A Reluctant Queen
Reviewed by Cathy
Just the Facts: A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf Thomas Nelson 2011
Who Cares? Romance readers of all ages
Short Bio: Esther is coerced into submitting herself as a candidate to the new Persian King because her guardian uncle believes she can save the slave nation of Israel in Babylon. She is a Jewess but was admonished to tell no one. To her amazement, the King chooses her as queen. For the next year, Esther falls in love with the King and the two of them become physically and emotionally intimate.
While she is queen, Esther begins a social justice program, namely disbanding the harem which she is ever jealous of. She resents her uncle and God for placing her in a trapped environment in which she has a husband that she now loves and has lied to about her background. As their love grows, the king and Esther spend whole summer vacations together and he declares to her that her influence in his life is supreme and he will deny her nothing.
Haman, the Edomite, who has a lone prejudice against Jews in general and her uncle in specific, plans and implements (in the king’s absence)an edict to kill all the Jews. When Esther finds this out, she determines that the only way to save her people and her uncle is to risk her life by entering a male only ceremony, in which the king must raise his sceptre to grant her her life. The entire palace staff come to her support and assure her that the whole country supports the Jewish community and she heads off to the ceremony assured that her influence with the king is strong enough to conquer all. After the king grant Esther her life back, she confronts Haman in the presence of the King, acknowledging that she is a Jew and her people are in danger. The king, disturbed that his reputation will be ruined if the country believes he is prejudice against the jews, rescinds Haman’s edict and hangs him. He sends messengers to every part of the land to ignore the edict and the country, who all respect the jews, obey. Esther and the King live happily ever after
Historical Fiction can be a tricky genre. The authors that do it the best, keep the skeleton of the events true and embellish the characters and the relationships. Wolf wove a wonderful story, the characters were engaging and the plot moved at a lively pace. But it was no more the story of Esther than Abraham Lincoln as short, fat and bald, or a Joan of Arc so fashion conscious she spent her days as a courtier. She missed the entire love story as it truly was. It went more like this…
The almighty God-bridegroom picked a bride/queen – Israel. His bride was kidnapped by Babylon and sentenced to a life of slavery far from her home. When rumblings through the kidnap country threatened His bride, the bridegroom stepped into action to save her. He picked a woman to be the symbol of his nation-bride and placed her in the kidnappers harem. She was incognito and managed to stay out of the radar until it came to her attention that she had to appeal to the enslaver to acquire the freedom of her people.
She had no friends in the harem and every reason to believe that her enslaver would kill her for initiating contact, which was strictly forbidden. She had no support save her bridegroom God and prayed unceasingly (as did the entire Jewish nation) for his power to go with her. She approached the throne room knowing that she didn’t want to live if her people were all dead and wanted to die with them. But the bridegroom God, worked a miraculous act and the enslaver remembered putting her in the harem while in a drunken stupor. Esther has no basis with him to ask for a favor so she spends the next week, trying to establish a relationship of some sort by inviting him and Hamaan to dinner on three different occasions. On the last night, empowered only by the bridegroom God, she implores him to have mercy on her and her people. But alas, it is too late, a king’s edict once sealed is irrevocable. But the enslaver, is touched by the power of the bridegroom God’s symbol of his love and permits the Jews to defend themselves. A battle of Lord of the Rings proportions ensues and the Bridegroom God again supernaturally rigs the battle and his bride not only is free of the enemies wishing to annihilate her, but it is the beginning of returning home to be reunited with her true love. WOW! Her story pales in comparison.
Notable Quotes: “Esther feared that God would take her husband as punishment for her obedience.”
Other Books Read by This Author: None
★☆☆☆☆ Plot Development
★★★☆☆ Writing Style
★★☆☆☆ Original Idea
★★★☆☆ Page Turner