Author: Ginger Garrett
Publisher: David C. Cook
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6801-8

Click Here To Purchase Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther (Lost Loves of the Bible)

I thoroughly enjoyed the novel aspect of Ginger Garrett’s exploration into the mind of Jewish historical figure, Queen Esther. The queen’s story, as told through a series of diary entries, is one of intrigue, romance, adventure, and faith.

For those unfamiliar with the biblical story, Esther is a Jewish orphan raised by her cousin, Mordecai. While a young maiden, she is taken to King Xerxes’ harem to be presented to the king after a year’s worth of beauty treatments and preparations. Her beauty and intelligence win her the king’s favour and she is made his queen, all the while keeping her Jewish faith a secret, since there is a decree to worship no other god than Ahura Mazda. Her loyalty to the king, her people, and her God are put to the test.

While many Jews and Christians are familiar with Esther’s story, ‘Chosen’ gives a literary insight to the historical figure honoured during the festival of Purim. One of the reasons I enjoy fiction is that authors can explore issues, take literary license, and go deeper into the psyche of their characters. By writing this novel from Esther’s point of view over a time period of more than a decade, Garrett imagines what the young woman may have been thinking and what motivated her heroic actions. Unfortunately, first-person narratives are somewhat limited in their viewpoint and do not give as much insight into secondary characters. It would have been interesting to explore the motivations and actions of King Xerxes and Mordecai as well.

I did not enjoy the break-up of the narrative through the footnotes directing the reader to the Appendices, a series of commentaries that attempt to make Esther’s story current and relevant. I found this unnecessary and distracting. Although some of the viewpoints were interesting, they seemed out of place and irrelevant in a work of historical fiction. I would definitely still recommend the novel, but I would suggest that readers do not waste their time with the commentaries, or to read them well after they have finished the novel. They may be useful in a book club setting, but do not enhance the telling of the actual story. What I found more useful was reading the biblical account in the book of Esther and then being able to compare and contrast the story to Garrett’s version.

Click Here To Purchase Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther (Lost Loves of the Bible)