November 30, 2012

Jewel of Persia, by Roseanna White

Jewel of Persia front.jpgWhen Carrie asked me to choose a book for the RtK Book Club, I deliberated for quite a while.  In the end I chose a book that I had been eager to read for a couple of years.  As it happens, it was not the typical book club choice, being biblical fiction, but I am glad to have read Jewel of Persia by Roseanna White.

The amazing part of this biblical fiction book is that most of the plot is actual history recorded in the Bible or the ancient Greek text called Histories by Herodutus.  This is the way biblical fiction should be-in my opinion.  Roseanna has a great Companion Guide where you can read more about how she used the actual events and wove them into a good story.

You likely know the story of Esther, the young Jew who becomes queen of Persia.  Jewel of Persia is not so much her story as a fictional character-Kaisa's- story.  Kaisa has a chance meeting that leads her to quickly become a concubine of King Xerxes.  She quickly becomes the favorite of his many wives and concubines within the harem.  This, of course, leads to much friction, especially with the king's own mother...who is determined to eliminate Xerxes' greatest love.

This Jewish girl accepts the terms of her marriage-the emotional upheaval of sharing a husband-though not without some difficulty.  She is also living in the palace among those who worship gods, which leads Kaisa to finally and fully rely upon the one true God.

I really appreciated how the plot's twists and turns are actually based on facts.  Of course, historians didn't necessarily include the motives and specific methods behind all actions, so Roseanna White used her imagination to create a fuller story than what is documented as fact.

We were introduced to Esther early in the story as Kaisa's closest childhood friend.  She plays a small role throughout the book, and as expected, becomes Queen Esther.

I had been incredibly excited to finally read Jewel of Persia.  Unfortunately, I had a rather difficult month and my reading was spotty.  I was more than halfway through the book before I could devote an hour (in one sitting) to it.  I think this is why I enjoyed the second half of the book, especially the last quarter, so much, while the beginning definitely held my interest, it was harder for me to dive into due to reading in short bursts.  I do think it is a good biblical fiction book.  (For the record, this was so much better than A Reluctant Queen-another fictional account about Esther that really just irritated me.)  If you have not read Jewel of Persia yet, I would suggest reading the first chapter...and then read the book for yourself.  I do recommend it.

One thing that I am still considering is the impact I have on a person by not praying for them.  I thank Roseanna for causing me to ponder this.
Reading to Know - Book Club
Be sure to go over to Reading to Know to hear about some others' opinions of Jewel of Persia, too!  They will link-up or share in the comments section.  Next month's reading for book club: A Christmas Carol!


 ~ Annette {This Simple Mom}

1 comment:

  1. I need to read my copy I got. I had a couple of other books I was waiting for that came out recently that I was in the midst of reading, so I haven't read it yet.

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