Thursday, January 22, 2015

Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt

 Esther is one of the few women who has a book of the Bible named after her. She was queen of Persia during the reign of Xerxes, and she was Jewish although her husband did not know it. Hadassah was her Jewish name, and her family was among the exiles from Israel who lived in the Persian kingdom. Basically, she won a beauty contest to become eligible for the king's harem.

Esther is a hero to the Jewish people because she was instrumental in saving them from genocide ordered one of the king's advisors.  Xerxes chose her as queen from among a number of women. As the king's favorite, she was perfectly positioned to influence him and stop the murder of Jewish people in the king's realm. As a woman, she took action in several situations in which she could have been killed just for being so presumptuous as to approach the king.

The story is told in the first person, switching back and forth from Esther (Hadassah) to Harbonah, one of the king's eunuchs who worked with the king and the harem. It's a gripping tale when read in the Bible. It is absolutely fascinating when presented in fictional form with details of the characters' thoughts and dialog between them. There's the love story of Esther and Xerxes, palace intrigue, family loyalty---what more could you want in a story?

Angela Hunt is a master of the historical fiction genre. She has a doctorate in Biblical Studies, and she is very conscientious about portraying historical events accurately. If you have not read her work before, this book is a good place to start. If you are a fan of hers and have not read it yet, don't waste any time. It appears that this is the first book in a series entitled Dangerous Beauty. I can't wait to read the next one!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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