Ellen Gunderson Traylor's Esther retells the biblical story of an orphaned girl living in exile from her people's homeland. When she catches the king's eye, she is unwittingly caught up in a story of intrugue and brutality, through no fault of her own. The monarch who is drawn to her beauty and simplicity is a proud, impetuous man, and her connection to him, once she is added to the harem, puts her in great danger.
Ultimately, the danger she is placed in saves her people from a greater danger, the threat of genocide. Esther, with her uncle's help, comes to realise that, like it or not, she has been placed in a situation in which she can be a savior to her people. As the politicking intensifies on both the public and private levels, Esther finally takes up the challenge and manages to save her people.
In Esther, Traylor depicts the point where courage and faith meet fear and danger. It is in this place that great deeds are done, even by the humblest of people. The novel is a well-written, well-researched book, and is a real pleasure to read.
Reviewed by Shelly Bryant © 2015