The Book of Esther is probably one of my favourite stories in the Bible, so you can be sure that this is not the first time I’ve read a retelling of this story. Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt is the first book in A Dangerous Beauty Series and I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for when the next book in the series comes out (I believe the next one will be about Bathsheba).
Hunt is able to tell the story of Esther beautifully without deviating from the Biblical account (you have no idea how much I appreciate when an author does that), but the details she does add in are believable and help round out the story and the characters.
The book is told through alternating POVs of Esther and Harbonah (I seem to be reading a lot of books with alternating POVs these days). It is interesting that Hunt chose to tell the story from one of head eunuchs perspective, Harbonah. In doing this we are able to get a glimpse of the king’s moods and character as well as gain a “downstairs” viewpoint. It was a great way to establish the background of the story through Harbonah.
I think the aspect I liked the most about this novel was that as I reader I was able to experience Esther’s growth from childhood to womanhood, from naivety to wisdom, from being superficial to being selfless. Also, in this novel you are left with the sense that while Esther managed to become queen of a vast empire, her life seemed so lonely. Yet, in the end she was able to find her identity and in doing so saved the Jewish people.
I recommend reading it.