronger because of it. The romance was one of those tortured together-but-not-together type storylines with a highly anticipated kiss because they just had to be good and honourable! Just kidding it was lovely no matter how impatient I felt. This was a wonderful emotionally raw story of the prodigal returning home and the broken being redeemed! I was gifted a copy of the story but all views and opinions expressed are my own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Between the Wild Branches is a stunning finale for the Covenant House duology. While each can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading To Dwell Among Cedars first. I was so happy to read Lukio's story, which celebrates the power of repentance and unmerited grace. Connilyn Cossette has painted a brilliant tapestry of words, bringing to life ancient history. While this is a work of fiction, it in no way conflicts with biblical truths. Cossette's research into Philistia's history and cul Between the Wild Branches is a stunning finale for the Covenant House duology. While each can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading To Dwell Among Cedars first. I was so happy to read Lukio's story, which celebrates the power of repentance and unmerited grace. Connilyn Cossette has painted a brilliant tapestry of words, bringing to life ancient history. While this is a work of fiction, it in no way conflicts with biblical truths. Cossette's research into Philistia's history and culture come to life under her pen. This poignant story of grace checked off many boxes for me: adventure, fast-paced plot, strong characters, family and faith. The compassionate humanity Cossette portrayed within her characters' motivations and beliefs held me captive from the very first paragraph. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    Ahhhhh, just thinking about this book gives me ALL THE FEELS. Between the Wild Branches already has a beautiful title and a beautiful cover. And I'M TELLING YOU, the book has beautiful characters, beautiful themes, beautiful settings and feels and emotions and OH- did I mention characters yet??? This is a big favorite of the year. Characters Lukio is officially the best human being ever. He made me mad at times, but beneath all his gruff, flamboyant exterior was the same little good-Lukio (aka so Ahhhhh, just thinking about this book gives me ALL THE FEELS. Between the Wild Branches already has a beautiful title and a beautiful cover. And I'M TELLING YOU, the book has beautiful characters, beautiful themes, beautiful settings and feels and emotions and OH- did I mention characters yet??? This is a big favorite of the year. Characters Lukio is officially the best human being ever. He made me mad at times, but beneath all his gruff, flamboyant exterior was the same little good-Lukio (aka some of his innocence and caring-ness) we met in To Dwell Among Cedars. Guys, he's wow-ing. The author crafted his character so well. He had depth, and he was so characteristic with a voice so distinct and real that it made him stood out to me and put many heroes to shame. He's just that type of character you cheer for and the type that makes you anxious to see progression and change. I. Love. Him. I could talk about him all day long. And let me say SHOSHANA. Ah!! That girl right there suffered so many things that I cannot imagine! Being more of an inconspicuous character in the first book, in BTWB she showed so much depth like Lukio, and we got to see much of her story (which made me go cri-mode all da time). THEN, you put Shoshana and Lukio together, and what do you get??? Answer: Wonderful LOVE STORY! Guys. Guuuuuuuuuyyyyyys. I'm a fan of any childhood-friends-turn-lovers trope. Or even better: your first love. Lukio and Shoshana were crazy over each other when they were younger, and when they reunited miraculously after LONG years of separation and deep heartache, their feelings (mine included) went all NADNGIANGN. Their progression was tender, almost walking-on-egg-shells type but in a good way. It was where you got to see them progress together as they meet each other daily and simply live out a miraculous love story that is so dauntingly beautiful and tender. Connilyn Cossette writes beautiful love stories, let me tell you. It was all in the emotions behind it, the character development, and their backstories that flowed so naturally and made the characters so compelling and heartfelt and altogether making a touching, deep love story take place. It's one of my favorites out there FOR SURE. All the emotions and mushiness and basically all the feeeeeeels!!!! *happy sigh* There's no romance like Lukio and Shoshana's. Theme I'm in love with the themes incorporated in this book and series. In BTWB, I especially loved its somewhat parallel to the prodigal son. Getting to journey that with Lukio was such a treasure! And it also had themes of unconditional love, which made my heart swelled so many times! And this is unrelated kinda, but can we talk about that ENDING??!!! Seriously though, I'm going to reread that for the next couple of days and save it. Everything else Character development. Romance development. The story -- it's contents: action, festive events, character's thoughts, feelings, decisions... Every one of those combined, and you have a lovely story that's paced out so evenly and progressively. The writing pulls you into the time of the Hebrews and Philistines. The descriptions enliven the atmosphere and depict a beautiful picture in your head. The emotions and thoughts bring you into the mind of the characters and bring you closer to understand and feel with them. Between the Wild Branches is *exactly* the type of book I look for (not to mention my favorite romance trope). Beautiful writing, captivating narratives, compelling characters, heartfelt themes, and parallels... I'm very satisfied. Concluding... I am enthralled. (As thou can tell). BTWB was so luscious and captivating, like every of Connilyn Cossette book. Shoshana's and Lukio's story was so beautiful, a little heartbreaking at times, but fulfilling and completely satisfying when it reached the end. God was glorified through this book, and I really cannot wait for more from the author. It definitely, definitely is my absolute favorite of hers (*looks at Counted with the Stars and wonders if I lied*) and I definitely, definitely recommend this and any of the author's books for any Christian Fiction lover. Or anyone who loves biblical fiction with beautiful prose and captivating characters. :) Soooo, WHATCHU WAITING FOR, FRIEND? XD AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    The thing we never talk about in Prodigal Son stories is all the time the Prodigal loses while he is prodigal. Sure, we cover the bad at the beginning, we mention the stuff he’s going through during, and we definitely discuss the return home, but all the life that is missed — what family and friend’s go through while the Prodigal is gone, how they change and grow and marry and have kids and get jobs, etc. — is just missed and we never talk about it. Our perspective always stays with the Prodigal The thing we never talk about in Prodigal Son stories is all the time the Prodigal loses while he is prodigal. Sure, we cover the bad at the beginning, we mention the stuff he’s going through during, and we definitely discuss the return home, but all the life that is missed — what family and friend’s go through while the Prodigal is gone, how they change and grow and marry and have kids and get jobs, etc. — is just missed and we never talk about it. Our perspective always stays with the Prodigal. He becomes the focus and all those he left just get left. For me, this is always the most devastating aspect of any Prodigal Son story. Between the Wild Branches really had me thinking on Prodigals. What drives us to be prodigal? Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have prodigal moments in our lives. We all “leave” to pursue what we want, when we want it, how we want it. We think we are so smart. We think we know better than those who love us the most. In fact, we convince ourselves that maybe our loved ones don’t really love us the most or they wouldn’t keep us from that thing we want. So we leave. In book 1, To Dwell Among Cedars, Lukio is a teenager. He is hurt by others and he doesn’t get what he wants, so he leaves. He leaves his adopted family, his dear sister, and the girl he loves all because he has hurt feelings, because he is stubborn, and because he assumes a whole lot. He decides to take control over his own life … and runs right into slavery. At first, slavery looks and feels good. He rises in the ranks as Ashdod’s best fighter. Women want him. Men want to be him. Every worldly desire is at his fingertips. He doesn’t need anyone or any god because Lukio is his own man. At the start of Between the Wild Branches, Lukio is pretty much at the top of his world. And then he sees Shoshana, the girl who got away, and his cushy, opulent life gets shifted on its very axis. The Prodigal has to face his truth — and what a journey it is! This novel, like every other novel by Cossette, is outstanding. There are so many nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat moments that I feel Between the Wild Branches is totally unputdownable. My husband asked me to describe the storyline in a sentence and I told him, “Think Schindler’s List but scarier.” When I read in the Bible about the different kingdoms and rulers that surrounded Israel, I clearly get the sense that the nations were exceptionally debauched and devoid of a moral compass. The Philistines were a rough people. I know good people existed in these various nations — Rahab and Ruth spring to mind — but in general, the nations were scary. Cossette does a great job capturing this aspect when she recreates ancient Ashdod. She also does a great job illustrating the hatred the Philistines felt towards the Israelites. King Nicaro is a straight-up terrifying character who wants to hurt and shame and destroy every Israelite, and what he allows to be done to people is gut-wrenching and sickening. BUT, no matter how bad Nicaro gets GOOD thwarts his plans. Yes, this earth is pretty terrifying right now. I think it may even be as scary as the days of the ancient Philistine. Right now it looks the darkest I have ever seen it and even scarier things are on the horizon. But no matter how dark it gets, God has His people stationed all over doing His good works. For some, that looks like teaching the kids no one really cares about or expects much out of; for some, it’s fighting terrorists in a military setting; and for some, it’s being in the trenches desperately doing everything they can to save humans from trafficking (just like in Between the Wild Branches). No matter how dark it gets, God still wins cause GOOD is still here. This is the point of Between the Wild Branches. We cannot lose hope in these dark times. Light will always prevail. What a perfectly beautiful truth and such an inspirational reminder for us all today. Between the Wild Branches is AMAZING and I loved every minute of this story. This is definitely a book I will re-read again. I highly recommend this story and hope that you will immediately add it to your TBR list. This is a book you do not want to miss! I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, via NetGalley in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Loretta Gray

