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The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen by…
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The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen (edition 2015)

by Tosca Lee (Author)

Series: Legend of Sheba (1)

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1049227,242 (3.82)None
"Her name is legend. Her story, the epic of nations. The Queen of Sheba. A powerful new novel of love, power, and the questions at the heart of existence by the author of the award-winning "brilliant" (Library Journal) and "masterful" (Publishers Weekly) Iscariot. There is the story you know: A foreign queen, journeying north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king favored by the One God. The tale of a queen conquered by a king and god both before returning to her own land laden with gifts. That is the tale you were meant to believe. Which means most of it is a lie. The truth is far more than even the storytellers could conjure. The riches more priceless. The secrets more corrosive. The love and betrayal more passionate and devastating. Across the Red Sea, the pillars of the great oval temple once bore my name: Bilqis, Daughter of the Moon. Here, to the west, the porticoes knew another: Makeda, Woman of Fire. To the Israelites, I was queen of the spice lands, which they called Sheba. In the tenth century BC, the new Queen of Sheba has inherited her father's throne and all its riches at great personal cost. Her realm stretches west across the Red Sea into land wealthy in gold, frankincense, and spices. But now new alliances to the North threaten the trade routes that are the lifeblood of her nation. Solomon, the brash new king of Israel famous for his wealth and wisdom, will not be denied the tribute of the world--or of Sheba's queen. With tensions ready to erupt within her own borders and the future of her nation at stake, the one woman who can match wits with Solomon undertakes the journey of a lifetime in a daring bid to test and win the king. But neither ruler has anticipated the clash of agendas, gods, and passion that threatens to ignite--and ruin--them both. An explosive retelling of the legendary king and queen and the nations that shaped history"--… (more)
Member:Thebeautifulsea
Title:The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen
Authors:Tosca Lee (Author)
Info:Howard Books (2015), Edition: Illustrated, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen by Tosca Lee

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“What is love, but to hold dear without expectation? What is love, but first given devotion? What is love . . . But freedom.”
― Tosca Lee, Legend of Sheba: The Rise of a Queen

My review:

Wow. I am struggling here with what to say. I honestly do not think words alone can do this book justice.

I am one who went into this book knowing little to nothing. Oh I had heard of Bilqis,Queen Sheba and King Solomon, king of Israel. But really I had no knowledge of their story.

Although this is Biblical History, I chose it because of the Historical story. I have always adored reading about great Monarchs. This book seemed to me, one that I would enjoy.

But I was not prepared for how deeply, movingly, bitter sweetly and beautifully TOUCHING the story would be. Nor was I prepared to read Prose that treated every word as..for lack of a better term..a celebration. Words are to be celebrated and this book is word upon exquisite word. The writing stunned me with it's deep poignancy and ravishing beauty.

So Bilqis ruled over Saba and Solomon ruled over Israel. This is their story although it is told from Sheba's point of view and we do not meet Solomon for awhile.

We are introduced to Bilqis as she is a young girl. She grows up with so much tragedy. Losing her mother at such a young age and then the violent rape that takes place. It would have been enough to break many people.

We watch her rise to power and her introduction to the far away King who would ultimately change the course of both their lives.

I do love Historical Fiction so much. As a child, I sat in my school's library and devoured books about Historical Figures. And my second favorite book of all time is "I Cleopatra" a masterpiece and incredible work of art about Queen Cleopatra.

The writing here reminded me of that book. I mean it when I say every word is a celebration. It is so lyrically written and so uncompromisingly beautiful, that it is deeply lovely even before the letters.

The letters.

I think I fell in love with King Solomon myself, reading those letters. Watching the two fall in love via scroll was beautiful. If ever one wants to see what makes up the word "soulmate", they need look no farther than this book. We, the readers, are taken into a very precious arena, where we watch two brilliant but lonely people slowly remove the masks they wear to the public and let themselves be known.

The letters between the two are electrifying. So too is the journey the queen undertakes to meet Solomon. I had thought I'd not like that and would have to skim . I generally do not enjoy action oriented aspects to books. But this journey itself was it's own character and a joy to read. It was a festival, a party. And we, the readers, are there. Or we long to be. It feels so classically REAL. And honestly , I loved that aspect of the book. It was fascinating and once again, CELEBRATORY. I will not forget it.

And than there is the end. Of the book. I did not expect my reaction which was visceral and came with tears. I do not often weep at books. Sometimes but not frequently. I wept at this. The bittersweet aspect went so deep and I was amazed at how emotional I got.

So, yes I'd recommended this tantalizing and enthralling story. I have read so many excellent Historical reads this year, including The Tiger Queens, a book about the women of Genghis Khan.

Many times I praise a writer and say I plan to read more from them but never get around to it, simply because my TBR list is so long. In this case however, I KNOW I will get around to it. While reading this book, I found out there is a short prequel about Sheba's mother. This will be read by me, most likely in the next few weeks. Sheba's mother was one of my favorite characters. She was only in the story for such a short time but her character was so VIVID and fully realized.

