Cover Image: Esther

Esther

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Member Reviews

I love the story of Esther. So it was no surprise that I wanted to read this book.
However; I found that I quite couldn't get into it. It just wasn't for me.
I will highly recommend it because I love fictionalized biblical stories. I love biblical fiction but for some reason I don't know.
I even tried reading this several times but I finally gave up the ghost so to speak.
My thanks to Netgalley. NO compensations were received. All opinions are my own
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I also read Rebecca Kanner’s novel Esther, which IS a retelling of the Biblical story. There’s more of a focus on harem intrigue, which never made it to my Sunday-school classes, but naturally a king like Xerxes would have a whole harem, and naturally Esther’s not the only pretty girl who wants to become queen. Others in the palace have their own agendas, which may or may not align with Esther’s goals. There’s also an explanation of just how the king’s last wife got killed, apparently the king wanted her to show up naked at a party of his friends, so you don’t doubt for a minute that Esther could be killed next. And to make the palace intrigue even more tense, Esther has a lot of Meaningful Eye Contact with one of the handsome harem guards.

I love that this ancient story has inspired two new, and very different novels!
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A girl, the queen. 

This is the fictionalized life of Esther (from the Old Testament), a Jewish girl who has risen into the highest position a woman is able to - the queen of Persia. And her actions will save the Jews from the genocide.

I have mixed feelings with the book - not because it is not good! Oh, it is very good. But because every coin has both sides, as they say, and this book has also some things I find wanting. But I am saying this with respect and admiration, as I see the high quality here.
The historical research is top-notch, which is not a small accomplishment when writing about the culture, which is not yours. And the authoress' writing skills are extraordinary - she knows exactly where she is going and she can fully bring you there - you can taste, see and feel what the characters are tasting, seeing and feeling. 
I like the fierceness and the intelligence of the authoress. Her Esther is not a sweet, simple girl, but a smart, even a bit cunning girl who has to play with the cards she has been given - amongst the deadly enemies. Esther must be brave and fight for what she desires and/or think is worthy - and the results are often unsure. Her fierceness is impressive.
I also like that Esther is very female, this book is very feminine and the body aspect is very present. I am female, too, and I can relate. This is one of the bonuses of the book, the honesty about femininity (including the threats against the body and crimes of women against women). But it is also troubling, when it comes to sexuality. For Christian fiction the book is sensuous and edgy - but all is done tastefully, so do not fear, but also be ready for the edginess. 
What I am missing is the strong moral conflict. The book concentrates on Esther' s everyday life, her fights, friends, enemies and love - but she is known for the  brave decisions on the key moments. I would love to read about that moments much, much more. 
I am not one wanting God and faith to be uber present in every literature (I don't believe that the literature should become the sermon), but I am lacking the presence of God here. Esther' s decisions seem to be led by kindness and duty, which is admirable, but she was the Jewess, first and foremost. I can live with her fighting with God, but maybe she could experience His peace and joy, too? 
And I don't like her non-physical cheating. Sure, whe has wed to a king because this was the best possibility (the other was a harem girl) and she feels some tenderness and kindness towards him, too - but making her marriage being a bit good means making her longing for a soldier the cheating. This is never addressed (other than that being a threat to their safety). 

Having said all that, I like the intelligence and the bravery of the authoress. Even with the comments above I see the quality and the thinking here. 
So I recommend the book - it will certainly make for a good discussion! And I love good discussions.
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Enjoyable and insightful fictionalisation of a biblical story. Would recommend to those friends who would find this type of novel interesting
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