Monday, June 6, 2011

A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf

About the book: A Reluctant Queen

An inspiring re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.

See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther's beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith's great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity. More here.

My Review:

Joan Wolf did an amazing job of bringing one of the most beloved stories of the Bible to life. The story of Esther is one that has been told in Sunday School classes and Bible studies, and most everyone has heard it told at one time or another.

I love the story of Esther, and although I know the ending... I just couldn't put this book down. The author brings so many details into the characters and the surroundings that you are captivated through the end. This is fiction... but it's done in a way that lets us relate to the characters. Esther was used by God. And she was also a young girl. She was human. The picture of Esther that Joan Wolf paints is a beautiful and realistic one.

While the story is not completely accurate historically, the author has a note in the back of the book, that specifies the areas in which she made changes to bring this fictionalized story of Esther to life. Keeping her explanation in mind... who knows what the characters were really like, what they thought or felt. I think she did a wonderful job with each of them. I was not disappointed.

I am looking forward to her next book about Rahab! (See her interview below.) I loved this book and I know you will too! :)

*Litfuse Publicity Group has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. ~ Thanks!

About Joan:

Joan Wolf was born in New York City but has lived most of her adult life with her husband in Connecticut , where she raised two children and countless numbers of assorted animals. Joan is the author of numerous historical novels including The Road to Avalon which Publishers Weekly lauded as “historical fiction at its finest.”

For more about Joan and her other books, please visit

Q & A with Author Joan Wolf
A Reluctant Queen, Thomas Nelson, June 2011

What draws you to historical/biblical fiction?

I have always adored history, a love I inherited from my father. He used to discuss people from history as if they were people in the current newspapers. I think almost 90% of my books must have an historical setting.

You’ve had a successful career writing for the ABA, why start writing for the CBA now?

A few years ago I had an extraordinary experience where God touched my life. This encounter stirred my interest in writing about other people who had experienced the presence of God in their lives and the CBA seemed to be the best place for me to do that.

What is it about the historical account of Esther that led you to write a romance story about her?

 When I was a girl Esther fascinated me. It seemed wonderful that God had chosen a woman to be the person who would save His people. And, since I am a romantic soul, I also thought that there must have been a great love between her and the king for him to have done as she asked.

Why did you move away from the traditional interpretation of King Ahasuerus’ conduct?

I always thought that Ahasuerus must have loved Esther deeply because he listened to her and revoked the edict that Haman had sent out. A king who not only allows his wife to break into his religious feast without punishment, but also comes to have dinner with her the following day, must care for her very much indeed. And such a man must be a much nicer person than the king traditionally portrayed by Xerses/ Ahasuerus.

You love animals. Do you ever incorporate them into your books?

Do I not ever incorporate animals into my books? I am famous for my horses, but dogs play their part as well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t put Esther on a horse, but I did make Ahasuerus a fanatical horseman.

What is your favorite historical era to write about?

 I love to go way back in time, to periods where the records are mostly archeological. I actually did three books set in the Upper Paleolithic, the period of the last ice age. My next book is about Rahab, and I’m having such fun reading about pottery and stone remains from the late Bronze Age.

You can buy the book here.

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)


Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for this review! I need something good to read and this book looks soooo good. I'll see if I can find it here in my town. :-)

Kathleen said...

This sounds like an excellent book! I was so disappointed in the movie "Esther" that came out a few years ago. I love it when her character is developed in believable ways.

I'll betcha the book about Rahab is full of gripping goodies!


Mary Ann said...

You're welcome! If you love Biblical fiction... I think you'll enjoy it! I have an advanced readers copy, and it says the release date is July 5th. You should find it then. Wish I would have thought to put that in my review!

God bless! :)

Mary Ann said...

Hi Kathleen!

I enjoyed the book very much! There were a few changes... but given the explanation for them, I could easily understand the need. Not so much in changing the story... but in bringing the characters to life.

I look forward to Rahab as well. I just love Biblical fiction.

God bless! :)

Diane said...

I reviewed this book too and also enjoyed it. Have a super week! :O)

Mary Ann said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it! I was so excited to read it... and happy that I wasn't disappointed.

Hope you have a great week too, Diane! :)


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