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Esther by Rebecca Kanner: A Book Review

Esther
Author: Rebecca Kanner
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian, Biblical Fiction
Publisher: Howard Books
Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: From the award-winning author of Sinners and the Sea comes a breathtaking new look into the timeless tale of Queen Esther.

     A glittering Persian king has a vast empire that reaches farther than where the sun meets the horizon. He is bathed in riches and commands a frightening military force. He possesses power beyond any other mortal man and rules his kingdom as a god. Anything he desires, he has. Any woman he wants, he possesses. Thousands of them. Young virgins from all across his many lands.

     A Jewish girl is ripped from her hut by the king’s brutish warriors and forced to march across blistering, scorched earth to the capitol city. Trapped for months in the splendid cage of the king’s palace, she must avoid the ire of the king’s concubines and eunuchs all while preparing for her one night with the king. Soon the fated night arrives, and she does everything in her power to captivate the king and become his queen.

     But wearing the crown brings with it a new set of dangers. When a ruthless man plies the king’s ear with whispers of genocide, it is up to the young queen to prevent the extermination of the Jews. She must find the strength within to violate the king’s law, risk her life, and save her people.

     This is a story of finding hidden depths of courage within one’s self. Of risking it all to stand up for what is right.

     This is the story of Queen Esther.

     My Review: Queen Esther has always been one of my favorite heroes in the old testament. I love how a girl from humble beginnings rise up to be the most powerful woman in the Babylonian empire in order to save her people from genocide. Rebecca Kanner’s Esther is a gritty, darker, and more realistic retelling of this biblical queen. Esther must maneuver through the dangers of the court intrigue in the palace in order to save her people.

     Esther is a very complex heroine. Unlike the biblical version of Esther, she is not wholly good and innocent. She knows of the danger of the court and trusts very few people. She can be merciless and ruthless if it is required. However, she is very wise. She knows what it takes to get what she wants, which is to be queen. She is also strong, bold, and independent.  While Esther has some flaws, she is still a worthy heroine to save her people.

     Overall, this story is about love, friendship, and courage. This is a story of a girl who is willing to sacrifice herself to save her people to do God’s will. There are some slow parts in this story. There are very few appearances of Mordecai and Haman in this novel. Also, Esther is the only character I thought that was well-developed. All the others are one-dimensional. However, this novel was very well-written with vivid historical details. This novel is full of drama, danger, and court intrigue that will keep the reader interested. While this book is not my favorite of the Esther re-tellings (my favorite being Hadassah: One Night With The King by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen), I found this Esther to be the most realistic, interesting, and complex. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Christian biblical fiction, historical fiction, and those who love reading about strong female protagonists.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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