    Wow! If you enjoy reading historical biblical fiction, you will definitely want to add this series to your library! Connilyn Cossette makes this particular Old Testament time period, when the prophet Samuel was judge over Israel, come alive. Between the Wild Branches is the perfect conclusion to this two book series, that follows the lives of sister and brother, Eliora and Lukio. In this book, we follow the story of Lukio, who left his Hebrew adoptive family to return to Ashdod. He believes that Wow! If you enjoy reading historical biblical fiction, you will definitely want to add this series to your library! Connilyn Cossette makes this particular Old Testament time period, when the prophet Samuel was judge over Israel, come alive. Between the Wild Branches is the perfect conclusion to this two book series, that follows the lives of sister and brother, Eliora and Lukio. In this book, we follow the story of Lukio, who left his Hebrew adoptive family to return to Ashdod. He believes that his life will be much happier and better in the land of his birth. After years of being used for financial gain by his cousin, he finally realizes the so-called glamour and lifestyle of being a well-known Philistine prizefighter may bring him great riches and all he thought he desired, but found that it left him feeling empty and longing for what he left behind in Israel. Unexpectedly meeting his childhood Hebrew friend, Shoshana, whom he genuinely loved, and finding out the circumstances that brought her to Ashdod causes Lukio to ask himself some hard questions. He realizes everything he lost by leaving his birth sister and adoptive family in Kiryat-Yearim. He begins to see the truth of the Philistine people; as well an understanding of how much his sister and Hebrew family loves him. Lukio has to make some very difficult choices. He finds that family ties are strong, whether by blood or adoption, and is shown what that love looks like, even when undeserved. Most importantly, Lukio realizes that Yahweh is truly the one and only God. Many details from the first book in this series came to a wonderful conclusion in this book; some being happy surprises that I had forgotten about or didn't realize that they needed resolved. Once I began reading this book, I had a difficult time putting it down. Connilyn Cossette is a gifted writer that makes the characters, biblical perspective and time period come alive; which is why I thoroughly enjoy her books. I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Velma

