If you’ve been looking at new Christian fiction lately you may recognize the cover of A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette. If you didn’t buy the book immediately because the illustration is so gorgeous (likely the prettiest in my small collection of books) you’ve probably wondered about it. Today, rather than delving into a comprehensive review, I just want to highlight what I feel are the best and worst aspects of this popular new novel I’m seeing everywhere!
Because I like to end on a good note, let’s start with the worst:
Similarly to Cossette’s debut novel, Counted With the Stars, (which I reviewed here) I really disliked the unfolding love story in this book. At the very beginning, the romance was sweet and a little bit magical. As the book went on, however, I felt it became more and more unrealistic and exaggerated. Take a look at this segment and see what you think:
Darek strode toward me, plowing into the water, his powerful legs devouring the space between us. Before I could react, one of his arms was locked about my waist, dragging me toward him, and the other behind my back, tangled in my hair. “I won’t watch you die, Moriyah. I can’t bear it.”
His nearness nearly undid what little composure I had left. My eyelids flickered as confusion and desire—ice and flame—vied for attention. My voice trembled. “Then take me to Kedesh. Help me reach the city of refuge.”
“But I lose you either way. “ His eyes locked on mine, intensity swirling in their multicolored depths.
And I really don’t want to seem like a goody-goody, but some of the situations in the story seemed inappropriate and unnecessary to me, even by my modern standards.
A giggle built in my chest. ”Are you intimating that I’ve been sampling too much of my own cooking?”
“Not at all.” Wicked tease sparked in his eyes as he slid a hand down my side, over my waist, and then pressed his fingers into my hip. “These curves seem perfectly shaped, in my opinion.”
With a gasp, I slapped his hand away but could not keep the smile from my face nor a flush from heating my cheeks.
On the other side of the coin, let’s mention my favorite thing about A Light on the Hill—Cossette’s descriptive writing. It is vivid, fresh, and artistic. Here are a few samples:
I took another breath, possibly my last. Somehow even on the edge of death, the piney smell of the trees around me and the titter of a wren greeting the pink-golden dawn reached my senses. I marveled that such beauty could touch me in my final moments. But the sword in Darek’s hand remained still, did not even press forward. As I took one more stolen breath, and then another, I dropped my gaze to the blade. Early sunlight slipped through the leaves to glint against its dangerous, honed edge.
Then later on:
We spent the night beneath another stand of trees, this one on a small bluff overlooking the lake. The sunset tinted water was so still and placid it seemed as though one might walk directly across it to the opposite side.
And nearer the end of the book:
I ran my hand over the wide curve of the oven’s mouth. How I’d missed kneeling here, waiting for the sticky rounds of dough on its walls to transform into golden-brown bread. The aroma of yeast and charcoal wafted around me with blessed familiarity. Home.
What did you decide? Are you going to give this novel a try? Do you like Cossette’s romantic style?