About the Book
Author: Diana Wallis Taylor
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release date: July 2, 2019
One of the great heroines of the Old Testament, Hadassah was a beautiful, graceful young woman who put her faith in God and her guardian, her cousin Mordecai.
She dreams of marrying Shamir, a tall, handsome, studious young man who is the rabbi’s son. Her heart beats faster when she hears the sound of his deep voice as he reads the Torah. And she hopes that he will visit Mordecai soon to present a betrothal request.
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About the Author
Diana Wallis Taylor was first published at the age of twelve, when she sold a poem to a church newsletter. After receiving her B.A. in Elementary Education at San Diego State University, she was an elementary school teacher for twenty-two years. Diana has also sold real estate, opened two coffeehouse/used book stores, and was a conference director for a private Christian college.
Read an Excerpt
Besides the usual vendors, there were strange, sweaty men with beady eyes who were looking to get rich from the additional population.
“She must trust Adonai for strength to face her future.”
Although God is not directly mentioned by name in the Biblical book of Esther, His presence and the manifestation of His power are clearly demonstrated. With any work of Biblical fiction, some liberties are taken in order to offer more details and flesh out characters and their backstories. When done well, Biblical fiction points readers to the original story, encouraging careful study of the people and cultures therein. Diana Wallis Taylor’s “Hadassah, Queen Esther of Persia” does just that. Drawing upon the details in Scripture and various historical accounts, Taylor pieces together a stirring account of the unassuming Jewish girl, Hadassah, who would become queen.
Hadassah’s story begins at age eight with the death of her mother, leaving her an orphan. Her older cousin Mordecai and his wife, Jerusha, adopt her and treat her as the daughter they never had. Years later, Hadassah finds herself in King Xerxes’ palace under an edict commanding that all virgins in Persia be taken there to be considered as a potential queen or otherwise consigned to a lifetime in the harem. Hadassah follows Mordecai’s advice to take the name Esther and conceal her Jewish heritage, and Adonai’s plans for her play out as she becomes Queen of Persia.
Seeing Esther’s story come to life in the pages of this novel gives the reader an idea of Persian life from the perspective of both the subordinate Jewish population and the royal family. The uncertain existence and safety of the Jewish people emphasizes Esther’s position both before and especially after becoming queen. In this story, Esther and King Xerxes’ marriage is one of love, adding in some gentle romance and lightheartedness. Intrigue is incredibly rife within the palace, demonstrating the continuing precariousness of Esther’s life despite her position of power. Throughout her life, Esther relies on Adonai’s guidance and provision for her and maintains a wise and compassionate demeanor despite being married to a pagan king and thrust into a world she knows little about.
All of the characters have depth, both the benevolent and the wicked. Esther and later Mordecai seem to have a stabilizing influence on the often capricious King Xerxex. Atossa, the queen mother, is one of my favorite characters. Haman is the character whom everyone loves to hate, but he is not the only villain lurking in the wings. Also, I enjoyed some of the little details that the author included to make the narrative more well-rounded, such as the scene with Esther and the children. My criticisms are trivial; there were editorial errors throughout the book, although I did receive a copy prior to the release date and though it was not marked as an advanced reader’s copy, it may have been, so I am not deducting stars for that. Also, there seemed to me to be a discontinuity in the passage of time. There were time lapses throughout and it seemed as though more time had passed than actually had, particularly once Esther entered the palace. However, this could just be my reading of the story.
“Hadassah” is an inspirational story of what the Biblical Esther’s life may have been like. Trusting in God and following His guidance is paramount, just as it is today. For anyone interested in Biblical fiction, the story of Esther, Christian historical fiction, or women’s historical fiction, this book is a must-read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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