So..to sum up..if one likes Historical Fiction..this one is a must read. I found about it because I saw a GR friend reading it. I'd like to thank them but cannot recall which friend it was so thank you nameless friend!

And thank you Tosca Lee for painting such a beautiful portrait of love, of sorrow, of triumph and of freedom. I will never forget this book. ( )
  Thebeautifulsea | Aug 7, 2022 |
I enjoyed this intriguing historical roman. I received this book for free and I voluntarily chose to review it. While that time period is harder to verify certain facts, the bible was one of the sources for this author. She cleverly wove facts and fiction for this story which was very entertaining. I've given this a 4.5* rating. Younger readers might like to compare some to the old testament of the bible. No younger than 17 readers is my sugestion. This story did pull me in quickly and I recognized a few tidbits here and there. There was a bit to learn about that time period also. ( )
  NancyLuebke | Aug 3, 2022 |
3.5 Stars


It was a beautifully written story with very vivid character.
But I found it slow at times and by the last 150 pages I had lost interest. ( )
  PirateQueen84 | Apr 4, 2020 |
This is the first I've ever read of the Queen of Sheba, and I loved her story. This book was very well built up and maintained, but I found the ending to be too abrupt and missing all of the details the earlier story showed. ( )
  Linyarai | Feb 16, 2020 |
I chose The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee as a complimentary novel for my Faith And Fiction Bible Study/Book Club. My group spends 3 weeks studying scripture and then on the 4th week we have book club. Sometimes I read the novel before starting the study; other times I do not. I am glad I waited until after studying the scripture before diving into this book. Lee does an admirable job bringing the legendary Queen of Sheba to life. However, she mixes myth and legend with the scriptural text to come up with this what if? I found Lee’s Sheba fascinating — a woman who does not fit into her time and place, yet comes to power and influence through sheer force of will. Known as Bilqis in Saba (modern Yemen), Makeda in Punt (modern Somalia/Ethiopia) and Sheba in Israel, she matches wit, wisdom, and will with King Solomon. I had a few takeaways from my reading experience:

Sheba gives a unique perspective to Solomon. Lee depicts him as a man who has been given much, but is still very restless in his drive for more — perhaps she drew inspiration from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
Israel is portrayed as an infant nation. Although Abraham’s covenant with God occurred centuries before, it is true that compared to other nations in the Middle East, Israel was an upstart.
Sheba’s desire is to be fully known — by God and man. Lee articulates that very human need extremely well.
The Legend of Sheba is not an easy or quick read. The first person account from Sheba’s perspective involves a great deal of observation and pondering. There is action of course, but the feelings of the heart and soul are predominant. As always Lee writes in a beautifully descriptive prose that engages all of the reader’s senses. The book is described as cinematic by one reviewer — very apt. And don’t forget that Sheba was a pagan queen and that Solomon, though the wisest man ever to live, did have a LOT of wives and concubines. 😉 Lee does explore the intimate side of relationships (though not in a graphic manner).

So who would I recommend this book to? Readers who want more than a love story, more than an historical account, and more than a quick read are the target audience. You have to be willing to invest some time and thought into Sheba’s story. From early conversations with my group, I anticipate a great discussion. Not everyone liked the book, but are glad they read it.

Recommended.

Audience: adults. ( )
  vintagebeckie | Apr 24, 2019 |
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"Her name is legend. Her story, the epic of nations. The Queen of Sheba. A powerful new novel of love, power, and the questions at the heart of existence by the author of the award-winning "brilliant" (Library Journal) and "masterful" (Publishers Weekly) Iscariot. There is the story you know: A foreign queen, journeying north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king favored by the One God. The tale of a queen conquered by a king and god both before returning to her own land laden with gifts. That is the tale you were meant to believe. Which means most of it is a lie. The truth is far more than even the storytellers could conjure. The riches more priceless. The secrets more corrosive. The love and betrayal more passionate and devastating. Across the Red Sea, the pillars of the great oval temple once bore my name: Bilqis, Daughter of the Moon. Here, to the west, the porticoes knew another: Makeda, Woman of Fire. To the Israelites, I was queen of the spice lands, which they called Sheba. In the tenth century BC, the new Queen of Sheba has inherited her father's throne and all its riches at great personal cost. Her realm stretches west across the Red Sea into land wealthy in gold, frankincense, and spices. But now new alliances to the North threaten the trade routes that are the lifeblood of her nation. Solomon, the brash new king of Israel famous for his wealth and wisdom, will not be denied the tribute of the world--or of Sheba's queen. With tensions ready to erupt within her own borders and the future of her nation at stake, the one woman who can match wits with Solomon undertakes the journey of a lifetime in a daring bid to test and win the king. But neither ruler has anticipated the clash of agendas, gods, and passion that threatens to ignite--and ruin--them both. An explosive retelling of the legendary king and queen and the nations that shaped history"--

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