Reviewed by Claudia Robinson
“Telling him would force her to make a final choice: she could be a Jew and tell him who she really was and why she had been sent to him; or she could be a Persian and continue to lie to him for the rest of her life.” Esther, A Reluctant Queen
Esther’s Uncle Mordecai has had a dream. A dream in which God’s vision for his people has become clear and personal, a dream that requires him delivering his beloved, beautiful niece, Esther, in to the hands of a Persian King. By placing Esther into King Ahasuerus’ court, Mordecai hopes to gain the King’s ear, turning it away from Haman, the Edomite, who currently holds the coveted position of King’s confidant. Mordecai is confident that with Esther’s gentle guidance, God’s plan will be enacted by Ahasuerus, resulting in peace between all religions, instead of the War Haman seems eager to persuade the young King to wage.
Esther is forced to lie about her Jewish heritage and put aside her rituals in order to marry the King, relying on her Father’s Babylon blood to persuade the Court of her merit. Reluctant, afraid and confused, Esther is thrown in to a life she knows or understands nothing about. With the help of her faithful serving girl, Luara and the eunuch Hathach, Esther quickly learns the ropes and gains the favor of the Court with her charm, wisdom and empathic handling of royal affairs, including the favor of the handsome King. When Esther finds herself falling in love with the charismatic Ahasuerus, loyalties and duties become torn, lines of loyalty blurred. Love of family and God are tested, daily, and Esther is forced to choose between fulfilling the role God has asked of her, or the man whose love she can’t live without.
A Reluctant Queen is a revamped version of a biblical tale. A love story, rife with betrayal, sacrifice, devotion and consequence of actions, A Reluctant Queen offers a sweet tapestry of two young lives, woven together by destiny and duty. It is an easy read, detailed and lush with emotion.
Unfortunately, Wolf elaborates too much on character appearances, which can lend a juvenile slant to the tale just when the reader is sinking their teeth in to the tale. I felt let down that Wolf felt such an elaborately threaded story, obviously well researched, and well written, needed to be gilded in soap opera fashion. In some parts it was fatalistic, as in the Bible meets People magazine. Sometimes, especially in this case, less is more. Other than that, A Reluctant Queen was a sweet, beautiful, entertaining spin of an ancient love story that anyone who reads it, will surely enjoy.
Claudia lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband and two children.
The review copy of this book was provided free of any obligation by Thomas Nelson. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.