Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review: Esther the Queen by H.B. Moore (Whitney Finalist 2013)

Title: Esther the Queen 
Author: H.B. Moore
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Digital Copy
This book would be rated: PG or PG-13 for sexual situations

Heather Moore has the unique distinction of having finalists in four different categories this year. Moore built her reputation as an author of historical fiction, primarily the stories of women from the Book of Mormon, and she's really honed her craft in this genre, so it's no surprise that I found her most successful nominee to be Esther the Queen, which is the story of Esther from the Old Testament.

Moore does a nice job recreating the life of a young Jewish girl living in Babylon. Stories from the scriptures often feel flat or contain elements that seem strange or contradictory or inexplicable, and Moore fleshes the stories out-- she makes the life in King Xerxes' harem come to life through sensory details, and she does a great job making the details that seem strange (like why Esther didn't tell her husband she was a Jew before they got married, or at least before the plot to kill all of the Jews was hatched). The side stories are also interesting and believable, and I found myself rooting for a happily ever after for Esther and her king.

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