Title: Esther (A Novel)
Author: Rebecca Kanner
My rating is 3 stars.
Before you read the novel, please read the Old Testament book Esther. Why? So that you may know what facts or truths are included in the work of fiction or what comes from the author’s imagination. When I approached the book, it was with high hopes that it would be as well written as Sinners & the Sea. However, the deeper I proceeded in the story, the more disappointed I became with the writing. The first reason is due to the over abundance of the focal point of the male characters upon women’s northern body parts. The second reason is the even mild overture of the time Esther experiences with her husband the king. The third reason is that Esther is not portrayed as a strong Jewish woman, but one who clings to a token given to her by a royal guard who frankly lusts after her and Esther after him. Finally, I am concerned that many will pick up the book, forgetting it is a novel and not inspired Scripture and believe the fictional work as truth.
The themes of murderous plots, enemies of the Jewish people and Purim along with the power of God were lost in the telling. Some of the directions the plot took or the way characters were portrayed whether real or fiction wasn’t believable to me. I read a lot of books with various themes from various genres. My conviction is when you write a story based on people or events from Scripture it is wise to be very careful in weaving the story, staying as close to Scripture as possible. Now, the author tells readers right off which characters were real and those that weren’t, which was a helpful tool to anyone who never even read the biblical account of Esther. I know that Esther wasn’t perfect, but I don’t think the novel portrayed her in a way that is accurate.
I could see how women such as the concubines, virgins and multitudes of servants would plot to assassinate anyone they didn’t like or was placed in the position they coveted. Why though at the very end of the book were some of the most important points or events of the book of Esther in the Bible seemingly plugged in and then glossed over? Other authors have written fictional accounts of biblical people or events that I enjoyed as they stayed true to the scriptural portrayal while adding fictional aspects to the story that seemed to enhance the understanding instead of distorting facts. As I read, I kept asking myself what the goal or purpose of the author was in writing the novel. I still am not sure. I just hope that people remember to read the true story of Esther and the history of Jewish people.
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