I love the story of Esther. In fact, it is one of my favorite Bible stories. And to know that Esther really existed, that this isn't just a story, but a bit of history.... well, that just makes it more fascinating! Here you have a girl, a young Jewish girl, who is chosen over all the other maidens to become queen of Persia. But then, she risks her life to save her people. The story could have ended with... "Esther went before the king. He refused her. She died." But no, God had bigger plans! Bigger than Esther could have every imagined!
Joan Wolf does an excellent job writing Esther's story. The Biblical account leaves out a lot of details. Why exactly did Esther join the multitude of girls wanting to be queen? Was she forced to, against her will? Did she long to be queen? Or was it a matter of politics, trying to get a Jew close to the king? This is the route Joan takes with this story.
The author brings a lot of politics into the story of Esther that you normally don't see. It gives you another viewpoint. Persia was ruling the Promised Land at this time in history. King Xerxes (otherwise called Ahasuerus) gave Haman the Agagite a position of authority. Haman hated the Jews. He wanted them destroyed. In this book, Haman tries to get the king to fight against the Jews in Palestine. But the king wanted peace in Palestine. So, Haman waits. The king leaves with his troops, leaving Haman in charge. While he is gone Haman writes out a decree to annihilate the Jews. And now we have Esther's time to shine!
At first I wasn't too happy with the way the story is portrayed. But, the more I read it, the more I got into it. At the end of the book, Joan Wolf does explain why she writes the book with a different viewpoint. This is a novel, and should be read as one. There are historical and Biblical facts throughout the book, but there is enough fiction to make it a very enjoyable, page-turning novel.
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