About the book (from CWA): Hadassah, the beautiful, Jewish teenager from the city of Susa in Persia, is taken by force to the palace of King Ahasuerus. His command to find the most beautiful virgins in his kingdom, and bring them to the house of women, has placed Hadassah under the supervision of Hegai, the king's custodian of women. Hegai and his servants, have one year to prepare each virgin for one night with the king. Although Hadassah was taken from her home by force, she refuses to become bitter. She accepts being called Esther, but inside remains always, Hadassah. She continually wonders why she is there, yet remains faithful to her God, and to her identity. It is years before the answer is revealed. Her people face annihilation, and it falls upon her shoulders to stop it. Her first thought is to shirk her duty, but Mordecai, her cousin, will not allow it. His words, '"Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"' brings her to her senses.
Unlike many of the novels written about Esther, this book seeks to remain true to the Biblical account, while supplying additional historical information from the time period 486-473 B.C. The book has a five page Introduction, which gives insight into some of the things found in the story. It has a page, listing the months of the Jewish sacred calendar and the corresponding month of our modern calendar. Also in the back of the book is a listing of Scriptures mentioned in each chapter, along with a listing of works consulted in research for Esther Queen of Persia.
My take: I've always loved the story of Queen Esther, so I jumped at the chance to read Jim Baumgardner's retelling of the Biblical story. I was a bit skeptical, though, when the book arrived. Though I understand that a lot of thought and work went into the cover (and the picture makes perfect sense when reading the story), it did not jump out to me as the cover of a book I'd like to read.
"Don't judge a book by its cover," they say, and in this case, "they" are right. Esther Queen of Persia is a completely captivating look the events in the Book of Esther. I especially appreciated the time Baumgardner spent explaining what Esther probably went through as she prepared for her initial introduction to the king. I had never really considered what all would have gone into her preparations, and I wondered why on earth she needed a whole year to prepare. Now I understand.
I especially appreciated the way Baumgardner wove other historical figures—most notably Ezra—into the narrative. I tend to think of Esther in a bubble, not realizing where exactly it fell chronologically. The novel helped to bring the story and the time period to life.
One thing that did bother me throughout is that the novel needed better proofreading, starting with the title, which should be Esther, Queen of Persia or Esther: Queen of Persia. But while each missing apostrophe and misspelled plural caught my attention, the errors were infrequent enough to make them a minor annoyance rather than a deal breaker.
Esther Queen of Persia is a great book—one that fans of biblical fiction will enjoy. I highly recommend it!
About the author: Born in Wichita, Kansas, Jim Baumgardner, raised by Christian parents, gave his life to Christ in 1957. The author continues to reside in Wichita with his wife Linda. They have three children and nine grandchildren. Jim has seven published books. Four are known as the Sarah books, which tell of the adventures of a girl named Sarah, set in the 19th Century. The other three are Bible novels, including the author’s latest release, Esther Queen of Persia. All of Jim’s books are primarily written for his grandchildren’s benefit.
To learn more about Jim and his books, visit his websites: http://www.biblenovels.net/ http://kansasjimbo.bravejournal.com/ http://www.sarahbooks.net/ You can also find him onFacebook,Twitter,Pinterest,LinkedIn,Google +, andGoordreads. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links on this page are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase a product, I will receive a commission. 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.” I am part of the CWA Review Crew.
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