About the Book
Author: Diana Wallis Taylor
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release date: July 2, 2019
One of the great heroines of the Old Testament, Hadassah was a beautiful, graceful young woman who put her faith in God and her guardian, her cousin Mordecai.
She dreams of marrying Shamir, a tall, handsome, studious young man who is the rabbi’s son. Her heart beats faster when she hears the sound of his deep voice as he reads the Torah. And she hopes that he will visit Mordecai soon to present a betrothal request.
Then, an upheaval in King Xerxes’s palace changes everything. Queen Vashti has been banished and an edict goes out for all qualified young virgins throughout the empire to be taken to the palace as he searches for a new queen.
Fear strikes in the hearts of many, including Mordecai, as he realizes Hadassah will be taken. To hide her identity as a Jew, he tells her to go by the name of Esther. Since he works as a record-keeper at the king’s gates, he can keep tabs on how she is doing.
Hadassah: Queen Esther of Persia imagines what life was like for the woman who saved her people—and perhaps found love in the process.
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In a time of rule and whimsy of a king and his advisors, where not even a queen was deemed safe, comes a young orphan Jewish girl who is destined to save her people. Hadassah is an historical retelling of the Biblical book of Esther. I have always enjoyed Esther’s story and of the unseen hand that guides kingdoms and rulers and king’s hearts. Of a more powerful ruler who can make an orphan the most beautiful of all women and change a king’s heart through her.
Author Taylor takes us on Esther’s journey from the time that she is an orphan and fills in some of the missing parts that are not included in her story. I enjoyed the historical context of this story: the wars between the Persians and the Greeks, those famous battles that changed history as well. I couldn’t help but remember another beautiful woman, Helen of Troy, and wondered if she was real or not and how her story was so much different than Esther’s. Like I said, I enjoyed the historical part and I have always had a soft spot for Greece so I am glad the author did her research and included these wars.
Why did King Xerxes make these ridiculous and arbitrary laws and or let his prime minister do this for him? I do not know but all the key characters are in play in this story and Esther does her best to listen and heed the advice of her cousin Mordecai and to love her husband the best that she can in a marriage that was so foreign to her upbringing and in a dangerous time. And the Bible account says the king loved her above all others, so I hope Esther really, truly had experienced love.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
About the Author
Diana Wallis Taylor was first published at the age of twelve, when she sold a poem to a church newsletter. After receiving her B.A. in Elementary Education at San Diego State University, she was an elementary school teacher for twenty-two years. Diana has also sold real estate, opened two coffeehouse/used book stores, and was a conference director for a private Christian college.
She has an extensive portfolio of published works, including a collection of poetry; an Easter cantata, written with a musical collaborator; contributions to various magazines and compilations; and several books, including Lydia, Woman of Philippi; Mary, Chosen of God; Ruth, Mother of Kings; and Halloween: Harmless Fun or Risky Business?
Learn more at www.dianawallistaylor.com.
Read an Excerpt
Besides the usual vendors, there were strange, sweaty men with beady eyes who were looking to get rich from the additional population.
In the wee hours of the morning, while Mordecai sat with his head in his hands, silently praying, Jerusha stopped breathing, slipping away so quietly that Hadassah thought she was still sleeping.
One day, to the people’s relief, the news was spread that the unwelcome banquet guests had been ordered back to their provinces—to prepare for war.
Instead of bowing, Hadassah smiled unabashedly and gazed directly at the king, who at that moment had turned his head.
“Do not give your name as Hadassah, but tell them it is Esther, which is a Persian name. I would have you hide your Jewish heritage for now.”
She felt their eyes silently appraising her; some with open interest, some with sympathy, and others with calculating shrewdness.
Esther asked each maid gentle, innocuous questions about her homeland, favorite foods, culture, and the like, listening attentively to their answers and making sure to speak to them by name both to let them know they were important to her and also to help her remember who was who.
“If you maidens help me to be my very best when I am called to the king’s chambers, if he honors me by selecting me as his queen, I will not forget you, who helped to put the crown on my head.”
Esther had seen some of the women pass her quarters so laden with jewelry they could hardly walk. She wanted to laugh out loud, but suppressed even a smile.
Recognition came. “Ah, the maiden in the crowd. I thought about you many times.” He moved closer. “I remember your hair, like a cloud around your face.”
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To celebrate her tour, Diana is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks card and a surprise book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.https://promosimple.com/ps/e5a0/hadassah-celebration-tour-giveaway