Friday, May 22, 2015

Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther: A Book Review

Because I'm a cheapskate, I found this book on an internet site that offers free and bargain Nook or Kindle e-books. I must have hundreds of them safely downloaded to my Nook and Kindle accounts, all quietly awaiting their turn to be read. Sadly, much like Facebook posts, they're pushed farther on down the line as each day passes (and as I download even more free books), so many of them will no doubt remain unread until the day I die and then someone tosses out my hardware and all is lost... sigh.

On a brighter note, Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther will not be among those lost. It was well worth the money I would have spent on it had I actually purchased it. Chosen is just one of the historical novels about Biblical characters and other historical women written by Ginger Garrett, and it's a good one. A great one, on fact.

Chosen first caught my eye because I'm always interested in books that take place in Biblical times. I'm familiar with Esther's story in the Bible where she saved all of Israel when she risked her own life by approaching King Xerxes without his advance request, but other than that, I knew little else about the young Jewish woman who was torn from her home and destined to save her nation.

Written in diary form, the book tells of Esther's despair at being dragged from the simple life she led with her cousin Mordecai, as well as her true love, Cyrus (fictional), to the sumptuous, sometimes decadent life in the harem of King Xerxes. The historical detail and exquisite imagery that Ms. Garrett weaved throughout her book brought Esther, Mordecai, his nemesis Haman, and King Xerxes to life. Despite being a work of fiction, Chosen read as a sad, true-to-life, exciting, and inspiring description of Esther's life before and after ascending to the position of King Xerxes's wife.

I'd never given much thought to the palace intrigue of those days, although vaguely, I knew it existed. I'd given no thought to the preparations women were forced to undergo before becoming a concubine of the king, nor to the savage rivalries that arose between some of them to garner the coveted position of queen for themselves. Yes, some of this story was a matter of informed, skilled conjecture. It had to be. Nevertheless, details like the above brought me closer to the reality of Esther's life and the perilous times in which she, and other Jews, lived. 

I paid nothing for this book, but having read it, I will gladly pay for other books by Ginger Garrett. I think I've found a new favorite genre author. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction that deals with real-life people will enjoy Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther. 

It's available in both print and e-book versions at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I heartily recommend it. 

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