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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We’ve likely all been there at some point. You know what you want for your life, but then it all gets blown to smithereens as God’s plan comes into effect. I feel that’s how Hadassah’s story went. She had dreams of marrying a nice young man, raising a family, and living out her years near Mordecai.
Instead, she becomes Queen, has no children but becomes responsible for saving the Jewish nation. God’s plans are always better than our dreams.
Biblical retellings are always complicated to review, at least for me. I give the author credit for sticking to the Bible’s version of events. I also applaud her use of creativity in filling in the gaps of Hadassah’s early years and her years after saving the Jews. Dianna Wallis Taylor built a lifetime of events for Hadassah, ensuring the reader would not be left with a half-complete story.
That being said, I do wish there was more depth to the characters. I felt feelings were glossed over, or ignored, for the sake of moving forward on the timeline. While I enjoyed the rich details of the surroundings, foods, and journeys, I wish as much detail had gone into showing the motivations and thought processes of Hadassah. God gave Hadassah a mission, but we never see her struggle with the decision. She knows she’s risking her life, she should be terrified. I do have to take notice of her graceful acceptance though. Just because my inner monologue would be frantic doesn’t mean Hadassah felt the same.
I took away a moment of clarity from Hadassah. We are created for a purpose. There is no ‘set it and forget it’ when it comes to God’s plans for our lives. Yes, we have a choice, and Hadassah’s story might seem like she got the raw end of the deal. But give yourself a minute to think about it. She became queen and saved an entire nation of people. Every moment in her life led her to that point.
Diana Wallis Taylor created a beautifully scripted plot of intrigue around a beloved Bible character and offered a story that had me grabbing my Bible in a desire to learn more.
I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys Biblical retellings. The writing voice is crisp, strong, and rich with detail. You’ll get lost in the surroundings as you fall in love with her characters.
I requested a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I was not required to leave a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed 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.