Welcome to the Celebrate Lit Tour for Hadassah! Based on one of my favorite Bible Characters, the cover to this book is what first drew me in! Be sure to check out the excerpts from the book, and enter the giveaway! Coffee anyone?
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.
Click here to grab your copy!
I was so excited to read this book, as Esther is one of my very favorite bible stories, probably second only to Ruth and Naomi. Her story is so inspiring, and since I’ve just started my journey with biblical fiction, I haven’t read any stories on her yet. Plus, I found the cover to be really intriguing! Those eyes…..eyes can say so much about a person and whomever designed this cover did so wonderfully.
I’m not really sure what I expected going into this story. In some ways, I found myself even more intrigued with her story. But in other ways, I found myself longing for a little more. Let me try to explain.
Diana Wallis Taylor did a wonderful job of weaving facts into the story. The way she writes about Hadassah’s childhood was intriguing to me, and made me want to go search out more about her. And I think to some extent, that is what biblical fiction is meant for. Getting the reader to think more about the time period, more about what the bible character would have gone through, and perhaps take them on a fact seeking journey to find out more. There were several times when I was reading that I found myself wanting to do just that.
That being said, I don’t feel like I was ever able to connect with Hadassah. Wallis Taylor didn’t really dive into her head, her emotions, or her character growth. Please know this is just personal preference. I really wanted to get inside of her mind, to learn more about the girl herself, and not just the overall story. Some people may not be looking for that, so this could very well be the story for you. Even so, I would go back and read this again, with my bible in hand as well as some bible reference books. Like I said, it really made me want to dive into a deeper study of her story, which is why I read biblical fiction in the first place.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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.
Excerpts from the book:
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.”
Back Porch Reads, July 4
Retrospective Spines, July 4
Hallie Reads, July 4
My Devotional Thoughts, July 5
Through the Lens of Scripture, July 5
For The Love of Books, July 5
Fiction Aficionado, July 6
The Becca Files, July 6
For Him and My Family, July 6
EmpowerMoms, July 7
Madeline Hope, July 7
Locks, Hooks and Books, July 7
A Baker’s Perspective, July 8
Godly Book Reviews, July 8
Moments, July 8
Emily Yager, July 9
Aryn the Libraryan, July 10
Purposeful Learning, July 10
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 10
Through the Fire Blogs, July 10
Lights in a Dark World, July 11
Mary Hake, July 11
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 11
Splashes of Joy, July 12
Simple Harvest Reads, July 12 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 12
Bigreadersite, July 13
Pause for Tales, July 13
Texas Book-aholic, July 13
Creating Romance, July 14
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 14
janicesbookreviews, July 14
Older & Smarter?, July 15
She Lives To Read, July 15
A Reader’s Brain, July 15
For the Love of Literature, July 16
Just the Write Escape, July 16
Inklings and notions, July 16
Henry Happens, July 17
Hebrews 12 Endurance, July 17
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 17
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 17
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.