I’m always curious when I see books about my namesake, Esther, Queen of Persia. I was given one years ago—an abridged version of the original, to be sure, but without the original’s awful scenes—and loved the picture it painted of Esther. A young girl, stripped of the life and dreams that she had, placed in a position where the King had absolute power over her life—and he was the one who would decide whether she would languish, alone, in a world not her own, or live as the wife of the most powerful man in the land. What odds! And, when God’s hand is in the works, what a job!
So when I saw a new book by Diana Wallis Taylor come up for review, Hadassah: Queen Esther of Persia, I knew I wanted to try it out. In stories like this, you generally either strike out, sorta-like it, or find a story that fits the original pretty well. Thankfully, this one was the latter!
Some links in this post may be affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this reader’s bookworm habits! Also, I requested a free review copy of this book from CelebrateLit, and this is my honest opinion of it.
About This Book…
Author: Diana Wallis Taylor
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release date: July 2, 2019
One of the great heroines of the Old Testament, Hadassah was a beautiful, graceful young woman who put her faith in God and her guardian, her cousin Mordecai.
She dreams of marrying Shamir, a tall, handsome, studious young man who is the rabbi’s son. Her heart beats faster when she hears the sound of his deep voice as he reads the Torah. And she hopes that he will visit Mordecai soon to present a betrothal request.
Then, an upheaval in King Xerxes’ palace changes everything. Queen Vashti has been banished and an edict goes out for all qualified young virgins throughout the empire to be taken to the palace as he searches for a new queen.
Fear strikes in the hearts of many, including Mordecai, as he realizes Hadassah will be taken. To hide her identity as a Jew, he tells her to go by the name of Esther. Since he works as a record-keeper at the king’s gates, he can keep tabs on how she is doing.
Hadassah: Queen Esther of Persia imagines what life was like for the woman who saved her people—and perhaps found love in the process.
What I Thought…
I’ve been pretty familiar with Esther’s story for years, so it was interesting to read through an authors interpretation of her story. I was also highly impressed—I only remember noticing one or two small mentions of things that made me ask, “is this really the way it happened in the Bible?” —But even of those, I’m pretty sure at least one thing doesn’t get a mention in the Bible, so it would be up to the author’s guess as to where it would fit.
What I loved, though, and what was one of my favorite aspects of this book, was how the history was brought into it. I remember hearing something about the correlation between Xerxes’ feast and his failed campaign that included the famous Battle of Salamis (thank you for that unforgettable picture, history books!), but I’d never studied up on that particular history behind the history in the Bible before. I loved seeing how all of that played out in here, as a result.
I feel like Hadassah was a good retelling of the Biblical story. I believe the author did a great job weaving in history, honoring the cultural customs of the Jews at the time, and telling Esther’s story in a way that was memorable. There was at least one time that the history actually caught me off-guard—Esther was telling Jonah’s story, and I had no idea that it actually happened 300(ish) years before Esther’s time! With what she had, Diana Taylor did a great job. The writing did feel somewhat stilted at times, but it did get somewhat better as the story went on—it never went all that quickly, but it kept up a good rhythm. If you’re looking for an interesting, but factual, retelling of the Biblical story, you might just enjoy this book.
About the Author…
Diana Wallis Taylor was first published at the age of twelve, when she sold a poem to a church newsletter. After receiving her B.A. in Elementary Education at San Diego State University, she was an elementary school teacher for twenty-two years. Diana has also sold real estate, opened two coffeehouse/used book stores, and was a conference director for a private Christian college.
She has an extensive portfolio of published works, including a collection of poetry; an Easter cantata, written with a musical collaborator; contributions to various magazines and compilations; and several books, including Lydia, Woman of Philippi; Mary, Chosen of God; Ruth, Mother of Kings; and Halloween: Harmless Fun or Risky Business?
Learn more at www.dianawallistaylor.com.
To celebrate her tour, Diana is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks card and a surprise book!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops (below) for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Go here to enter (or click the image above).
Next Blog Stops…
Aryn the Libraryan, July 10
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 10
Through the Fire Blogs, July 10
Lights in a Dark World, July 11
Mary Hake, July 11
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 11
Splashes of Joy, July 12
Simple Harvest Reads, July 12 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 12
Bigreadersite, July 13
Pause for Tales, July 13
Texas Book-aholic, July 13
Creating Romance, July 14
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 14
janicesbookreviews, July 14
Older & Smarter?, July 15
She Lives To Read, July 15
A Reader’s Brain, July 15
For the Love of Literature, July 16
Just the Write Escape, July 16
Inklings and notions, July 16
Henry Happens, July 17
Hebrews 12 Endurance, July 17
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 17
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 17
What was your most favorite recent Biblical fiction read?