A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther

Joan Wolf, Author
Joan Wolf. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-59554-876-4
Book - 978-1-60814-870-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-60981-288-1
Hardcover - 445 pages - 978-1-4104-4202-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-59859-954-1
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-59554-983-9
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Historical fiction writer Wolf (The Road to Avalon) has turned the biblical Book of Esther, read in synagogues on the merrymaking festival of Purim, into a novel. She maintains most of the story's primary elements but rearranges them, invents a bit, and changes several attributes of the characters. The hero, Mordecai, appears as Esther's uncle rather than her cousin, as he was in the original biblical tale. More importantly, she reimagines King Ahasuerus, who was originally based on the historical Xerxes, son of Darius and grandson of Cyrus the Great, and makes him the fictional praiseworthy character. The real Xerxes was actually arbitrary and brutal. In Wolf's novel, he plays a minor role as Ahasuerus's brother. Some things don't change. The villain, Haman, who is booed and jeered when his name is mentioned in synagogue readings, is just as nasty a person in the novel as he is in the biblical story. In both, he receives his just desserts. Wolf has succeeded in tidying up the biblical account, reconstructing its people and events while preserving its essential elements and producing an attractive love story. Readers can decide for themselves which version they prefer. (June)
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