Book Review

Book Review: Esther by Angela Hunt

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14 (NIV)

Esther Cover

Series: Dangerous Beauty (Book 1)
Genre:
Biblical Fiction
Publisher: 
Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date:
January 6, 2015
Number of pages: 
348

From the Publisher:

“When Xerxes, king of Persia, issues a call for beautiful young women, Hadassah, a Jewish orphan living in Susa, is forcibly taken to the palace of the pagan ruler. After months of preparation, the girl known to the Persians as Esther wins the king’s heart and a queen’s crown. But because her situation is uncertain, she keeps her ethnic identity a secret until she learns that an evil and ambitious man has won the king’s permission to exterminate all Jews–young and old, powerful and helpless. Purposely violating an ancient Persian law, she risks her life in order to save her people…and bind her husband’s heart.”

My Review:
Growing up, Esther was one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I’ve read the story front to back more times than I can count. I have always admired Esther for her courage and strong faith. What she had to go through was incredibly trying and required a lot of strength which she had been given by God. She is, and always has been, one of my favorite women of the Bible.
When seeing this gorgeous looking book in Baker Publishing Group’s book catalog I was ecstatic but wary at the same time.
Why?
See, I love the story of Esther so much that everything I can get my hands on about it intrigues me but when I saw this book in the catalog along with the two words “Biblical fiction”  side-by-side I automatically went, “Oh.”
The words “Bible” and “fiction” do not, and should not go together, in my honest opinion.
I feel guilty just thinking about reading a story from the Bible that was added to.
I’m sorry but I am going to be brutally honest here.
This book slaughtered the original story.
Yes, Angela Hunt did an amazing job throwing in historical information that made me understand Esther’s circumstances and life during her time but it was not the retelling I was hoping for.
Before I get into this, I want to say that I don’t want to bash the author because I know the work and time it takes to put together a book and I respect that. Her writing style is awesome and she is talented at what she does! However, after reading this book I found that I do not agree with “Biblical fiction”.
One of my biggest problems with it was the topic it focused on: Esther’s physical relationship with Xerxes.
Instead of focusing on Haman; his plot against the Jews; and Esther using her power as Queen to save her people; almost the entire story (up until the end and not even then) focused on Esther’s physical relationship with Xerxes.
Despite the fact that Esther is raised in a committed Jewish home that live on the Law of Moses, she has this fantasy towards the pagan nation and living in the palace with a pagan king who is way older than her. The book made it seem like Esther did not care at all about her Jewish faith and seemed happy with her physical relationship with the pagan king.
That is not the Esther I grew up learning about.

This book hardly focused on Esther’s struggle with her beliefs, the troubles the Jews had to contend with, and the problems Haman caused until the last few chapters.

Besides that not-so-slight issue I had with it, this book was rich in historical facts and I did like how I gained a better understanding about life during Bible times. I also found it interesting to see the story of Esther from an eunuch’s point of view.

That wasn’t enough to impress me though.

This book bothered me so much to the point where I never want to read any “Biblical fiction” again.

I’d recommend reading the actual book of Esther in the Bible, it’s a lot more fulfilling.

The one good thing I got out of this book was that I now have an urge to go back and read the Biblical book of Esther.
Rating:

If you  are familiar with the story of Esther, you’ll know that it has some difficult topics. Esther is whisked away to the palace to be presented to the king as a potential wife. He sleeps with many women and concubines throughout the novel and we hear of it often. Nothing is described in detail but this is a common occurrence throughout the book.

I give this book 2/5 stars for in-depth historical research.

Find Esther on:

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Christianbook.com

Baker Publishing Group

Other Books by Angela Hunt:

Bathsheba (Coming September 2015)

*Note: Angela Hunt has many books available but I decided to only include her Biblical one*

Connect with Angela Hunt:

Angela’s Website

Angela’s Facebook Page

Angela’s Goodreads

*I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you, Bethany House for the privilege to review this book! *

*Esther cover borrowed from Bethany House Publisher’s website: bakerpublishinggroup.com/bethanyhouse.com*

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