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Counted With the Stars (Out From Egypt) by…
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Counted With the Stars (Out From Egypt)

by Connilyn Cossette

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The sub-genre of Biblical fiction is, surprisingly, new to me. I have never encountered it prior to reading Connilyn Cossette’s Counted with the Stars. I enjoy Christian fiction and cannot get enough historical fiction so I eagerly delved into this novel.

This is the story of the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. I didn’t understand the terminology of the timeframes (i.e.: 1st Day of Akhet, Season of inundation), but that didn’t interfere with the story at all. The timeline for the novel is basically 1447-8 BC. That was enough for me to place the story.

A thirteen-year-old Egyptian girl, Kiya, is sold into slavery to settle the debts her father incurred from his failed business. She is sold to his friend, Shefu, as a handmaiden for his wife, Tekurah. Tekurah lives to humiliate her slaves, and the fact that Kiya is a favorite of her husband’s infuriates her. She treats Kiya worse, if that is possible, than the Hebrew slaves.

Kiya befriends another slave, Shira, and the girls become best friends. Together they endure their indentured life. As Kiya does her best to satisfy her mistress, the ten plagues are visited upon Egypt. Author Cossette does an amazing job in making reader’s skin crawl with the lizards, lice, frogs, grasshoppers, etc. that invade the desert country. They came a little too close together in my mind. It was like one day for each of the plagues.

As the Hebrews are forced to flee Egypt to escape the deaths of first-born sons, Kiya decides to follow them. As the review from Publisher’s Weekly stated, “Readers will smell the fear on Passover night, feel the wonder of the Red Sea crossing, and sympathize with the starving and thirsting of those escaping in the wilderness.”

Attention of detail and well-developed characters make this a stand-out novel. As I read in “A Note From the Author,” I learned that names in Ancient Egyptian culture are extremely important. I wish Cossette had given us more information about that, but since I didn’t know that while I was reading, that is really an afterthought.

There is one area where the names were an issue, especially in the beginning. Many of the characters names began with “s,” which was confusing. Sometimes I had to flip back to remember who was who, especially in regards to the secondary characters. It is for this reason, I give Counted with the Stars (Book 1: Out of Egypt series) 4 out 5 stars. ( )
  juliecracchiolo | Jan 22, 2018 |
This is my first biblical fiction read and it won't be the last. I never thought I'd love a book based on religion and such things but I loved the story from its angles.

The book is about a spiritual journey for Kiya the Egyptian slave who has been sold by her father to his friend because of the debt he couldn't pay. She goes to live with her master and mistress who treats her very badly, and comes to be friend with the Hebrew slave Shira, who will guide her and help her in their journey. Their spiritual journey starts after they flee Egypt away from Pharaoh's rage and bloodlust and in their journey they come to know more about the Hebrew messenger Mosheh (Moses) and what he can offer from their God, the one and only. In this journey, Kiya will learn how to love and how to forgive, how to grieve and how to enjoy passion. She'll come to know a new God, who is faceless and hard to believe in but will she find her way to him? Through Shira's brother Eben, she'll come to know and learn about many things.

The characters were amazing, the depth, the agony, the dear, the love and everything they've felt, would get inside your head. Loved Kiya, Eben and Shira's characters, so beautifully written and developed, also her mother's, it was so beautifully written. The story was so easy to read and enjoy. The flow of words were like music, easy for the eyes and mind.

I loved this book a lot, and can't wait to start reading book 2. ( )
  books.paper.mania | Oct 23, 2016 |
I am definitely not a bible fiction fan, nor a bible story aficionado, but this story kept my attention pretty well and I found it to be interesting while not overly religious until the very end. Don't get me wrong, religion is a strong basis of this story, but I felt like the story was well-written and interesting enough without being completely about religion.

When an Egyptian girl named Kiya is sold into slavery by her father to repay his debts, she finds herself lonely and in a world she never really considered before. Surrounded by other slaves who were all Hebrew, Kiya wasn't accepted by them, nor treated well by her mistress, and wondered how she would survive this new life she had been thrust into.

