King Xerxes is having a party and requests the queen's presence. Since she is throwing her own party at her behest, she chooses to deny the king's request. That was a bold move, but it was also an idiotic one. King Xerxes had control and if he chose to have someone put to death, they were put to death immediately. Luckily for her he chose to write an edict stating that she was no longer queen and could never come into the king's presence again.
Normally that would sound like a horrible fate, but King Xerxes had harems of women and losing one was not such a big deal. He could find another woman easily willing and ready to take her place and because Queen Vashti had three princes from the king, she would never lose her power over him. The king's eunich and friend Harbonah realizes the edict would not only punish the queen but it would also punish the king as he was quite fond of her. She was beautiful (on the outside at least). The king decides this is a good idea and the proclamation that the king is looking for a new queen goes out to all the land.
Young girls from all over the land are brought to the palace some willingly many forcibly. They are taught how to be women emotionally and physically. They are taught how to bathe themselves, how to dress, how to do their hair, and how to be seductive for the king. After one year they will have an opportunity to possibly be chosen to spend a night with the king.
Esther was primped and taught the ways of a lady just as everyone else. For some reason she got the king's attention and he chose her as the new queen. The night they met was seductive, the setting romantic, and the scene in the bedroom of the king. However, unlike other romance books, this story was not overly sexual. I like that author Angela Hunt allows the scene to be steamy but not smutty. That is a sign of a great writer.
Queen Esther was the center of King's Xerxes world for quite some time. He called her in more often than any other concubine to spend the evening with him and he allowed her to stay until he woke the next morning-something he never allowed before. The story is intermingled with Hadassah and Harbonah's personal account of events. Although there are two narrators, the story is easy to follow as the narrator speaking at the time is at the top of each chapter.
The Old Testament biblical account of the story of Esther focuses on Esther's rule and Haman's desire to rid the world of Jews especially Mordecai- Esther's cousin. However, he didn't know of Esther's relationship to Mordecai and by signing the fate of all Jews' deaths, he also signed Queen Esther's death warrant. Upon hearing this and being told by messenger that Mordecai wanted her to go to the king at the risk of her instant death (no one could approach the king without being summoned. They would risk sudden death if the king didn't accept them), she decided to fast and pray for three days. After the three days she would go to her king. It was then that the king accepted her (phew) and offered her up to half of his kingom. Instead she asked for a supper with the king and his friend. It was here that the story takes a turn for King Xerxes's friend.
The entire story in the bible is 10 chapters. Obviously Angela Hunt added to the story. Esther: Royal Beauty is after all over 300 pages! Esther: Royal Beauty doesn't even introduce Queen Vashti's disobedience until a third of the way through the book. Esther is promised to marry Benyamin and is on her way to their future when she is captured by slave traders on the road to Jerusalem. (The author explains in the back that this part of the storyline is added for affect). Her aunt who guides her in the ways of becoming a wife passes away leaving Mordecai alone when Esther is taken away. He doesn't even know she is at the castle until a messenger tells him much later. (Mordecai's wife is also part of the ficticious story of Esther: Royal Beauty).
The intricate details displayed throughout the book are well thought out and it is obvious that Angela Hunt did a lot of research on Ancient Egypt and its people and customs. She turns the story into an epic true love story with new love, scorned love, and renewed love. Good wins over evil, although both sides are hurt.
I just loved Esther: Royal Beauty. I had a hard time putting the book down. I read it in less than six hours and couldn't wait until I could write about it and share my review with you. Angela Hunt thoroughly researched Esther and King Xerxe's relationship. Not only did she include the biblical account, she read historians' accounts of their dynasty. The book has ten thought provoking questions included for book clubs and classroom studies. She explains in the endnotes what is based on fact and what was a work of fiction. However, very little of Esther: Royal Beauty is fiction. I know you will enjoy this historical fiction and I would love to hear what you have to say about it. Purchase Esther through the link at the bottom of this post. It allows us to continue our work on Heart of a Philanthropist. Thanks for reading the review and God Bless. Now for the giveaway!
Read the Old Testament account of the story of Esther absolutely free HERE.