Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 400 pages
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
Goodreads Summary: An inspired re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.I’ve always been fascinated by the Biblical story of Esther, how an ordinary girl could rise up to become queen of Persia and save her people from genocide. While A Reluctant Queen mirrors the main highlights from the Biblical account, it is important to point out that this book is VERY loosely based on the biblical book of Esther.
See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther's beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.
Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith's great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity.
In order to properly enjoy and review this book, I decided not to compare it to the real story in the Bible. Standing on its own, A Reluctant Queen is very romantic, hopeful and filled with political intrigue.
Esther is a beautiful girl of mixed heritage (her mother was Jewish while her father was Persian) living in Susa with her uncle Mordecai. Fearing a plot to annihilate the Jewish people, Esther, at the request of Mordecai and other Jewish leaders, goes undercover into the King of Persia’s harem and competes with other girls to become his wife.
Young and scared, Esther never expects to actually like the handsome King Ahasuerus and is even more shocked when he chooses her to be his queen after only meeting her once. Ahasuerus is gorgeous, smart, kind, noble and completely swoon worthy. In other words, he is a perfect leading man. What starts out as a physical attraction grows into an awesome love between these two. The characters are very well rounded, especially Esther and Haman (the villain of the story). I loved getting to know Esther and seeing how she worked through her fears to get to the point of knowing that she was going to save her people or die trying. The political storyline in the book is very interesting as well.
I liked A Reluctant Queen and I think readers who like Christian fiction and romance would enjoy it as well. Just keep in mind that it is a retelling and there are significant differences between the historical account of Queen Esther and this book.
Content: Kissing, drinking, some violence and implied sex but nothing even remotely graphic.
My Rating: Really Good!