The Gilded Chamber

Written by Rebecca Kohn
Review by Michael I. Shoop

This excellent first novel expands upon and breathes new life into the age-old biblical story of Esther. In the 5th century B.C, a young Jewish girl named Hadassah is taken from Babylon to the exotic Persian capital at Susa to live with her beloved cousin, Mordechai. Several years later, events force her to change her name, enter the royal palace harem, and learn how to please the monarch. As Esther, she is eventually chosen to be Xerxes’ queen. The author deftly fleshes out all the familiar characters: the wicked, power-hungry advisor Haman, the beautiful but cruel Queen Vashti, the majestic, fatally flawed Xerxes, and loyal servant Mordechai. But it is Kohn’s portrayal of the innocent and lovely Esther, whose passion, courage, and enduring love for two men ultimately saves her people from disaster and destruction, that is truly stunning.
Set against the backdrop of ancient Persia, with all its splendor, sensuousness, brutality and intrigue, Esther’s story once again provides reaffirmation that love, hope, and the human spirit will prevail. A skillfully written, totally absorbing tale; for all fans of The Red Tent, Queenmaker, and Sarah.