Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Jim Baumgardner
Publisher: Baumgardner Press
“I have been a girl, a plain girl with no parents, no property, and barely anyone knows me. Now – O God, why have you brought me to this? It is too much. The whole world will know me and expect grand things of me,” Hadassah laments in Jim Baumgardner’s book, Esther Queen of Persia: A Courageous Woman for a Dangerous Time.
At two hundred and ninety-four pages, this paperback targets readers who enjoy retold Old Testament Bible stories that are enhanced by fictional liberties. Mostly using the New King James Version of the Bible, the Amplified and NIV are also referenced.
Taken from the seventeenth book of the Bible, Baumgardner mentions using literary license in his longer version of Queen Esther’s life from her meager means to opulent palace living being married to King Ahasuerus in 479 B.C.
The beautiful Jewish orphan, Hadassah, becomes the chosen candidate to replace Queen Vashti when she is banished for not dancing in front of the drunken king during a party. At only sixteen years old, the young Benjamite virgin is afraid she may be sent to the soldiers’ barracks so obeys everything everyone tells her as she prepares for her newly acquired position.
Having her named changed to Esther by her palace guardian, she is smart, poised, and sensitive, immediately catching the eye of the king who likes well-rounded women. When she attains royalty, he falls deeply in love with her beauty, personality, and charm.
True to the Biblical storyline, her cousin, Mordecai, tries to keep a constant watch on her but Haman, one of the king’s counselors, despises the man for his religious beliefs and Jewish background.
As Queen Esther reigns for four years in Shushan, she questions the what ifs and whys of life, wondering when and how she will tell the king of her heritage and love for the True God. When Haman plans to rid Susa of all Jews, his edict approved by Ahasuerus backfires due to Esther’s interference, sentencing him to death.
Unlike the original story, there is more background history of the land, history, culture, and politics of the era. Haman is introduced two-thirds into the story where the original he is at the first third.
Baumgardner’s thorough research and attention to historical details add flavor and scenery to the Biblical tome as readers recall how God uses a courageous young woman to keep His chosen people alive throughout the ages.
This book was furnished by the author and Jenkins Group in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.