My family attends a Messianic congregation. By Messianic I mean that we believe that Jesus was a Jew and we study the Bible through a Jewish mindset. We look at the traditions and customs of the Jewish people and through that we are given a better understand of the way the Bible was laid out and the way Jesus taught while HE was here on earth. It's been a big eye opening experience to study with this mindset because I use to read certain parts of the Bible (mainly Paul's letters) and be very confused by how certain things were laid out. But by looking at the culture and time frame these events and letters of The Bible were written in it has opened up new meaning and a greater understanding to GOD's truths for me.
So naturally I would be drawn to a book about a Gentile going through the Biblical Exodus and how GOD adopted her into HIS family. The Bible says in Exodus 12:38 that "A mixed multitude went up with them (the children of Israel) also, ..." (parenthesis are mine). What would it have been like to be the average non-Jew leaving Egypt? What would they have felt like? What might be going through their minds? These questions intrigued me to dive into Kiya's story.
After the first few chapters introduce you to the main character, an Egyptian slave named Kiya, the story starts off with the first of the ten plagues of Egypt; the Nile turning to blood. The author wastes no time in throwing Kiya, and you the reader, into the chaos that invaded Egypt but, at the same time, allows you to experience what all exactly was going on during the time of the plagues. While I wish a little more time was given to the plagues as a whole Mrs. Cossette stays true to the timeline of The Bible where it mentions how long each plague lasted (ex, one week for the water into blood, three days of darkness, and so on...). Most of the time I feel (or at least I know I myself do this) we tend to overlook the "time" parts of The Bible when it mentions how long certain events took place and view it as only a day or so in our minds. This can greatly distort our idea of The Scriptures so I was very pleased with how Mrs. Cossette handled the timing element of the story.
About halfway through the book the actual exiting from Egypt begins. The hardships of living in the desert and the challenges the Israelites experienced almost gives the reader a sense of pity and understanding towards the complaints of the Israelites (almost, but not quite). You can really see how their patience with GOD would run out and despair would set in. But, like in the original account, GOD always took care of HIS people and the amazement of those miracles was magnified and made personal to Kiya and the reader.
I would encourage you to read the original Exodus account (found in Exodus chapters 1-19) as you read along with Counted With the Stars. While the author does a very good job of keeping true to the original account, this is NOT The Holy Scriptures. She does use creative liberties in some parts (like in the parting of the red sea and the giving of the covenant at Mt. Sinai) that add to the development of the story, but they are not Biblical truths.
Overall Counted With the Stars by: Connilyn Cossette is a great story putting names and faces to the original Exodus. I give it a 4 out of 5 rating (see side bar for review scale). I didn't give it a 5 because I felt like the story needed to be a little bit longer. While the author did a tremendous job overall, I felt some areas of the book needed a little more time than was given to them. Also, while she did create some great points and drama to add to the story, and it is evident she did her research, like I said before this book is NOT The Bible and I was afraid that by giving it a 5 that people would read it with the mindset that it was 100% accurate to Scripture. As with everything in life we should do our research so that we can present OURSELVES as "... approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2 : 15 NJKV
P.S. I was given Counted With the Stars by: Connilyn Cossette by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion
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