Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review-Esther, Royal Beauty, by Angela Hunt

(I loved this cover..beautiful and mysterious)

Royal Beauty
By:  Angela Hunt
Bethany House

As the story begins, Esther/Hadassah, is portrayed as a young care-free spoiled girl, which could have been true since she was orphaned and lived with her Uncle Mordecai and his wife Miriam who have no children of their own so they doted on Esther.  They lived in the shadow of the palace and her uncle worked at the Kings Gate as an accountant.  However, they are careful to keep their lineage a secret because they are not sure how the new king feels about Jewish people.  Esther’s character goes through many changes as she matures and the story unfolds.  Her care-free life suddenly comes to an end with the death of her aunt, her betrothal to Binyamin, and the king’s new decree.

King Xerxes finds disfavor with Queen Vashti. When he summons her and she refuses to obey his summons, he banishes her from his bedchamber, his court and as his queen.  The king falls into great despair and his personal eunuch, Harbonah, suggests to the King he find a new queen in the commoners of his kingdom.  After the King’s decree was made, Mordecai was afraid for Esther and sent her to Jerusalem with Binyamin where he felt she would be safe from the reaches of the king.  On the journey to Jerusalem she was abducted by slave-traders and delivered to the King’s Palace.  Life for Esther was changed forever.

Esther has long been one of my favorite books in the Bible.  Although the Bible tells how Esther became queen to a pagan king, it doesn’t tell much of her life before.  Ms. Hunt takes us not only into the Biblical portion but also the history and customs of the time period, thus transporting us to the streets of Susa where we travel with Esther as she makes the dangerous journey from a young naive girl to a queen. 

As I went back to the Bible to re-read Esther’s story, the Bible doesn’t convey that Esther wanted to be a princess; however it is important in setting the stage for the character and events of this book.  I loved the way Ms. Hunt brought the story to a climax that was true to the Bible’s account, but was disappointed that is ended abruptly.  She melded Bible, history and fiction into a riveting story, that although scriptural, would be loved on a secular level.  Once I started reading it…I couldn’t put it down. 
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this eBook by the publisher, Bethany House, through NetGalley blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

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