    This is another amazing book by Connilyn Cossette. I love the research and historical details in this book and well as others by Connilyn. Her point of view and insightful writing pulls you in as always. After reading To Dwell Among Cedars (the first book in this series) I could not wait to read this book. I do not want to include any spoilers but you will fall in love with characters Lukio and Shoshana and their wonderful story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ivy

    Loved this one even more than the first. While reading the last half of the book, I couldn't wait to put it down. I appreciated seeing the differences in culture between the Hebrews and the Philistines that Connilyn Cossette researched. Her writing makes you feel like you are in the story and among the characters. I love Lukio's story of redemption and the way that so many of the characters are woken together. Even though some of the story is hard to read at times due to the many injustices that Loved this one even more than the first. While reading the last half of the book, I couldn't wait to put it down. I appreciated seeing the differences in culture between the Hebrews and the Philistines that Connilyn Cossette researched. Her writing makes you feel like you are in the story and among the characters. I love Lukio's story of redemption and the way that so many of the characters are woken together. Even though some of the story is hard to read at times due to the many injustices that the characters face, the injustices make the characters more real and the story that much more beautiful. Highly recommend this book, especially to lovers of historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    R.j.

    What a beautiful and satisfying conclusion to an excellent series! I am always impressed by the detail and research that Ms Cossette includes in her books! I loved the growth and change in the main characters and the realistic plot. I also loved the symbolism that is present. Another 5 star book from Connilyn Cossette

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Strange

    Another glorious story or God's eternal love and acceptance. We meet Lukio again and see what his life is like now years after he went back to Philistia. Is the fame and fortune he sought filling the void left from his youth? Connilyn yet again pulls you into their lives, where you feel the desperation, fear, and longing they feel, root for the happy enging we all hope for, and feel more of God's unending love for us all. You will definitely want to add this to your library! Another glorious story or God's eternal love and acceptance. We meet Lukio again and see what his life is like now years after he went back to Philistia. Is the fame and fortune he sought filling the void left from his youth? Connilyn yet again pulls you into their lives, where you feel the desperation, fear, and longing they feel, root for the happy enging we all hope for, and feel more of God's unending love for us all. You will definitely want to add this to your library!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Cantrell

