Hello! How are you doing this week? I know a lot of you are staying home – and hopefully staying healthy! I still have to work, my job is considered essential, but I’ve still managed to find some time to read. Helps keep me sane lol. I’m thrilled to share this biblical fiction novel with you, and highly recommend reading it. I will say – don’t read it as a bible study. Smith takes some liberties that I quite enjoyed, but others may not. That’s ok – that’s what makes us different! I just wanted to disclose that first 🙂
About the Book
In an effort to complete a war his father had planned to win, King Xerxes calls every governor, satrap, and official in his vast kingdom to his palace in Susa to strategize and feast. When they finally leave, he decides on one more week of frivolity, which ends in the banishment of his favorite wife, something he never intended to do. But when he discovers Esther, Xerxes is sure he has a second chance at happiness.
In her wildest dreams, Esther could never have imagined that she would end up as queen of Persia. Yet she knows better than to become complacent. Another of Xerxes’s wives is vying for position, and his closest advisor has a deep and dangerous grudge against Esther’s adoptive father. Caught in the middle of palace politics, Esther will find herself in an impossible position: risk her life or consign her people to annihilation.
With her impeccable research and her imaginative flair, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the romantic, suspenseful, and beloved story of Esther, queen of Persia.
Esther is one of my favorite heroine’s of the bible, and I couldn’t wait to read Smith’s rendition of her story. It’s always interesting to me to see what liberties biblical fiction authors take. I like to see if they match things I may have thought of, make me dig deeper into research, or just put a fun twist on a story that I am already familiar with. That’s what is fun about reading it – I know it isn’t scripture. I know not every single thing I read in it is truth – that’s where the word fiction comes in. But sometimes it makes me want to dive in – and that’s what Smith has done in Star of Persia.
The bible doesn’t tell us much about Vashti – so that is really the first thing that stuck out to me. I love that Smith included her POV for a little bit. It just gave more definition to the whole story in my eyes. The relationship between her and Xerxes was interesting to see. Honestly, I had a different opinion of Xerxes before reading this – I truly thought he was just looking at outer beauty. And to a point he was, but there was so much depth that Smith gave his character that it made me rethink some things, and want to read the book of Esther in my bible to see if I could see him in a new light so to speak. And I think I can. Again, not because a biblical fiction novel is going to be 100% accurate, but it make you ponder, and read the text of the bible which is 100% accurate, and maybe just give you a fresh perspective.
I thought it was interesting how Smith included another of Xerxes wives in the story. I hadn’t really given thought to them before, so having this addition was fun for me to read. Ya know, Esther’s story in the bible isn’t all that long. It reads pretty quick, and so to have it drawn out in this 350+ page book was a joy to read. Sometimes when I read the bible I forget how much time goes by during a story such as Esther’s. It wasn’t overnight, and Star of Persia was a good reminder of that as well.
The bottom line is that I enjoyed reading Star of Persia. Smith had my attention at the beginning, and kept it through the end. Biblical fiction fans will enjoy this story, as long as they are reading it for fun and enjoyment, not an in-depth study of Esther. I encourage you to do just that. Read this and then read the story of Esther in your bible. Maybe do a study to compare and contrast, and then when you’re done continue into more research. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author
Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, and The Loves of King Solomon series. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.
When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.
What do you like most about biblical fiction novels?