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A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther (Biblical Fiction)

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,014 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman, becomes the wife of the Persian king, Ahasuerus, but when the king is tricked into persecuting the Jews by his minister she feels she must reveal the truth about her identity and save her people.
Paperback, 372 pages
Published June 14th 2011 by Thomas Nelson (first published May 4th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 20, 2011 Jill rated it really liked it
"And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight..."
Esther 2:17 KJB

The Book of Esther is a small book of the Old Testament. Filled with politics, religion, palace intrigues, selfish ambitions and a Cinderella-type tale of a young girl who wins the prince's (or in this case, the king's) heart.

Esther is portrayed here as a young, spirited 15 year old when we first meet her. Possibly 16 or 17 when she finally becomes queen. Rather than accepting her fat
Jun 09, 2011 Ruth rated it liked it
The story of Esther is one of the most compelling, inspiring stories in the Old Testament. The tale of a young, ordinary Jewish girl who rises to become a Queen, and subsequently the savior of her people, is rich with dramatic – and romantic, if you’re a die-hard romantic like myself – possibilities. In A Reluctant Queen, author Joan Wolf attempts to bring a fresh take to the idea of a love story between Esther and her king. Wolf introduces Esther while she’s still living with Mordecai, and foll ...more
Rebecca Huston
A creampuff of a novel that tries to take a Jewish story and make it somewhat Christian. The writing is leaden and slow, the author mangles most of the story (Esther's real name is never given, she eats pork (!!!), the real reason that Haman wants to kill all the Jews, the king rewarding Mordecai, blah, blah, blah, blah). A real snoozer and not worth the time and effort to find or read. Not recommended, and just barely three stars.

For the longer review, please go here:
Lydia (Overweight Bookshelf)
Jul 02, 2011 Lydia (Overweight Bookshelf) rated it really liked it
First reviewed here: http://overweight-bookshelf.blogspot....

I admit it, I approached this review with a great deal of trepidation. Even though I finished this book a couple weeks ago, I needed time to mull over the story and figure out how I felt. I really enjoy biblical fiction, but I think it is one of most difficult genres to write because these are well-known stories that are written on our hearts. Any digression from the biblical narrative will attract a spotlight and possibly a negative c
Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside)
I absolutely loved this book.

First, I should point out that although I love Biblical fiction, I'm an atheist. I consider the Bible to be exactly as open to artistic interpretation as any other ancient literary source, such as Egyptian tomb paintings, the Historia Augusta, or the Iliad and the Odyssey. I don't feel that it's wrong or bad to deviate from the specifics of the Biblical inspiration in pursuit of a well-constructed, entertaining story.

A Reluctant Queen certainly succeeds as a well-con
May 31, 2011 Sally rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
"You've read it as a Biblical tale of courage. Experience it anew as a heart-stirring love story.

The beloved story of Esther springs to fresh life in this inspired novel that vibrates with mystery, intrigue and romance."

The book of Esther is unique. God places a young minority woman in a place to do His work, yet He isn't mentioned once. There's a marriage to a king, a threat of death, and a definite villain. This novel has all those elements. So, what's the problem?

There isn't one problem with
Jun 16, 2011 Melanie rated it it was amazing

The book of Esther in the Bible has always been a book I longed for more of.. more detail, more insight into the times, more depth to the story. Joan Wolf has taken the book of Esther, created a scene rich in history and added dynamic characters to satisfy our imaginations as readers.
Esther had a Jewish mother and a Persian father. Dad was killed early in Esther’s life, leaving Mom and Esther living with Uncle Mordecai until Mom’s death. Uncle Mordecai and Esther lived together for many years t
Rebecca A. Rogers
**ARC Courtesy of NetGalley

Probably one of my favorite, if not THE favorite, Bible stories of all time. This book reminded me a lot of the movie One Night with the King, which I LOVED. So, throughout the entire novel, I decided to use the characters from the movie (their faces) as the characters in this book. ha!

The book focuses on the romance aspect of Esther and the Great King of Persia, Ahasuerus. After a dream from God, Esther’s uncle (Mordecai) believes Esther is the one to save the Jews. I
Nov 12, 2011 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Raised a Roman Catholic, I have read many parts of the Bible, enrolled in a Bible School, and endured Christian Living classes. Esther, along with the other courageous women in the Bible, has a special place in my heart as a heroine who loves her people and sticks up to her faith in God.

