Beauty does not always benefit the woman who possesses it. On occasion it betrays her, and at other times it endangers her, even to the point of death.
We are all familiar with the Biblical story of Esther, the Jewish woman who becomes Queen of Persia. Esther saves her people from extinction, but what do we know about the times and culture in which she lived?
Angela Hunt has given us a beautifully-written and researched fictionalization of Esther’s story. The ancient times come to life through her pen (computer?) as she portrays the day to day events in the life of Hadassah, her uncle, Mordecai, and her aunt, Miriam.
Told through the eyes of Hadassah (Esther) and Harbonah, King Xerxes’ chief eunuch, we switch back and forth between life in the Jewish quarter of Susa and life in the king’s palace.
Hadassah is much like most modern teen girls as she grows up—somewhat selfish, intrigued by material things, worried about her looks and her clothing. One wonders how someone so superficial could grow up into the woman who would save her people.
Harbonah is a likeable character given to musings about the king and keeping him satisfied. Seeing Hadassah one day while accompanying Queen Vashti’s entourage through the market, he becomes intrigued with the beauty of Mordecai’s young niece. Neither Hadassah nor Harbonah knows the role the girl who becomes Esther will play.
Hunt’s portrayal of Esther reminded me somewhat of Tommy Tenney’s book, Hadassah: One Night with the King, released in 2005. I thought I had read parts of the this book previously because I had read Tenney’s book. However, the similarities are not great enough to detract from the enjoyment of Hunt’s Esther.
I loved Angie’s retelling of Esther’s story and watching young Hadassah grow into the role of Queen of Persia. The interactions between Esther and Harbonah are fascinating as are the descriptions of Persian life in the palace.
Five stars—you’ll love this first entry in the Dangerous Beauty series.
Bethany House gave me a copy of Esther for my candid review.