Esther Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt
Published: Janurary 6th, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biblical Fiction
An ambitious tyrant threatens genocide against the Jews in ancient Persia, so an inexperienced beautiful young queen must take a stand for her people. 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. Esther marks bestselling author Angela Hunt’s return to biblical fiction. In each novel she explores an example of a Hebrew Old Testament tob woman: a woman whose physical beauty influences those around her–and can change the course of history.
The story of Esther is one of my favorites in the Bible and One Night with the King is one of my favorite movies ever. It’s a story of love, compassion, courage, and faith in the almighty God. So, naturally, I was ecstatic to see that many people wrote stories on the book of Esther. Although I liked the movie depiction of King Xerxes far more than this one I can’t help but love the historical & biblical accuracy of nearly all the event in the book. The author herself stated the amount of research she did and all the historical documents & records she followed. I am a big fan of historical fiction so I knew I would enjoy this story in that aspect.
“The man who takes her for a wife will be blessed by the gods and you may tell him I said so.”
For those who have read this or will read this, you will notice the irony in this statement said by Queen Vashti lol. It was a bit of a dragging tale because of the way the author wrote it but, it was enjoyable and it really made me question the time period. I thought long and hard about how kings acted, how queens had to act, and the roles of everyone in the kingdom. The life didn’t seem all that fancy despite the lavish lifestyle they had. The story has much betrayal, murder, vanity, and much more.
And while an honest man did not grow wealthy working for the king, Mordecai said that one could always accumulate the wealth of a good reputation. “And that Hadassah.” he’d say, patting my cheek, “is worth more than all the riches in the king’s treasury.”
1) It was a story of my favorite book in the bible
As I stated, Esther is my favorite book in the bible so I really enjoyed how this was a really good depiction of the story. It had a lot of accuracy to the bible and records of King Xerxes and the other historical figures mentioned.
2) The Dual POV
I liked seeing from Harbonah’s POV as well as Esther’s because we got to see what was going on in the palace and with the king. One thing I love is a male’s POV so that was exciting for me.
3) Historical & Biblical Fiction
I love history and fiction so I really enjoyed seeing my faith and love of books come together. I really enjoyed seeing more of Esther’s life before going to the palace although I think it took too many chapters (a little more than 100 pages.)
4) Harbonah & Hegai’s Characters
They treated Esther with such respect and love it made me feel so happy that men from this era treated her well. I also liked that Hegai had a stutter but was an important man in the palace. They were both funny and kind spirited men who believed in her and knew her worth would be of value to the king. They also had a great inkling that she would be queen.
5) Esther’s Growth
She started out as a vain child obsessed with bring in the palace and the lifestyle but, she grew to be a mature godly woman who dealt with a lot being the queen and ultimately saved her people. She matured into a respected, wise, and honorable queen. I also did like that although I didn’t care for Xerxes he definitely had some love for her because he let her come before him unsummoned and other stuff.
1) The Pace of the Story
It was very slowly told and I felt a lot of the beginning could’ve been a lot let monotonous to read. There was SO much description that it got boring at times when what was happening wasn’t all that exciting. The setup of Haman wasn’t really done that well. He came in the last hundred pages almost as if the author forgot he was the main point in the biblical story of Esther.
2) Vashti and the Power She Still Held
I didn’t like her character at all. She was more of the antagonist then Hamon and the story of Esther was centered on her saving her people from annihilation. She was cast off and never mentioned again so I don’t know why she was so significant in this story. Esther was QUEEN which means she needed to come with respect to Esther yet she was horrible and nothing was done to her for it which made no sense. I think her plot point was unnecessary and irritating.
3) King Xerxes
He was one of my favorite characters in One Night with the King but this book really made me dislike him. He was arrogant, rude, troublesome, horrid, and after such a short time was a terrible husband. I would not want to be the queen to this man or any king for that matter. There are too many examples to explain but a few are sleeping with his daughter in law, never calling on Esther when she lost THEIR child only calling on his concubines (DISGUSTING), the fact that any queen has to share him with concubines (PLEASE), never answering for his actions, never saying how he felt but supposedly wanting someone to care for his heart (LAUGH OUT FREAKING LOUD), and never seeming to do a damn thing about Vashti and her rude behavior towards the queen. If you ask me he deserved his fate and never deserved a rose like Esther or her love.
4) Barley Any Dialogue
This was told like a story with no dialogue. It was like a silent film. I saw how people acted, what they did, how they did it, and I was told but, I was never shown why they did it or how they felt about situations. My biggest disappointment was never seeing much between the queen and the king. This is labeled as a romance lol but I didn’t see much besides maybe 10 pages or less at most of SOME romantic moments. I wanted to see them speak and goodness just learn anything more about THEM as a couple but, no we got more Vashti’s annoying self then we did them.
I have another book about Esther on my TBR and I am hoping it delves more into the queen and kind and the real issue with Hamon and fewer palace politics and Vashti. If you love Biblical fiction I would recommend this book in your collection. I also still can’t wait to read the other two books in this series. Have you read this or any other biblical story? What did you think?