A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther
Fifteen-year-old Esther, raised by her uncle Mordecai, would like to marry her best friend’s brother someday but is no real hurry to leave her happy home. Then Mordecai shocks the half-Jewish, half-Persian Esther with a request: for her to join the multitude of girls competing for the hand of Ahasuerus, King of Persia. If the beautiful Esther can become the new queen, Mordecai tells her, she may be able to influence him on behalf of the Jewish people, who need an advocate at the king’s palace. Esther finally agrees and departs for the king’s harem, comforted by the thought that she cannot possibly outshine her well-bred competitors and will soon be back at home.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by Wolf, a well-known novelist who has recently turned to writing biblical fiction. Esther and the king make an appealing couple, and the supporting characters, even the one who comes to play the role of the villain, are three-dimensional and sympathetic. With a fast-paced plot and details that bring color to the story but don’t weigh it down, this is an excellent start to Wolf’s projected series of biblical romances.