Today’s book review falls in the genre of Biblical fiction. While such a category seems almost ludicrous to Bible-believing Christians, Biblical fiction offers a bit more personalization to some of the beloved stories of Scripture.
The book is A Reluctant Queen:The Love Story of Esther by Joan Wolf. The story itself bears little need for introduction or even summarization. Anyone familiar with the Biblical story of Esther finds no real surprises in such a novel. In writing A Reluctant Queen, Wolf sought to explore some of her own wonderments about the motivations behind the main characters of Esther. What might have led Esther and Mordecai to be involved in such pagan affairs as a beauty pageant search for a queen? Why would Haman have such bitterness toward the Jews? And how could Ahasuerus been so easily convinced to agree to the extermination of the Jews and then so quickly brought to anger because of the same plan?
Wolf’s wonderings have led to an absolutely beautiful love story between an ordinary Jewish girl and the king of one of the most powerful empires of his time. In an effort to avoid simply retelling of the book of Esther, A Reluctant Queen actually focuses more on the gaps in the Biblical narrative. This keeps the story moving and creates a backdrop for building the relationship between Esther and Ahasuerus.
I would make one primary observation. The author takes a great deal of liberty in the writing of A Reluctant Queen, both historically and Biblically. In fact, there are times when the novel directly contradicts the Biblical narrative.This is not stated to condemn or commend the book, but it is something that I would clearly state before loaning the novel to anyone.
Having said that, however, I found A Reluctant Queen to be a beautiful novel when read as a fictional take on the historical story. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I’ve already begun to recommend it.
This book was sent to me by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.