Monday, July 15, 2019

Hadassah Queen Esther of Persia by Diana Wallis Taylor

About the Book

Book: Hadassah 
Author: Diana Wallis Taylor 
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release date: July 2, 2019

One of the great heroines of the Old Testament, Hadassah was a beautiful, graceful young woman who put her faith in God and her guardian, her cousin Mordecai.

She dreams of marrying Shamir, a tall, handsome, studious young man who is the rabbi’s son. Her heart beats faster when she hears the sound of his deep voice as he reads the Torah. And she hopes that he will visit Mordecai soon to present a betrothal request.

Then, an upheaval in King Xerxes’s palace changes everything. Queen Vashti has been banished and an edict goes out for all qualified young virgins throughout the empire to be taken to the palace as he searches for a new queen.

 Fear strikes in the hearts of many, including Mordecai, as he realizes Hadassah will be taken. To hide her identity as a Jew, he tells her to go by the name of Esther. Since he works as a record-keeper at the king’s gates, he can keep tabs on how she is doing.

Hadassah: Queen Esther of Persia imagines what life was like for the woman who saved her people—and perhaps found love in the process.

Click HERE to grab your copy!

My Review

Esther is the Biblical account every little girl that grew up in church knows and the heroine of the Bible we all looked up to with delight and awe of how the Lord used her. With that in mind, I dived into Hadassah ready to read, and while it pains me to say it, I felt so torn on this one. I read our author's book on Lydia and absolutely loved it, so I had high expectations. What excelled in this book is our author's ability to make us feel part of the backdrop. The history included was immense and the culture really showed through in a real way. The way our author used artistic license to tell Esther's story as a child and as a Jewish woman longing for a husband like any normal woman would have been at the time I found to be intriguing, and we really got a look at all of what Esther's life may have looked like combined with what we do know. The way Esther was portrayed was done pretty accurately as well. Incidentally, some of the strengths lend to the books weaknesses. There was too much history and research included to where it felt like it disrupted the story line. Info dumps seemed often, and transitions were abrupt. My biggest issue was the relationship between Xerxes and Esther. Based on this guy's background and manner or finding another wife, I don't see how true love could be part of it. Even if he did love Esther more than others, it is tainted by the concubines, and doesn't seem like a real true love. I will give the author credit in that her author's note at the end made clear she wasn't sure that what  was between  Xerxes and Esther was true love, she just kind of went with in in artistic license. The relationship seemed only physical as described in the book which I do see as realistic, but the author shows Esther actually falling in love with the guy which I don't see as realistic. When we get to the Biblical account we know, it is presented very quickly and with not many added details, so that seemed kind of anticlimactic. Overall, I saw the high quality of writing our author offers peeking through, but it just didn't come together right for me. However, I recommend this book for those who enjoy Biblical fiction, historical fiction, or fiction with a Biblical purpose.

I received a complimentary copy of this book, and all opinions given are entirely my own. 

About the Author

Diana Wallis Taylor was first published at the age of twelve, when she sold a poem to a church newsletter. After receiving her B.A. in Elementary Education at San Diego State University, she was an elementary school teacher for twenty-two years. Diana has also sold real estate, opened two coffeehouse/used book stores, and was a conference director for a private Christian college. She has an extensive portfolio of published works, including a collection of poetry; an Easter cantata, written with a musical collaborator; contributions to various magazines and compilations; and several books, including Lydia, Woman of Philippi; Mary, Chosen of God; Ruth, Mother of Kings; and Halloween: Harmless Fun or Risky Business? Learn more at

Read an Excerpt

Besides the usual vendors, there were strange, sweaty men with beady eyes who were looking to get rich from the additional population. In the wee hours of the morning, while Mordecai sat with his head in his hands, silently praying, Jerusha stopped breathing, slipping away so quietly that Hadassah thought she was still sleeping.

 One day, to the people’s relief, the news was spread that the unwelcome banquet guests had been ordered back to their provinces—to prepare for war. Instead of bowing, Hadassah smiled unabashedly and gazed directly at the king, who at that moment had turned his head. “Do not give your name as Hadassah, but tell them it is Esther, which is a Persian name. I would have you hide your Jewish heritage for now.”

 She felt their eyes silently appraising her; some with open interest, some with sympathy, and others with calculating shrewdness. Esther asked each maid gentle, innocuous questions about her homeland, favorite foods, culture, and the like, listening attentively to their answers and making sure to speak to them by name both to let them know they were important to her and also to help her remember who was who.

 “If you maidens help me to be my very best when I am called to the king’s chambers, if he honors me by selecting me as his queen, I will not forget you, who helped to put the crown on my head.” Esther had seen some of the women pass her quarters so laden with jewelry they could hardly walk. She wanted to laugh out loud, but suppressed even a smile. Recognition came. “Ah, the maiden in the crowd. I thought about you many times.” He moved closer.

“I remember your hair, like a cloud around your face.”

Blog Stops

Hallie Reads, July 4
EmpowerMoms, July 7
Madeline Hope, July 7
Moments, July 8
Emily Yager, July 9
Mary Hake, July 11
Splashes of Joy, July 12
Simple Harvest Reads, July 12 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Bigreadersite, July 13
Pause for Tales, July 13
Henry Happens, July 17


To celebrate her tour, Diana is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks card and a surprise book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.