When one of the Hebrew slaves, Shira, takes an interest in Kiya, they end up becoming good friends. Shira's brother Eben sells musical instruments at the market where Kiya and Shira often purchase goods for their mistress, and they sometimes get to enjoy short visits with each other.

Shortly after Kiya is sold into slavery, week-long plagues begin affecting the entire village they live in. By the 3rd or 4th affliction, Kiya realizes that Shira is not being affected by them as badly as her fellow Egyptians. Soon rumors begin that the Hebrew god is the one ordering these plagues against the Egyptians and all Hebrew slaves are released and sent away in hopes this will end the plagues.

The Hebrews find themselves fleeing their villages in droves for a new life free from persecution, but the journey is long and they are tested in many ways.

The driving force behind this story is the relationships that Kiya forges with Shira, Eben, Kiya's disabled brother and their mother. The fact that modern-day people have read about these plagues and understand what they are long before the characters in the book do is interesting to me. The perspective of experiencing them through Kiya's eyes was thought-provoking.

My interest was surprisingly held by this story and the way it was written, much better than I expected it would be. I won this book via LibraryThing. ( )
  mandersj73 | Jul 8, 2016 |
Kiya was expecting to be wife to Akhum. But one day her world is turned upside down. She is sold into slavery to pay off her father's debts. She has a disabled brother who her mother has to take care of. She is the property of her father's friend, Shefu. Kiya is Egyptian and she becomes friends with a Hebrew slave girl, named Shira. Her mistress, Tekurah, Shefu's wife is very cruel to Kiya and she doesn't know why. Then Egypt is visited by the plagues and when her master, Shefu finds out what the last plague is, the death of the first born, Jumo, Kiya's brother is first born son. He convinces her to get her brother and mother out of Egypt and with the Hebrews, Shira's family. She is having a conflict within herself about who to serve. The gods she has served all her life or this new scary god who is all powerful.
She is also having a conflict of hers feelings for Shira's brother, Eben, or still longing for her lost love, Akhum.
She also has a personal discovery that comes from her mother.
Join Kiya, Jumo and her mother as they go through life changing experiences, both personal and spiritual.
I love this book. You will too.
Pick up a copy, you won't regret it.

I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House for this review. ( )
  Jean_Kellman | Jul 7, 2016 |
As my debut novel into the world of Biblical fiction, Connilyn Cossette's Counted with the Stars gave me a taste of what to expect, and it sure was yummy! A series of novels based on the book of Exodus had me intrigued. How will Conni write in the plagues, the parting of the sea, Moses & Aaron, and God's voice on Mt. Sinai? How?! With grace and imagination.

Conni writes with thoughtful analysis from the perspective of Kiya and how as someone just part of the flight from Egypt, what may be seen as miracles can come off as confusion. I like this perspective because it gives a glimpse of how what happened with Pharoah and Moses were passed on through word of mouth and how the many signs of Yahweh were perceived. What were the outcome to the initial plagues? How did the Egyptians treat the Hebrews since? What danger lies ahead? I highly recommend going back to the book of Exodus after reading Counted with the Stars. I think it will give you new insight.

God's deliverance of the Hebrews through Moses is a a Bible story many of us are familiar with. How Conni chose to combine research and her creativity as a writer is refreshing to say the least. Her use of "common folks" have relayed God's message in Exodus.

"Yahweh is the creator of all that there is. He is the most real thing, the only eternal thing. Our hearts will stop beating, our eyes will close, the mountains may someday crumble, the trees will wither away, but Yahweh will always be." (333)

For the full review, go to Just Commonly blog .

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page. ( )
  justcommonly | Apr 12, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764214373, Paperback)

A Story of Love, Desperation, and Hope During a Great Biblical Epoch

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?

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 23 Aug 2015 17:17:50 -0400)

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?… (more)

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