Here's another review from my backlog of reviews.
ESTHER THE QUEEN by H. B. Moore, published by Covenant Communications, 217 pages, soft cover, $15.99, also available on CD and for e-readers.
Confession time! I've always cringed a bit when it comes to fictionalized accounts of scriptural stories. Most feel a little on the sacrilegious side to me and I have a strong preference for sticking to the scriptural account without the make believe drama and supposed inner thoughts and feelings of a biblical or Book of Mormon character added. I make an exception for H.B. Moore. Moore writes a great fictional romance, but it is her attention to historical detail and doctrinal accuracy surrounding her fictional tale that I find impressive.
Women are definitely in the minority in the scriptures, but every little girl who ever attended Sunday School grew up admiring Esther, the Jewish girl who became a queen and saved her people from annihilation. Moore whose previous scriptural historical novels have been centered on the Book of Mormon, chose to base her most recent book Esther the Queen, on the beautiful, young Jewess girl who became a biblical heroine.
Yes, she invented a charming love story for the Persian King Xerxes and Esther wherein they meet through a Cinderella-like story and he goes in search of the beautiful girl who caught his eye during the unexpected encounter, vowing to make her his queen. But it is the details concerning the Jews precarious position in Persia, the year long wait in the palace harem before the wedding takes place, and the intricacies of Persian politics, religion, and law that make the story particularly fascinating.
Esther is a story of courage. It's the story of a young woman who chooses to leave her familiar world not because she lacks faith, but because she feels it is what God wants her to do. Knowing her predecessor was divorced for refusing a request made by her husband, Esther knew approaching him when and where she did was a serious step that could cost her life. She knowingly chose to try to save her people at the risk of her marriage, her comfortable life, and possibly her own life.
Though it's a familiar story, Moore instills a new vitality to the story, making it easy for the reader to get caught up in the plot. In her hands Esther and Xerxes both become warm and real.
Heather B. Moore who writes historicals under H.B. Moore is the recipient of numerous awards. She not only writes scripturally based historical fiction, but is the author of a couple of non-fiction titles, and has recently made a foray into romance and women's fiction. She manages Precision Editing and is a BYU graduate. She, her husband, and their young family live in Utah.