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I’ve read through all of Connilyn Cossette’s biblical historical fiction series this year and then after reading the most recent one, waited semi-patiently for this one to come out! Between the Wild Branches has been my favorite one so far. The storyline is interesting and exciting enough that I read the book in less than two days. It’s the second in a two-part series; I don’t think it’s *absolutely* necessary to read the first one before this one, but I would rec I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I’ve read through all of Connilyn Cossette’s biblical historical fiction series this year and then after reading the most recent one, waited semi-patiently for this one to come out! Between the Wild Branches has been my favorite one so far. The storyline is interesting and exciting enough that I read the book in less than two days. It’s the second in a two-part series; I don’t think it’s *absolutely* necessary to read the first one before this one, but I would recommend it. I wasn’t a fan of Lukio, the main character of this book, in the first book of the series, but the author did a wonderful job of really fleshing his character out and giving him a compelling redemption story (which this author is a master at I think). I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and is okay with a side of (very clean) romance. ***I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.***

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    SO good! This could be read as a stand-a-lone story but there are plenty of comments about the main characters' childhoods, that you'll likely end up wanting to read the first in the series anyway. (You won't regret it, I promise.) This story picks up 10 years after To Dwell Among Cedars. Lukio has returned to Ashdod to pursue the life he had always dreamed of. Along the way, his past inadvertently runs into him helping him to realize what is really important in life. I received an advance review SO good! This could be read as a stand-a-lone story but there are plenty of comments about the main characters' childhoods, that you'll likely end up wanting to read the first in the series anyway. (You won't regret it, I promise.) This story picks up 10 years after To Dwell Among Cedars. Lukio has returned to Ashdod to pursue the life he had always dreamed of. Along the way, his past inadvertently runs into him helping him to realize what is really important in life. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Turbiville

    I don't know how to describe how amazing this book is! Connilyn Cossette has woven another wonderful story of love, forgiveness, and redemption. Lukio and Shoshana's story looks impossible and horrific at times. Follow them as God moves mountains to bring them to Himself and together with each other. Connilyn Cossette's books all draw my heart closer to Yahweh. I feel Him pulling me in and showing me His awesome power and might. I was right there with Lukio (Natan) and his brothers as they fall I don't know how to describe how amazing this book is! Connilyn Cossette has woven another wonderful story of love, forgiveness, and redemption. Lukio and Shoshana's story looks impossible and horrific at times. Follow them as God moves mountains to bring them to Himself and together with each other. Connilyn Cossette's books all draw my heart closer to Yahweh. I feel Him pulling me in and showing me His awesome power and might. I was right there with Lukio (Natan) and his brothers as they fall to their knees in worship of the God Who Sees. If you haven't read one of her books, I suggest you read them all! I find myself reading the Bible passages again in a new light of understanding.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura Fincher

    Between the Wild Branches centers around the love story of a Philistine man and a Hebrew slave, who love each other in spite of the great divide between the people of their blood. When I finished the first book in the series, To Dwell Among the Cedars, I couldn’t wait to hear the rest of Lukio’s story. It was clear that his abrasive behavior was due to deep-rooted pain and insecurities. The connection that he has with Soshana is so beautiful and real. Each main character had a personal journey w Between the Wild Branches centers around the love story of a Philistine man and a Hebrew slave, who love each other in spite of the great divide between the people of their blood. When I finished the first book in the series, To Dwell Among the Cedars, I couldn’t wait to hear the rest of Lukio’s story. It was clear that his abrasive behavior was due to deep-rooted pain and insecurities. The connection that he has with Soshana is so beautiful and real. Each main character had a personal journey with God, learning about his deeply rooted love for them. I highly recommend this book!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    Connilyn Cossette's imagination never ceases to amaze me and exceed my expectations! After I finished the first novel, I thought I had an idea of how the story would continue, but Between the Wild Branches quickly blew my predictions into the dust. In her usual richly descriptive style, she took me along on an adventurous journey of sacrificial love and redemption that I am still thinking about weeks later. Connilyn is exceptionally talented at bringing the Bible times and culture to life and if Connilyn Cossette's imagination never ceases to amaze me and exceed my expectations! After I finished the first novel, I thought I had an idea of how the story would continue, but Between the Wild Branches quickly blew my predictions into the dust. In her usual richly descriptive style, she took me along on an adventurous journey of sacrificial love and redemption that I am still thinking about weeks later. Connilyn is exceptionally talented at bringing the Bible times and culture to life and if you haven't read any of her books you totally should! Between the Wild Branches could probably be read as a stand alone, but I highly recommend reading the first novel in this series before beginning this one. I can't wait to read what she comes up with next! Thank you Bethany House and Net Galley for the free DRC of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Libby May

