The Jewish holiday of Purim is the story of Queen Esther. Using her intelligence in a situation that might have brought most women to their knees in fear, Esther is able to rescue herself and her people from the hatred of her husband’s main confidant.
Published this year, Angela Hunt’s new novel, Esther: Royal Beauty (A Dangerous Beauty Novel), explores Esther’s story beyond the basic facts that the Bible tells us.
Hadassah is a Jewish orphan, raised by her cousins Mordechai and Miriam. At the age of 13, she lives a relatively care free life, but she knows that will soon change. Following tradition, she knows that she will soon marry Binyamin, the young man chosen for her by her guardians. Then Queen Vashti decides to go against King Xerxes (Ahasuerus in the Bible). For her insubordination, she is punished by being removed from the throne. Searching for a new Queen, Hadassah (renamed Esther to protect herself) is among the young women brought before the king. She is soon crowned Queen. But a man comes to power who threatens the lives of the Jews and Esther must save herself and her people from destruction.
The story alternatives between two narratives: Hadassah and Harbonah, a eunuch whose sole responsibility is the king’s personal welfare. Mingling the history of the period and the Biblical narrative, Ms. Hunt has written an engaging novel that will early on grip the reader and not let go until the final page.
I highly recommend this book.