So, when I discovered A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther through Booksneeze, I was thrilled! Not often do I come across fiction books with biblical characters. I must point out, though, that this treasur
Jun 25, 2011 cecilia rated it it was amazing
The Book of Esther is one of my favorite Bible stories from childhood because I had been enamored by a lovely illustrated version (at least, that’s what I remember, although I do not recall the title). Among all the patriarchs and strong male figures of the Bible, it is great to see the few women like Esther as role models of strength and bravery. While her story focuses more on finding the courage to express her faith, I have always viewed the Book of Esther as a beautiful love story.

A Reluctan
May 04, 2011 Cleffairy rated it liked it
Reviewed at: Over A Cuppa Tea

Date reviewed: 5 May 2011

Review link:

It’s difficult to read a book when you already know the story in it and it gets much more worst when you have high expectation from the book in question. That is what happened when I read this book, A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther by Joan Wolf.

The story of this book is based on the Biblical Queen Esther of Persia. This novel is very well written. Highly descriptive, inspiring and heartwarmi
Aug 19, 2014 Renee rated it it was amazing
Wallis Simpson. Guinevere. Diana. Kate Middleton. For some reason, royal romance is particularly enthralling to many of us. Though I must admit that I didn’t watch the most recent royal wedding, I have enjoyed playing princess in my imagination a time or two. One of my favorite royal stories brings to mind this verse . . .

“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord. He turns it wherever He wishes.” ~Proverbs 21:1~

These words remind me of Esther, a Jewish girl whose beauty
Flora Bateman
I want to thank Firstreads for giving me a chance to review this book. And I absolutely loved it!

This is a retelling of the biblical story of Esther who married the Persian King to save her people. Wolf really brought this story to life. It was so easy to get pulled into this story and it flowed so well that it was really hard to put down. The characters were really brought to life and we see the reasons behind the way they acted the way they did. Esther never thought that she would become quee
Jun 30, 2011 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
This is a retelling of the story of Esther, with a bunch of made-up details and research thrown together to make something entertaining. It's a book I won through firstreads, and it's... not really my kind of book.

The prose isn't particularly compelling, but gets the job done, although some conversation is truly terrible. A line from Mordecai to Esther: "'Your father might have been Persian, but a Jew is defined as the child of a Jewish mother. Among our people, the father's blood does not coun
Tammy Ramey
Jul 09, 2011 Tammy Ramey rated it really liked it
the book of Esther from the bible has always been one of my favorites and so i was somewhat reserved when i first recieved the book as to how anyone would be able to make the story fresh and appealling. i must say that i really enjoyed the way the author portrayed the hero(king) and heroine(queen) as more than the biblical figures they are percieved to be and more as the people they were with all of the same thoughts and emotions as anyone else.
i loved how the heroine overcame her difficulties
Jun 23, 2015 Trea rated it really liked it
This was one story that was never far from my thoughts! It really made me think when I was reading it, and gave me insight into a Biblical story that I hadn't considered before. The story was intricate in it's detail, which slowed it down somewhat, but it made up for this flaw in richly drawn characters. It was fairly easy to identify with Esther, even as a modern Christian woman, and I really began to feel for her and her situation. Likewise, you really see the struggles that face the Great Kin ...more
Charity U
Aug 14, 2011 Charity U rated it liked it
Shelves: biblical-fiction
I love the cover. But I was unhappy with the changes from the Bible. I understand that some changes must be made, but after reading Jewel of Persia, I knew that the story of Esther can be written in a historical fiction manner without changes to what happened. Overall it was a clean story, and I enjoyed it, but the changes from the Bible really bugged me. I'll probably go into more detail on what they were when I review it on Austenitis.
Jessica Joy
Oct 12, 2014 Jessica Joy rated it really liked it
{To Review Later}
"And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight..."
Esther 2:17 KJB

The Book of Esther is a small book of the Old Testament. Filled with politics, religion, palace intrigues, selfish ambitions and a Cinderella-type tale of a young girl who wins the prince's (or in this case, the king's) heart.

Esther is portrayed here as a young, spirited 15 year old when we first meet her. Possibly 16 or 17 when she finally becomes queen. Rather than accepting her fat
Elizabeth Olmedo
Feb 06, 2014 Elizabeth Olmedo rated it liked it
A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf is the story of Esther as never told before. And I mean, as never told before. This novel left me with very conflicting emotions. On the one hand it’s a great story that maintains a comfortable pace and keeps the reader’s interest from cover to cover. Wolf creates likeable and convincing characters that will attract the readers. That said, it is not historically or Biblically accurate. While I still would have read it, I wish I’d known this beforehand. If I had bee ...more
What I liked?
- Interesting re-telling of a biblical story with an added romantic touch. Not knowing much about the Esther story, I appreciated how Wolf portrays the characters as neither overly good or evil, but rather, as actual flawed humans. For instance, both Haman's and Mordecai's hatred for one another stems from ancient prejudices but Haman's actions are due to his obsessive jealousy to be the close confidant to the king while Mordecai's behaviour is due to his rigid inflexibility when it
Jan 27, 2016 Tebafin rated it liked it
Interesting interpretation of the story of Esther... We all have a purpose, we all can be an instrument
Wow! This book...

