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Esther: the star and the sceptre by Gini…
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Esther: the star and the sceptre (1980)

by Gini Andrews

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Since childhood, Esther has been a favorite story in the Bible. I enjoy collecting and reading retellings. This, I believe, was my first, read many years ago. I remembered details of the story, but wasn't able to remember the title. So, I post my query on a group on LibraryThing that helps you find lost books. And the first response was correct! This is my favorite retelling. Perhaps because it follows closely to the biblical story, adding in carefully researched historical points and logical fictionalizations. Also, neither sensationalizes the story with sex and violence (like The Gilded Chamber) nor turn it into a sappy romance (like One Night with The King), Andrews achieves a balance that is pleasing to read. In the end, reading this again, well, it was just as good years later. ( )
  empress8411 | Apr 7, 2015 |
I appreciated a number of Andrews' descriptions throughout the novel, like when Esther danced for Xerxes, and "she became poetry and fire." At times, the plot and character development seemed disjointed; I would've liked some thoughts put out there by the author to be unwrapped more, to bring cohesiveness between one thought and another and to make more sense of the characters' experiences. It also felt like the overall story, along with Esther, didn't have much to do after Haman was executed. I didn't find a reason to care much about the characters David and Ruth from the beginning, so the subplot about them that took over for a while after Haman's death wasn't all that interesting or necessary to me. However, the novel redeemed itself when it made it to its poignant end by refusing to tie everything together in a neat little bow. The sense of triumph doesn't neglect the sense of loss, and Esther is well aware that there are some places in Xerxes' increasingly tormented mind that she'll never be able to reach. Persia doesn't become a utopia, but Mordecai reminds Esther that their people are ultimately waiting for the Messiah. ( )
  NadineC.Keels | Apr 10, 2014 |
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Darius was dead. (prologue)
In Susa, Xerxes, King of All Peoples, was giving a feast. (chapter 1)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Based on the Old Testament Book of Esther, this timeless story comes to vivid life in Gini Andrews' powerful novel. An innocent girl is taken to bondage to serve a mighty king. Trained in the arts of a concubine, Esther meets her captor, the legendary Xeres, and becomes his queen. In the face of sinister plots and court intrigue, Esther risks all to reveal her secret-- a secret that could mean death. Only Esther stands between the Jews of Persia and a massacre. She cannot fail them, no matter the cost.
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