Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blog Tour: A Reluctant Queen (Review & Author Q&A)

An inspiring re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.

See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Ahasuerus
was a powerful but lonely man. Esther's beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith's great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity.

What I Thought
This book takes a fresh look at the story of Queen Esther, which was both unique and interesting.

I really liked how this novel caused me to "rethink" a familiar story. I also liked how it examined the personalities of all of the key players from Haman to Esther, and even the people behind the scenes in court life.

I thought the author, Joan Wolf created a book that not only unpacked Haman's actions, but also helped show his motives as well. One thing that struck me, is how alike Haman was to Judas. Both loved their master very much, and both "pushed" them, because they desired greatness.

(Basically, both Judas and Haman took life in their own hands, in order to push their master into doing what they thought he should be.)

I also liked how the book really examined the relationship between Esther and the King and unpacked their humanity.

I'll admit, I was a bit confused, and then frustrated by Wolf's creation of a "new" king between Darius and Xerses. She explained in the afterward that this was part of her "artistic" license with the story.

She created a likeable king, in order to have a "prince charming" for her Biblical Cinderella story. I can respect her artistic license. However, I wish she had just "jazzed" up Xerses, without creating a "different king." But that is my only complaint, and it is minor.

On the scale of one to five, with five being the highest, I give this book a solid four. It was interesting, made me thing and is a Biblically-based fairytale, that well, has all of the makings of a cinderlla story.

About The Author
Joan Wolf was born in New York City but has lived most of her adult life with her husband in Connecticut, where she raised two children and countless numbers of assorted animals.

Wolf is the author of numerous historical novels including The Road to Avalon which Publishers Weekly lauded as “historical fiction at its finest.”

For more about Wolf and her other books, please visit

More From The Author (A Q&A)
What draws you to historical/biblical fiction?
I have always adored history, a love I inherited from my father.  He used to discuss people from history as if they were people in the current newspapers.  I think almost 90% of my books must have an historical setting.

You’ve had a successful career writing for the ABA, why start writing for the CBA now?|A few years ago I had an extraordinary experience where God touched my life.  This encounter stirred my interest in writing about other people who had experienced the presence of God in their lives and the CBA seemed to be the best place for me to do that.

What is it about the historical account of Esther that led you to write a romance story about her?
When I was a girl Esther fascinated me.  It seemed wonderful that God had chosen a woman to be the person who would save His people.  And, since I am a romantic soul, I also thought that there must have been a great love between her and the king for him to have done as she asked.

Why did you move away from the traditional interpretation of King Ahasuerus’ conduct?
I always thought that Ahasuerus must have loved Esther deeply because he listened to her and revoked the edict that Haman had sent out.  A king who not only allows his wife to break into his religious feast without punishment, but also comes to have dinner with her the following day, must care for her very much indeed.  And such a man must be a much nicer person than the king traditionally portrayed by Xerses/ Ahasuerus.

You love animals.  Do you ever incorporate them into your books?
Do I not ever incorporate animals into my books?  I am famous for my horses, but dogs play their part as well.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t put Esther on a horse, but I did make Ahasuerus a fanatical horseman.

What is your favorite historical era to write about?
I love to go way back in time, to periods where the records are mostly archeological.  I actually did three books set in the Upper Paleolithic, the period of the last ice age.  My next book is about Rahab, and I’m having such fun reading about pottery and stone remains from the late Bronze Age.

Online Resources
Buy A Reluctant Queen @
Follow the blog tour here!

It's A Contest
To celebrate Joan Wolf’s debut Christian Fiction title, A Reluctant Queen, Wolf and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away A Reluctant Queen prize package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:
* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen
* A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf (for KINDLE)

To enter, just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, the contest ends on June 20th. Winner will be announced on June 21st during Joan’s A Reluctant Queen Book Club Party on Facebook (details below)! Hope to see you there – bring your friends!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Join the fun on June 21st! 
Wolf  will wrap up the blog tour and Kindle giveaway promotion during her A Reluctant Queen FACEBOOK party on her FB author page. During the party she'll announce the winner of the Kindle, host a book chat discussion, test your trivia skills (Is Esther's story in A Reluctant Queen fact or fiction?), and more. Don't miss this chance to meet the author and make some new friends!

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

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