David C. Cook
The story of a girl unsparingly plunged into heartache and chaos, who would save a nation … of Esther, who would be queen.
Wrenched from a simple life for her beauty, Esther finds herself at the mercy of King Xerxes. Leaving behind her only relative, her cousin Mordecai, and her first true love, Cyrus, she is thrown headlong into the unrestrained extravagance of palace living. Quick of mind and strong in spirit, she refuses to suffer the fate of her harem sisters and boldly challenges Xerxes to give of his heart before taking his pleasure, thus sealing her place beside him a queen. While conspiracy spins its diabolical web, Esther’s mind and spirit waver, and she is forced to confront the past in order to save her future—and that of an entire nation.
This is absolutely the best version of Esther I have ever read. The concept of entries she wrote hundreds of years ago having so much meaning for the modern woman was just genius re-telling on Garrett's part. Esther actually had a voice in this novel, and she wasn't just that queen in the Bible that did amazing things. Here she is presented as a woman of flesh and blood, with fallacies that we can all relate to. She spends a year in a harem, and much of her mindset and values change in an instant as she realizes she is not in Kansas anymore.
I loved the descriptions of life in the Persian court, and I particularly enjoyed the details of daily life for Esther as she learns how to become the queen of an empire. Garrett portrays all too well the limitations women faced in the past, and how even today women are still learning how to identify themselves in our ever-changing society. The footnotes were wonderful, and I really liked how every once and again I got referred to the back of the book to read the corresponding article. Some of the points hit home, and there is a lot of food for thought for women of every culture and age. I highly recommend this book, as it offers a rare glimpse of an ancient queen - not just because she survived her circumstances - but because her bravery and honor continue to inspire and embolden us to the present day.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.