Quite different Queens

 is for Queen.

I just finished two books this week about Quite different Queens. The first book was by H.B. Moore entitled Esther the Queen. This well-done historical fiction fleshes out the biblical story of the Jewess Esther, her cousin, Mordachai, King Xerxes (Asahuerus), and wicked Haman.

I’ve read the story of Queen Esther many times, but this account was fascinating because the author wove research into the story that helped me envision the time period and Persian culture better so that the characters came to life.

Moore is a master at character development. I came in with preconceived ideas about how the characters would act and feel, but she wrote in such a way that helped me put those aside. Even though I knew the story of Queen Esther, and how it ends, it didn’t make this book boring. Rather, that knowledge gave me a foundation to build upon as I filled in all the holes I’ve always wondered about when I read this Bible story.

Moore’s careful emphasis to the characters’ feelings and life-changing events made this book captivating. Queen Esther is amazing…so kind, generous, thoughtful, selfless. You can’t help but love her. The king, too, works his way into your heart, and you get a glimpse into the stresses and strains of life as a royal. I found the workings of the Persian court very intriguing—the harem, the living quarters of the concubines, the royal court, personal chambers, royal holidays, etc. The character I really enjoyed reading about though was Haman. The plot and back story Moore created for him made for a good villain and a believable motive for wanting to kill all the Jews.

This is my 2nd book I’ve read by Heather Moore (read my other review HERE), and I’m sold on her writing skills. Her style is clean, fresh, vivid, thought-provoking, and well-paced. I felt enriched and uplifted by Esther the Queen, and look forward to reading more by Heather Moore in the future.

The 2nd book, Seduction of the Scepter by E. Rose Sabin, had a Queen the very opposite of Esther. This fantasy piece of fiction read a lot like a European historical novel. Lara becomes Queen in a terrible way. The prince she loves is thrown into prison by his father, the king, and Lara is married to the younger prince, a half-wit (he seems kind of autistic). Unlike Esther the Queen who is loving, compassionate, and guileless, Lara the  Queen reigns with blood and intrigue to put down her enemies. She starts out a lot like Esther, but becomes a tyrant who will destroy even the man she loves to ensure her son’s rise to the throne.

Both stories were amazing and gave me lots of food for thought. I’m lucky I read them both this week so I have material for this letter Q post, and don’t have to resort to writing about Quacking. Yea!

Esther the Queen’s story is triumphant. Lara the Queen’s story is Tragic. Both get a “Double fudge brownie sundae” good rating from me.  You don’t get better than that.

Char Signature

51 thoughts on “Quite different Queens

  1. I love your contrast of the two women here. Aren’t we all at different kinds of crossroads during our lives?–we have the potential to become more like Esther or to allow darkness to take over. If heros are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, sometimes villains are too. And, yet, do we really need extraordinary circumstances to become extraordinary and make a difference in our sphere of influence?

    Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living

    • I love your insightful comments. It’s so true how the same circumstances can lead to much different actions in people. Esther always others before herself, yet Lara in this book starts out kind and good as well, but becomes power hungry (for a good cause? at least she thinks so). Their paths take such different paths because of their choices and priorities. I love how you’ve suggested that we can become extraordinary by making good choices in ordinary daily events. So true.

  2. Thanks for the reviews. Queen Esther sounds like a great queen. The other one sounds like she’s from The Game of Thrones. Both interesting for different reasons. Oh, and what Kate Sherwood said above. 🙂

    • Drag queens. My post would be very short since I know nothing about them. You might like that–less to read. Have a good weekend, Christy.

  3. It’s interesting to me how Esther is always characterized as this innocent girl, kind, thoughtful, selfless, etc. Maybe she was, but when I read her story I come away with a different take on her character, not heroic, though she certainly was a hero. A reluctant hero I would say. She was moved along throughout the story under circumstances not in her control. From what I understand, the historical king she was married to was not a nice, romantic fellow, certainly not prince charming. I’ve heard that he had a horrible temper and once when the sea was rough, he had it flogged for not being smooth so he could cross it with his army. Of course in the biblical account I felt sorry for his first wife, or one of many wives actually, the “queen” wife I should say. I mean, here he is drunk with his fellows and he wants to parade her in front of them. She refuses and gets booted out, and the search is on for a new more pliable queen. I guess if I wrote a historical fiction piece about Esther it would look a lot different from most. 😀

    • Yes, I agree…she did kind of get washed along in a strong tide that she really didn’t want to be in. This book does talk about the 1st queen and Esther is wary of the king because of that indiscretion. I love reading historical novels, but don’t know as I’d want to write one myself because of all the research. But I’m glad others do that so I can be entertained and learn a little at the same time.

      • I know what you mean. That’s why I write sci fi/fantasy so that I can make stuff up as I go along. 😀 Well, not entirely, I do have to do research even then.

        • Yeah, there’s research in almost any story, but the ones set in a specific true time period have to be researched so carefully so that you don’t get blasted by some critic that knows everything about that era.

    • Thanks, Gina. They were both enlightening. It’s fun to read about the tough decisions others have to make (I hope I get a little tougher just by reading about them)

  4. Both of these books sound really interesting. I love historical fiction that makes me think, ‘wow, this really happened to someone in real life?’ It always makes me wonder how I would’ve responded to events had I been in their place. The fantasy piece sounds intriguing too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sabin’s queen is not the tyrant in the regular definition. I liked her most of the way through the book, and it is written in such a way that you totally understand why she is doing everything. Her situation is impossibly crazy–which made for a fascinating plot. But some of her actions were tyrannical to me, because there is an noble innocent in this story whose life is trashed by her need to stay in power. Yet if she changed her actions, the ending could not have come to pass (and the future is bright because of her heir). So it was a GREAT read, even though I hated some of her decisions.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Laura. I like Gregory’s novels too. Sabin’s seems like it is set in historical Europe…but it is strictly a made-up world–but so well done that it is believable. The problems that queen has to solve and deal with are wonderfully complex.

    • I’m sure my quacking post would have been brilliant and thought-provoking. How could it not be? But now we’ll never know.

  5. “Double fudge brownie sundae” good rating? I want to write a book just to get that rating!
    I’m the Queen of Klutz at my house for sure. A few months ago, my son gave me a sticker to put on my laptop that said “Queen Mama”. The kid knows how to show respect.

    • Queen Mama! That’s the best title ever. And please do write a book. I want to read it. I will have to make a chart of all my ratings. That one sounded especially scrumptious last night when I wrote up my reviews.

      • Funny you mention the book. I have these two book ideas that are really taking shape in my head but I just can’t dedicate the time to start putting things down. Terrible spot to be stuck in. The creative itch is getting really bad.

        • I know how that feels–did it for a decade when my kids were younger and life was so much more hectic. At least write down snatches of plot so you don’t lose either story.

          • I actually pulled out a notebook last night and started writing a few pages down for my children’s book. It felt great to get it on paper and it’s a lot easier to see where the blanks are that I need to work on. My kids are a great test audience, so I’ve got plenty of help.

  6. I haven’t read a book about Queen Esther but when you describe an author’s writing as, “clean, fresh, vivid, thought-provoking, and well-paced” how could I not want to read this? Your reviews are excellent Char.

    • Yes, I’m usually hungry late at night when I write these posts. My cravings tend to sneak into my writing. Hope you enjoy these when you get to them.

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