Bethany House, Jan 2004
Hadassah fails to grasp the ritual that her father puts her through until he provides her a letter handed down by generations of her ancestors and written by the biblical legend Esther. In ancient times, Esther's family is slaughtered because of their religious beliefs. Her cousin Mordecai adopts the young and they flee to Persia. Mordecai teaches his ward about being a Jew, but also warns her to hide her religion from others if she wants to live.
The King of Persia orders all virgins to come to the palace so he can choose a new queen. Esther using the name Hadassah is among the participants. She vows to G-D (written in reverence this way) to risk her life to free her people if she is the chosen one. Though selected as the next queen, Hadassah realizes how foolishly dangerous it would be to reveal her Jewishness. Still, her people including her beloved Mordecai are in trouble so Esther no longer can remain silent in the lap of luxury much longer even if speaking out means “If I perish, I perish”.
Once the changing between eras stop (until one final turn) with biblical Esther taking center stage, readers obtain a fantastic retelling of the story of Jewish holiday Purim (just past) that provides deep insight into the heroine. The key that takes the tale beyond the strong retelling of Esther the queen (often told) is filling in the blanks of her childhood and her learning to become the monarch's wife. Aimed at a religious audience, anyone who appreciate a powerful rendition of a classic bible tale will enjoy eating Hamentaschen while spending one night with Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner