David C. Cook (March 1, 2010)
I got my introduction to Ginger Garrett with her first Chronicles of the Scribe novel, In the Shadow of Lions. This novel actually predated that series and Garrett plans two more Lost Loves of the Bible novels featuring Delilah and Jezebel. David C Cook has released this second edition as the book was originally published by Nav Press who have moved away from fiction releases recently. Esther’s diaries were an intriguing and riveting read that kept me up late reading because I had to keep going once I opened the book. It took me a few evenings of reading simply because my eyes finally protested the idea of reading any more in that sitting. Esther, Mordecai, Cyrus, Xerxes, and Harbana band together to save both Xerxes and the Jews from the manipulations of their enemies within the government and their allies looking to take over Persia for their own motives. However, eventually these machinations overthrew Xerxes despite the Jews escape from a near genocide at the hands those within Xerxes inner circle who tried to eliminate them in a simple declaration of attacking unarmed masses via his own personal army of soldiers and nobles. Although Esther lost her beloved Xerxes before nature would have taken him from her as well as her childhood sweetheart, Cyrus, who had become Xerxes most trusted warrior and guard – she herself escaped the castle massacre thanks to the loyalty of those who served her. Her adopted father, Mordecai who was also a relative of the parents she lost as a youngster is not mentioned at the time of Xerxes or Cyrus deaths although he must have also been within the palace as he became Xerxes closest advisor next to his treasured and cherished Queen to replace the schemer Haman who was eliminated by the devices he erected to finish off Mordecai when the King and Queen discovered his plans for the man who had been faithful to the monarchs and alerted them to dangers even before his appointment to the palace post. Despite being formatted as brief diary entries, often a couple pages or less, the story unfolds clearly and moves at breakneck pace. each entry weaves into the flow without disruptions that would normally appear in such a document. Instead of the stilted and incomplete narratives of daily life one might expect to find, Esther’s imputed journals interconnect despite the often significant gaps of time which elapse between entries. The dating of the entries was painstakingly recreated using the most common calendars of her day. Someone also researched the society and culture of Persia in that era as well as current scholarly works explaining situations issues that would relate to current culture and society in western societies. This research is included as an appendix to which the reader is periodically directed by footnotes at the proper point in the main narrative. This is one of the most gripping and richly detailed historical pieces I have had the pleasure of reading despite being shorter than many of the heavier narratives that find their way to my favorites list. Ginger once again proved herself worthy of a spot amongst my favorite authors. The feat in itself is not easy to accomplish and unfortunately some of those spots are vacated by previous authors if the quality of their writing erodes with time. Books that once made this list maintain their status but subsequent releases by some of the authors I embraced do not live up to their reputation and are replaced by new authors to me like Garrett who grasp my imagination and thoughts long after their last page leaves my hands. I look forward to not only the remaining Lost Loves novels but reading the continuation of the Chronicles of the Scribe series as well. (ISBN#9781434768018, 304pp, $14.99)
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