A fresh voice for Esther's story: "Esther: Royal Beauty" by Angela Hunt
about the book....
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.
Many authors have retold the Biblical story of Esther, seeking to bring her story to life for a new generation of readers, but few have given it a fresh voice the way Angela Hunt has done. Alternating between the perspectives of Hadassah (Esther) and one of the king's eunuchs, Harbonah, Hunt has woven a tale that is absolutely true to the Biblical account while adding some new twists. For example, this is the first time I've read a fiction account where Esther's cousin Mordecai is married - and yet it makes such perfect sense for a Jewish man raising a young female cousin to be married! I also liked the way that Esther is somewhat torn in her desires, wanting to be faithful to the traditions her Jewish community has instilled within her, while also being drawn to life in the royal palace as well. I've always assumed that every part of Esther's heart rebelled against her calling - but who is to say that God hadn't prepared her for her future by placing certain desires within her being? I greatly enjoyed getting to know the different characters in the novel, all of whom are finely crafted, including the character of King Xerxes, and I felt that the different perspectives the story is told from added a certain richness to the tale. The historical settings and traditions included in the story also add an air of authenticity, and readers will be able to imagine the ancient world of Esther in vivid detail.
"Esther: Royal Beauty" contains all the drama and suspense you could hope for, and is a fine additional to the arena of Biblical fiction. You will leave the story feeling wonderfully entertained, and stirred to open up your Bible and read more about how God used Esther to change history. And you may just ponder how God wants to use you to change lives as well! I award this book a solid rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
about the author....
With nearly five million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Tale of Three Trees,The Note, and The Nativity Story. Angela's novels have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Christian Book Award, and the HOLT Medallion Award. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, she completed her doctorate in Biblical Studies and is currently completing her Th.D. Angela and her husband live in Florida, along with their mastiffs. She can be found online at www.angelahuntbooks.com.
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