Past the age to bear children, Bilqis, the beautiful queen of Sheba, consults the Goddess and decides to travel north, where she believes she will find an heir to the crown. She does. The trouble is that it’s King Solomon’s beloved daughter, Baalit. Jerusalem is in those days “so new a kingdom that the oldest men and women who dwelt within it had seen its first king crowned…Quarrels between the old ways and the new arose constantly and King Solomon’s far-famed court squabbled like a pen of fighting quails.” Bilqis’ stay in Jerusalem stirs up trouble for Solomon. His many other wives become jealous. The fiery prophet Ahijah rails against the foreign queen. But to young princess Baalit, the queen of Sheba is a revelation: women can rule. Will Baalit become queen? Will her father ever let her go to “a land half a year away”?
In the words of her author, Wisdom’s Daughter is “a tale spun from a biblical story.” It’s not biblical history and doesn’t pretend to be. As in her previous novel, Queenmaker, Edghill cuts legendary characters down to human size. Her Solomon is a loving but protective father, not very wise when it comes to his numerous wives. The dreams, despair, and the loneliness of his past and present queens surround the story of Baalit’s coming of age. Readers will find themselves cheering for the young girl.