I admit that I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to fictionalizing biblical truth. It is difficult for me to accept a story that is not the original. This novel changed my attitude. I love the biblical Esther but thoroughly enjoyed Joan Wolf‘s exploration.
Her novel had my attention from the beginning. After reminding myself, for the first few pages, that this is a fictional account, written for enjoyment not Bible study, I was enthralled and did not mind the literary license. This is one of those books that I couldn’t put down - surprising, since I‘m a mystery not romance lover. I read it through, page by page, forsaking all other reading material until it was finished.
Joan Wolf provides a heroine who is courageous, beautiful, intelligent and humble as well as lovable - someone most women would like to know if not be. Ms Wolf’s hero - who is not Xerxes as in the biblical account - is handsome, brave, sensitive, and romantic. He is the man of our dreams - easy to fall in love with. All of the characters were well done and well rounded. Even the evil Haman was portrayed well enough that I almost (almost) felt sorry for him. The action in the book moves along smoothly. It is intricate in detail but not overly complicated. I was never tempted to skip over wordy parts.
The main truth of the biblical book of Esther is not lost in “A Reluctant Queen.” God has a plan for each of us. We have a choice as to whether we are willing to follow His will and be part of His plan for the world or to turn away.
“A Reluctant Queen” is Christian fiction. It is romantic without being embarrassing - safe for most readers. Do not read this book looking for biblical or historical accuracy. Read the Bible and a good commentary for that. Read this novel for pure enjoyment.
The publisher provided me with a free copy of "A Reluctant Queen" for a fair review.
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