    I’m going to start by saying I though this one was not going to be good because #1 I thought it was a Biblical fiction, and #2 it reminded me of The Conquerer by Bryan Litfin. Both of those concerns were swiped away quickly as I continued to read. (PLEASE BE SURE TO READ MY CONTENT WARNING) The Characters Shoshana was my favorite from the first chapter. Her quiet strength and utter devotion and love of *spoilers* just made me love reading about her every second I had a chance. 
Same thing happened I’m going to start by saying I though this one was not going to be good because #1 I thought it was a Biblical fiction, and #2 it reminded me of The Conquerer by Bryan Litfin. Both of those concerns were swiped away quickly as I continued to read. (PLEASE BE SURE TO READ MY CONTENT WARNING) The Characters Shoshana was my favorite from the first chapter. Her quiet strength and utter devotion and love of *spoilers* just made me love reading about her every second I had a chance. 
Same thing happened with Lukio. Every time it was his turn to have a section I was so excited to jump back into whatever was happening in his life. The way that the author kept us engaged in every chapter and excited to keep reading was pure talent. 
I can’t say much more about Shoshana without spoiling parts of her story, and I don’t want to spoil it if it means you get to read and discover this beautiful lady the same way I did. 
With Lukio, his redemption arc and the way he grew before my eyes was really super well done. Not too fast but not too slow, and very believable! The Plot Oh boy. This plot had me sucked in every second of the read. The fast-paced detail that had me fully aware of what was going on without having to worry about how long it would take for things to get started came from the very beginning. The reveal of both Lukio and Shoshana’s past was quite on time and neither dragged out nor cut off too quickly as some authors will do. Shoshana’s story itself was very sad. Seeing her strength come through and her utter dedication to her cause and the people she loved was inspiring. When I read the author’s note that she almost never came to be part of this book I was almost upset! She is part of the story. I’m so glad they decided to include her to race alongside Lukio. Now Lukio himself. Oh boy. This man had quite the life. The gladiator before there were gladiators. I loved the symbolism of his “slavery” and the hold his cousin had over him, and then King Nicaro. There Philistine blood in his veins was powerful, and yet the author wove such a beautiful chord of grace and love of our God through Lukio’s life, ultimately ending exactly the way that I felt that our God should be portrayed. So often stories focus on grace and the cross and what Jesus did. The sinner vs the saved. This story focused so much more on the “chosen” and the “accepted.” The love of our God seeks out even those that aren’t Jews. The grace of our God seeks out the people who are hurting and living lives of the world. And He wants to draw them in and clean them off and adopt them into the unconditional love of His Son. The other thing I want to bring up was my concern of Biblical fiction. I really just somehow can’t stand Biblical fiction and therefore usually avoid it. I didn’t know this was going to be a Biblical fiction when I ordered it for review. Thankfully, this story was fiction set in historical times. Not a Bible retelling. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s set just a little after Samson and during the rise of Samuel. ! Content Warning ! What to say. This book did not shy away from the abuse, both physical and sexual, that the Hebrew slaves suffered from when captured by the Philistines. I guess I’d say that the sensual content was none. I was so pleased with the lack of physical attraction and detail that was not included. Especially considering that Lukio was a well built warrior. The graphics of this book were pretty big tho. Graphics of injuries, deaths, injuries resulted from sexual abuse, and there is a funeral scene that can be potentially very disturbing for certain readers. *Based on the content, I would not recommend this for anyone under the age of 18 for sure.* But the story and plot are so very good and worth a chance if you can handle such things! Thank you to Bethany House and the author for a free copy of this book! A positive review was not required and all opinions are my own. I really did enjoy it!

