A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf – My Review

Thomas Nelson (Jun 14, 2011)
While I am fascinated with different takes on the story of Esther and as such was excited about this book I also wondered whether it would be another of the “same” books with a different name because so many books based on this Biblical narrative have been published in recent years. Though this author takes what I would consider significantly more creative license in her book than most authors, this has also allowed her to bring a completely different perspective to a story I’ve known well for many years. Wolf has fleshed out her fictional Esther in ways that I believe no other writer has with this character. Even the secondary characters in this novelized Esther become richer and deeper as a result of Wolf’s research and creativity. For those that want a Bible Study or true to scripture sort of presentation/take on Esther then please read this understanding that it is a novel and thus fictional as well as that the author intentionally veers from the scriptural facts purposely for the sake of plot and characters that make the book. If fiction and the Bible don’t mix in your opinion then I suggest sticking to non-fiction or scripture itself however I personally find that reading historical fiction that is inspired from scriptural events brings a deeper, richer understanding of people and circumstances from a time and place I will never have the opportunity to experience first hand.

Wolf as I mentioned has brought an entirely new dimension to Esther, several secondary characters from the scriptures regarding her experience, Susa and it’s place in the Persian empire at this juncture. Politics plays a part as it must but Esther’s placement in the palace and her relationship with Persia’s then king as his queen takes on a tone of God-Ordained circumstances that all intersect just perfectly for Mordecai to place a Jew in a position to advocate for their people. The path to her joining the harem is much more meditated and calculated on Mordecai’s part than the Bible story but Esther’s attitude is also less resigned to what will be to the point she actually intends to make herself as unpalatable to the king as she can with the intent to escape what she sees as a forced imprisonment where the cultural and societal rules she was raised under are entirely reversed.
(ISBN#9781595548764, 384pp, $15.99)

Visit Joan’s website. Click the cover for more info and to purchase a copy. Read an excerpt. Thanks to Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program for a review copy.

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