Where do I start? I guess I'll start with the cover. It is so gorgeous that it made me want to read the book.

The story—one of the best I've read so far about a bible character.

I couldn't put this book down. Of course I knew that Esther would be queen but I sat on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the king would respond to her.

I'm not one to use made up words but this time I have to because anything less than fantabulous can't be used to describe this book!!!

Of course mo
Feb 19, 2015 Susan rated it liked it
I was expecting this book to take some time to read but it actually was a relatively quick one. I think it is because the story seemed to lack the richness that I was expecting/hoping for from this type of novel. The story starts like a cross between bible stories for children combined with school play about an 'important historical event'. Later, a dollop of Christian romance is dropped in. The characters were OK but never seemed very well-developed, similarly for their motivations and the plot ...more
I am really loving this series of book about the lives of women from the bible. While I'm sure much of it is dramatized to help fill in the blanks in their stories, the way Joan Wolf brings them to life is amazing. She keeps them true to their story while filling in the little details to really bring them to life.

Ester finds herself in a world completely different from her own when she is offered to King Ahasuerus as a potential bride. She must pretend not to be a Jew in the hopes that he will
elisia conrardy
A reluctant Queen: the love story of Esther

I started out enjoying this book. Realizing it is fiction based on actual events I knew what I imagine might be different. however,if you are going to tell a story from the Bible don't change it. I suspect changing Esther's uncle into a Palestinian hater and Haman into such a sympathetic character is based more on modern politics than how the Bible relates it. for this reason I give this a thumbs down. if someone writes under the Christian fiction headi
Jan 23, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Technically, I guess I'd rate it 4.5 stars but I'm rounding up because of how much I enjoyed it. I listened to the audio version, and the reader was amazing, which added to my enjoyment. Probably the best I've heard so far for character voices. The only things I didn't love were Haman's sudden switch from jealously to basically madness(and, though this is minor, Esther's perception of this when she barely knew Haman), and the very short denouement. I thought the king forgave h ...more
Isabel C.
Great story, great book!
May 11, 2015 Emma rated it did not like it
I am giving this book one star for the fact that it is not very Biblically accurate. For instance, Mordecai forces Esther to enter into the harem to be considered queen when in reality she was taken from her home. Another huge glaring problem is the fact that Esther tries to give up her religion when Mordecai is elevated to a higher position. Another problem is the fact that the author creates a character, Xerxes brother to Ahasueres. In reality Xerxes and Ahasueres are the same person! One more ...more
Sep 02, 2014 Crystal rated it it was ok
This book already had a lot going against it because Esther was my favorite story growing up. Favorite to the point that you can easily picture me sitting on my stomach, fists to my cheeks in wide-eyed wonder at this strong woman going against all odds to finish her personal mission from God. I even bought that terrible (okay, average) movie that came out just because: Esther. So with all of that in mind, I read this hoping it'd be a fun novel take on it.

I wasn't all that thrilled.

In a nutshell,
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Dec 17, 2014 08:58AM  
  • Abigail (The Wives of King David, #2)
  • Love's Sacred Song (Treasure of His Love)
  • Martha
  • Desired: The Untold Story of Samson and Delilah (Lost Loves of the Bible, #2)
  • The Heavens Before (Genesis, #1)
  • Deborah's Story (Women of the Bible)
  • Spring for Susannah
  • Pearl in the Sand
  • So Shines the Night
  • City of the Dead
Joan Wolf is a USA TODAY bestselling American writer, whose acclaimed Regency romances have earned her national recognition as a master of the genre. Her many historical and contemporary romances, some of which have been chosen as Literary Guild selections, have been highly praised by reviewers and authors alike.

Joan was born in 1951 and she grew up in the Bronx, New York. A former English teacher
More about Joan Wolf...

Other Books in the Series

Biblical Fiction (3 books)
  • This Scarlet Cord: The Love Story of Rahab
  • Daughter of Jerusalem

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