Friday, January 16, 2015
Book Review: Esther: Royal Beauty
Esther: Royal Beauty
By Angela Hunt
Bethany House, 2015
English, 352 pgs
When an ambitious tyrant threatens genocide against the Jews, an inexperienced young queen must take a stand for her people.
When Xerxes, king of Persia, issues a call for beautiful young women, Hadassah, a Jewish orphan living in Susa, is forcibly taken to the palace of the pagan ruler. After months of preparation, the girl known to the Persians as Esther wins the king's heart and a queen's crown. But because her situation is uncertain, she keeps her ethnic identity a secret until she learns that an evil and ambitious man has won the king's permission to exterminate all Jews--young and old, powerful and helpless. Purposely violating an ancient Persian law, she risks her life in order to save her people...and bind her husband's heart.
I really enjoyed this novelization of the story of Esther. The story is told from a rotating point of view, between Esther and Harbonah (the king's eunich), which is unique to any other stories I've read about Esther. The eunich's point of view serves to help us understand the king and his motivation better and to tell a lot of the historical background of the story.
I was extremely impressed with how well researched the book is. I can't recall another fiction book lately that has had footnotes at the end. There are parts that the author admits she had to "fill in" and fictionalize but they are consistent with the story and the Biblical account of Esther.
I love how personal it got with her and the king's children and how she was torn about her love for the king, since he was of a different faith. I found it really hard to put down and have already recommended it to other women I know in the church!
I received a copy of the book from Bethany House for the purpose of a review on this blog and a commercial bookselling website. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.