Novel Review: A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther by Joan Wolf

The Reluctant QueenI absolutely loved the story of Esther growing up. And when I saw A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf offered on NetGalley, I just had to take them up on their offer. I was ecstatic when NetGalley approved me for a copy, and started this goodie almost immediately. How about the blurb from Goodreads?

An inspired re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.

See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther’s beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith’s great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity.

Despite Esther being one of my favorite biblical stories, I wasn’t sure about this work when I first started. The writing focused on quite a few mundane descriptions written like a laundry list, and I feared the entire book would be muddled with them. As the story progressed, it was as if the author got so wrapped up in telling the story, she forgot to throw in the drab descriptions.

It was wonderful. πŸ™‚ I went from wanting to skim the passages to wanting to take in every word. Truly, The Reluctant Queen was an interesting take on the story of Esther. I never knew what to expect or how Esther would handle each situation.

The king. He was a very attractive character. Despite the many problems he faced, he never lost his cool, always waited until he had the relevant facts before making a decision. A wise king. πŸ™‚ You’d think he was King Solomon. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic toward his plight.

Speaking of sympathetic… one character I didn’t expect to feel any for was Haman. Ms. Wolf did a wonderful job giving him motive and making him human. He was actually a character I could root for and mentally say, “Don’t do it!” Despite knowing the biblical story, I hoped for the best for Haman. He was like the Sandman in Spiderman. “I’m not a bad person, I’ve just have bad luck.” Of course, Haman had a hand in his bad luck. Still… couldn’t help but feel bad for him.

Bottom line: Ms. Wolf mentioned taking liberties with the story and embellishing at times.Β  I think by doing so, she created a culturally rich piece with a realistic and fresh take. Over all, this was an enjoyable story of Esther.

A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther by Joan Wolf is Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Sunday Showcase #20

Cinderella’s Prince Charming is divorced and at a dead-end in his career, so he opens a bookstore and travels the land ordering books and discovering new authors. Still handsome and still charming, he has given up on women, royalty, and anything that smacks of a future.

Mellie is sick and tired of being called the Evil Stepmother. She did her best by her stepdaughter Snow White, but the girl resented her to no end and made all kinds of false accusations.

Neither of them believes in happily ever after anymore, but both of them believe in happily for the moment…

Why I Picked It Up: Mark Fassett and I were talking books for some reason or another… oh that’s right! because we’re authors and that’s what authors do way too much. He asked me if I’d picked up her latest book (which was free on Amazon). Nope… never heard of her. Come to find out, she’s the wife of Dean Wesley Smith. Okay. That’s a name I’ve heard before. So I headed to Amazon to pick up this title. Besides the nifty looking cover, the time travel situation really sounds awesome!

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high-schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts. Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: He is Weirlind; part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At the head of this magical society sit the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game. A magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death, The winning house ruling the Weir. As if his bizarre magical heritage isn’t enough, Jack finds out that he s not just another member of Weirlind, he’s one of the last of the warriors at a time when both houses are scouting for a player. Jack’s performance on the soccer field has alerted the entire magical community to the fact that he’s in Trinity. And until one of the houses is declared Jack’s official sponsor, they’ll stop at nothing to get Jack to fight for them.

Why I Picked It Up: I guess the author is coming out with a new book for this series. To celebrate, she offered the first at NetGalley. The plot sounded so cool, I totally had to take her up on her offer.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Every other day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She’s human.

And then every day in between . . .She’s something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she’ll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

Why I Picked It Up: Originally, I wasn’t going to bother with this book. It just seemed so iffy to my tastes. Then I saw a mini-trailer on Goodreads and said, why not? So here we have it. This NetGalley takeaway will go to the top of my list come the end of November.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Emma has put everyone else first in her life. Now at nearly 25, has she missed her chance at marriage?

Emma was Adam’s first love but circumstances made them both choose different paths in life. Emma’s heart breaks all over again when Adam returns to the Amish community of Middlefield, Ohio, years later.

For the past ten years, Emma has been raising her siblings after their parents’ untimely death. She’s put their needs above her own and now, with them grown, she can focus on herself and her dream of opening a yarn store in the vacant cider house on her land.

With Adam’s return come feelings Emma’s long buried. They’re older and life hasn’t turned out the way they thought it would. Adam’s feelings for Emma are stronger than ever, but will he be able to convince her to put others aside and give their love a chance?

Why I Picked It Up: So you know, I’ve been on an Amish romance kick. What can I say? I’m hooked. Interesting tidbit, the publishing company has put a limit on theΒ  number of NetGalley reads I can checkout at a time. πŸ™‚ Slow down, Reena. First read what you have, then you can ask for another. I just knocked out two of their books, so I might try for another even though I’m just starting Treasuring Emma tonight.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

An inspired re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.

See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther’s beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith’s great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity.

Why I Picked It Up: Esther in the bible has one of my favorite biblical stories. I just couldn’t resist checking this one out. This is also another offering by the publisher above. I just finished reading it today and will be posting my review for October 31, 2011. Let’s see if the publisher will allow me to checkout another work from NetGalley now that this one is ready for review.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

What goodies did you get in this week?