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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review: Jewel of Persia by Roseanna M. White


I love the way Roseanna White writes, perhaps especially her Biblical novels. But then, maybe that's just because I love Biblical fiction better than any other genre. She fills her books with so much history--and you scarcely even notice because you're hanging on to the story line tooth and nail.

According to the author's note at the end of the book, she based the book on not only the Books of Daniel and Esther in the Old Testament but also on a history written of that period, Herodotus's Histories.

Kasia, daughter of Kish, walks into the river just to feel it wash over her feet. The sheer joy sends laughter bubbling through her until she looks up and sees two men watching her and her friend Esther. Frightened and yet excited--one of the men is very handsome--she banters with the handsome one as she and Esther safely make their getaway.

You guessed it. The handsome one is Xerxes, and of course he sends representatives to gather her up to add her to his harem. Kasia quickly becomes his favorite--he even shortens the one-year preparation time his brides are supposed to go through to one week so that he can make her his wife more quickly.

He takes her with him as he goes with his million-man army to conquer the Greeks. But then, more than just a battle between men occurs. The demon/god Ahura-Mazda hates the pious Kasia and seeks to kill her, but Jehovah protects her. Later Xerxes blames her when things go awry and he sends her away.

Of course, you already know the end of the story. Sort of. If you've read the Book of Esther. But Ms. White manages to stuff a whole lot of heart-stopping moments in before the end.

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