  28. 4 out of 5

    MJSH

    "You are a wild branch, young man. Do not despise the root to which you've been joined, for it is from this mountain, in the shadow of cedars that your own deep roots will take their nourishment. And the branches who spring from you will spread wide to shade the helpless and reach heights you cannot imagine. So, do not fear the iron fetters that carry you to the sea, young man, only the ones you bind upon yourself." This is Biblical fiction at its finest. Connilyn Cossette knocks it out of the pa "You are a wild branch, young man. Do not despise the root to which you've been joined, for it is from this mountain, in the shadow of cedars that your own deep roots will take their nourishment. And the branches who spring from you will spread wide to shade the helpless and reach heights you cannot imagine. So, do not fear the iron fetters that carry you to the sea, young man, only the ones you bind upon yourself." This is Biblical fiction at its finest. Connilyn Cossette knocks it out of the park yet again. The author truly has a gift of making the Bible come alive in full color and in 4-D where you can see, taste, touch, smell, and hear what it may have been like during the time periods she writes about. In this second book of the Covenant House series, we are transported to the city of Philistine's Ashdod during 1052BC while Samuel is rising in power as the judge in Israel. I can't imagine the amount of research it must have taken for the author to create such an incredible backdrop so that the average modern reader like myself can understand the culture that prevailed back then. Threaded within this setting is the utterly heart-breaking and heart-wrenching tale of a boy and a girl, separated and torn apart by bigotry, anger, hatred, war, misguided loyalty, insecurity, and so much regret. Though this book can be read as a stand-alone, I'd highly recommend reading the series in order so that you can fully appreciate Lukio's maturation into a man of honor and compassion. Shoshana and Lukio are one of my favorite fictional couples whom I've had the pleasure to meet this year. Shoshana is strong, resourceful, and faithful even though she's been through so much pain and suffering in her short life. Lukio is steadfast, reliable, compassionate, and merciful even though he makes a living as a fighter. Tragedies of war and human sin are on full display throughout the story but the hope, grace, and forgiveness found in the One True God surpass all the ugliness. Beautiful pictures of spiritual and physical adoption are woven into the characters' lives. The themes of belonging, unconditional love, and true acceptance are so exquisitely drawn into the plot. It also has intrigue in the subplot which adds suspense and excitement. There are unexpected and tender friendships as well as betrayal. The secondary characters are so lovely and lovable that I wish the author would write more sequels to tell their stories. This book gave me goosebumps from how real everything felt, the raw emotions, and the surprising twists and turns. Be prepared to shed lots of tears - Lukio and Shoshana will bring you from the edge of despair to the mountaintop of purpose and unfailing love. One of my top 2021 reads! I received the book from Bethany House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brandi

    My new favorite from Connilyn Cossette! The character development in Between the Wild Branches was explosive and exquisite. Lukio captivated my attention in the first book because he was so wounded, confused and misunderstood. I knew he was a powerhouse just waiting for the right development. Wow. Lukio has finally achieved all he ever wanted and escaped from all the painful memories and questions. Until he sees Shoshana one night. In a moment’s breath, his newly created empire begins to crumble My new favorite from Connilyn Cossette! The character development in Between the Wild Branches was explosive and exquisite. Lukio captivated my attention in the first book because he was so wounded, confused and misunderstood. I knew he was a powerhouse just waiting for the right development. Wow. Lukio has finally achieved all he ever wanted and escaped from all the painful memories and questions. Until he sees Shoshana one night. In a moment’s breath, his newly created empire begins to crumble from the inside out. Shoshana has her own painful past and secrets as well that fully explain her behaviors, past and present. I love the contrasts in their characters and personalities and yet the way they complement one another. The plot is so perfectly paced that I just kept turning pages and before I knew it, I was breathing deeply as I turned the last page. The historical details are rich and informative. The ever presence of God is powerfully peaceful and a beautiful reminder from start to finish. Do not miss this one!! I received a complimentary copy from the author and the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are solely my own, freely given.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    This book picks up where the last one in the series left off but the children are grown up now and caught in their own destinies. This book is so well written and inciteful and I can't recommend it enough. I love historicals that really give you a feeling for the time, place and culture. This fulfills all of that along with some good moral insight and family dynamics. This is one of my favorite books so far this year. I will always pick a new book by Connilyn Cossette to add to my reading list. This book picks up where the last one in the series left off but the children are grown up now and caught in their own destinies. This book is so well written and inciteful and I can't recommend it enough. I love historicals that really give you a feeling for the time, place and culture. This fulfills all of that along with some good moral insight and family dynamics. This is one of my favorite books so far this year. I will always pick a new book by Connilyn Cossette to add to my reading list. I have voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

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