The Bible contains so many great stories that continue to speak to us now. One of the stories where a woman is ‘center stage’ is that of Esther.
Joan Wolf has taken the story of Esther and woven an enchanting novel that captured my attention. Titled A Reluctant Queen, this particular work takes a little liberty with the biblical account. However, even with the changes the story is one that honors what Esther did for the Jewish people with need for great courage.
One of the changes in this story is who was king at the time. Historically, it should have been Xerxes. In this novel, it is a fictional king named Ahasuerus that weds Esther. Ms. Wolf does note that she made this change because this title is meant to be a love story and the king needed qualities that would lead her down the path to love.
There is also an interesting exploration of the characters to show what might have been the motivations influencing their actions. This helped to make the story feel more authentic with human frailties exposed.
As it is a love story, there are scenes of a sexual nature. However, it is not done in the tawdry manner some mainstream romance novels employ. Instead, it is always in the context of marital love with sex being a powerful way to deepen the love between a husband and wife. (She even has the king set aside the tradition of visiting concubines after he weds Esther and grows closer to her.)
I have to say that I completely LOVED this novel. It is not too often that I keep reading until the wee hours of the night with little desire to put the book down. When I came to the concluding pages, I found myself longing for more… a yearning for what happens to the fictionalized Esther next. What I do know is that I will be seeking out more novels by Ms. Wolf.
A Reluctant Queen retails for $15.99 in paperback format or is available for the Kindle through Amazon.
Disclaimer ~ I was provided with a copy of A Reluctant Queen for the purpose of writing this review. No other compensation was given and the opinions expressed are my own. You can see what other LitFuse tour participants have to say about this title by visiting the blog tour post.