Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther

I love the love story of Esther. It is a great book of the Bible that includes mystery, romance, intrigue, action, and drama. I was hesitant to read A Reluctant Queen, but decided to at least give it a chance. I enjoyed the story as a novel, but I noticed that the novel did not follow the Biblical account completely.

As the novel of the story of Esther goes, she is a young Jewish woman who enters the harem of the King and is chosen to be his wife. That part follows the story of the Bible. Her Uncle Mordecai who raised her encourages her to keep her Jewish roots to herself which again follows the Biblical account. It is when Haman writes the edict to kill all the Jews that the fiction diverts from the Bible story. In the novel, Mordecai does not talk to Esther about the edict encouraging her that she may have been called for "such a time as this"; Esther does not fast for 3 days; Esther does not invite the King and Haman to a banquet 2 nights in a row; and the King does not ask Esther what her request is even up to half the kingdom he would freely give her. The novel also leaves out the part where the King can't sleep and asks for a scribe to read to him to help him fall asleep. After the scribe reads the part about Mordecai saving his live, the King asks what was done for Mordecai. They tell him nothing was done. So the next morning when Haman comes in, the King asks him for his advice on how to honor an important man. Thinking the King was talking about himself, Haman tells of a great parade through the streets with the man of honor on the King's horse. The King likes the idea and sends Haman to do just that with Mordecai. Haman complies but with such contempt that he then goes and builds the huge gallows which he planned to hang Mordecai.

I know that an author needs to take some artistic license to make a 10 chapter book of the Bible into a 250 page novel; however, instead of adding details to the story, the author omitted important story elements. The line "such a time as this" is classic and could have been included. The storyline with Haman parading Mordecai around on the King's horse would have added to the understanding of Haman's hatred toward Mordecai. I just feel like what was left out should have been part of the story.

I liked reading this book as a novel. Unfortunately, I loved the story of Esther as it is and did not like how this book did not include the story elements that makes the book Esther so great to read.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

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