Angela Hunt always writes compelling fiction, the kind that drags the reader in from the cover of the book, much less the opening paragraph. In Esther, you find all the drama, all the intrigue, and all the promise that any reader can want.
Hadassah is a young, Jewish girl living in Susa with her cousins Mordecai and Miriam. She is young enough to still have stars in her eyes and dreams of what life could bring. While she loves her cousins, who have raised her since her parents died, she has dreams of grandeur far beyond her station in life. Mordecai and Miriam have picked out a young man to be Hadassah's husband, but Hadassah is reluctant to fulfill the marriage contract.
Meanwhile, in the palace, Xerxes is holding banquets that last for months and disrupt the whole city of Susa. During one of these banquets, Xerxes calls for his queen to come and grace his friends with her presence. She flatly refuses, even though it costs her her crown. After a time, Xerxes personal attendant recommends that he seek a new queen, which starts a huge hunt throughout the whole kingdom for the most beautiful marriageable women.
As the threat of being chosen for the king's harem becomes more and more real, Hadassah agrees to complete her marriage contract, only to be caught by slave traders and brought to the palace. Hadassah quickly becomes the favorite of the king's assistants and because of her honestly humble manner, she becomes the king's favorite and is soon named the new queen.
Anyone who has read the book of Esther in the Bible knows what happens, but Angela has fleshed out the story, brought personality to the persons in the story. She has brought dimension and history to the setting; sights, smells, tastes, touches, and sounds to the characters--engaging all the senses through her written words.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a banquet of the finest foods.
Bethany House provided this book in exchange for my honest review.