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.
Those familiar with the Bible likely know the scriptures that tell of Esther, although I must admit I had to go back to the Old Testament to recall the biblical account. Although the book does well with weaving in the actual Bible story, Esther: Royal Beauty isn't a factual account and shouldn't be taken as such. But what the book does is weave scriptural report into a story of what Esther's life might have been like.
Esther (also known as Hadassah) starts out as an ordinary girl dreaming of riches and beauty. She lives with her cousins who try to teach her humbleness and meekness, but that doesn't stop her of wanting bigger and better things. She refuses to believe that the king is abusive and sometimes even wonders what it would be like to live within the royal palace. When Esther is but a teenager and already set to marry someone else, she is captured by slave traders and is primped to become a woman. Other girls are also captured and the same primping is done to them. Esther catches the eye of the king and becomes the one he chooses as Queen. It is some time after that the king sends out a death warrant for all Jews, not knowing that Esther and her cousin, Mordecai, are just that. Esther draws up courage and approaches the king while facing possible death to save her people.
Esther: Royal Beauty is told from two points of view - Hadassah's (also known as Esther) and Harbonah, a eunuch. Because the names are so close in visualization, I sometimes had to pause to make my mind click with who exactly was narrating. Harbonah, the eunuch, has worked for King Xeres for some time and his point-of-view tells of what life was like inside the palace and what reasoning was behind some of the king's actions and behaviors.
Author Angela Hunt does a fantastic job of engaging the reader. She writes the story in a way that allows your mind to be transported to the events and easily comprehend what's happening.
One person will win a paperback book copy of Esther: Royal Beauty.
*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*