Saturday, January 24, 2015

Book Review: Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt

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Title: Esther: Royal Beauty

Author: Angela Hunt

Series: A Dangerous Beauty #1

Genre: Historical/Biblical Retelling

Audience: Adult

**4 stars**

Esther: Royal Beauty was, I think, a very well-done novel based on the life of Hadassah/Esther from the book of Esther from The Bible. Usually I don't really prefer books based on people from The Bible, because of the authors' tendency to run away with things a bit. But I felt that Angela Hunt did a good job staying accurate. In fact, after reading this book, I went to read the original account, and found that Angela Hunt had incorporated nearly everything! She says in a note at the end of the book that she also used scenarios from other historical accounts on King Xerxes, so almost all the things that happened in Esther: Royal Beauty are historically-accurate!

I have to say ... I was shocked at some of the scenarios. Such violence! *Shudders*! I was getting kind of annoyed and wondering if that really happened, or if it was just the author's attempt the embellish the Biblical story. But then I read the end notes, and Angela Hunt explained those happenings were from some other historical accounts. So I was really impressed how closely she followed the true storyline.

It took me a little while to get into the story. It was more told by "Hadassah" and "Harbonah" than actually lived out through characters' dialogue, actions, and such. There was some of that. But basically a lot of narrating/relating a story kind of style. So that's not my preferred writing style to read, but it really worked with Esther: Royal Beauty. Helped keep it more accurate I think. Once I got farther into the book, I became more captivated by it, and it urged me to read the actual book of Esther! ^_^

Once again, I appreciated the realness of it, the attempt to follow accurately. Some retellings of Esther are all romantic and lovely, telling this wild story of the king and Esther's wondrous love story. Well ... he was a pagan king, ruthless conqueror, with hundreds of concubines. Not to mention, he'd just put aside his first queen and was holding this elaborate "beauty contest" of sorts to find another woman that would please him. I'm not sure how beautiful their love story could have been; unless he turned to God. So anyway, I think Angela Hunt did a really good job portraying their relationship how it probably truly could have been.

Vivid descriptions. Human nature displayed. Then God's Hand in the midst of frightening, uncertain times. I have a few complaints here and there, but overall it was a really in-depth, and poignant retelling of Esther.

I received a free copy of Esther: Royal Beauty from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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