Esther: Royal Beauty

EstherAuthor: Angela Hunt

Series: Dangerous Beauty

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: December 2014

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An exciting, enhanced, and well researched account of the biblical story of Esther. Do not miss out on the first book of this terrific new series.

Hadassah is a young Jewish girl that lives will several of the remnant of Israel that was exiled to the land of Babylon. After a decree was issued to allow the Israelites to return to Jerusalem, her family decided to move to Susa, where she currently lives with her cousins Mordecai and Miriam.  She dreams of being royalty and the lavish lifestyle that comes with it.  After the King has Queen Vashti dethroned, an edict is made throughout the empire that all young virgin women shall be presented to the King to choose a new Queen.  In an attempt to escape the decree, Hadassah and her betrothed begin the journey to Jerusalem to start a new life together.  Unfortunately, she is caught by slave traders rounding up young women to bring to the fortress for payment.  In order to protect her heritage, Hadassah changes her name to Esther.  She quickly charms all of those given charge over her and is presented to the King, whom she also charms.  After she is made Queen, a decree is issued to exterminate all of the Jews throughout the empire.  Can Esther find the courage to make a stand for her people against her husband?

The story of Esther is one that has been told many times in many different formats. However, most of those stories center on the key events that occur in the book of Esther.  There is the story of how Esther came to be the Queen.  The assassination attempt that was uncovered by Mordecai.  And the story of Haman’s hatred of the Jewish nation that resulted in his own demise.  Each of these events take place in Angela Hunt’s novel; however, they are not the main focal point of her book.

Well over half of this book is centered on developing and understanding King Xerxes. The amount of research that she put into developing this account shows throughout the novel.  So much so, in fact, that I actually had to go research the same accounts after I read portions of the novel to determine if the facts were true.  The military campaigns as well as the continuing saga of Queen Vashti really helped me understand the mind and emotions behind King Xerxes and why the story of Esther is so significant.

The story is told through two points of view: Hadassah, who becomes Queen Esther, and Harbonah, the eunuch that is the King’s chamberlain. Switching the points of view never became confusing and with each chapter closing, I was eagerly awaiting the beginning of the next.  The characters were so well developed that as a reader I couldn’t help but connect with them.

The accounts of biblical historical fiction appear to be on the rise and the depth of Hunt’s work will leave readers beyond satisfied. If this genre is something you enjoy, then grab this book.  If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend you begin with this series.