Thursday, January 1, 2015

Esther {by Angela Hunt}

Title: Esther: Royal Beauty
Author: Angela Hunt
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Received from publisher

An ambitious tyrant threatens genocide against the Jews in ancient Persia, so an inexperienced beautiful 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. 
Esther marks bestselling author Angela Hunt's return to biblical fiction. In each novel she explores an example of a Hebrew Old Testament tob woman: a woman whose physical beauty influences those around her--and can change the course of history.

Esther stories are one of my favorite, but this retelling was unlike anything I had read before.

Esther is a young girl, living with her cousin Mordecai. But living in the shadow of the palace has her longing for the things she doesn't: fine clothes, wealth, beauty. I think this was an interesting portrayal of Esther, as we remember her as a brave, selfless person. But we often forget that she wasn't always that way. She starts out as a young, naive girl. She is more selfish and spoiled than we would think. But Esther goes through tremendous character growth in this story, and I think it was portrayed exceptionally well. 

But the thing that made this so unique, was that is was in dual perspective, between Hadassah and…the King's Eunuch. I've never seen that before, but it made the story stand-out. Who better to get the perspective of what all is happening in the palace then someone who is always next to the King? I thought that was a great, surprising addition, and really added to the story. The events in the book of Esther didn't happen all one after the other. Sometimes years would pass between events, and this was the perfect way to see what was actually happening in that time.

Like I said, there was a lot of time that spanned in this story, and so there were a few places where the story lagged, because I felt like not much happened. But the story was also detailed, giving a glimpse into Esther's life before and after becoming queen. I know we think being queen is amazing and great, but this showed exactly what is was like, and how it wasn't all so great.

This story seemed well-researched, and it was very well-written. It is important to me that stories like this remain historically and Biblically accurate, which this one did. It retold the story in a new way, while keeping true to the original. Definitely a great read. 

This review can also be found on   Goodreads

Angela Hunt:

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