In ancient Persia, lovely Hadassah grows up sheltered behind the walls of her Uncle Mordecai's house. They are the sole survivors of their family's massacre by renegade Agagites. When Xerxes, the king of Persia, seeks a new wife, Hadassah is thrust into the harem to undergo a year of preparation for a single night that will make her either queen or concubine. Then the impossible happens, and the little Jewish girl becomes queen of all Persia--only she tells no one of her heritage. Will she have the courage to use her position to save her Jewish brethren from Haman, Xerxes' vile second in command, who plans their extinction? The biblical story of Esther springs to life as told by Tommy Tenney with Mark Andrew Olsen. HADASSAH: ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING (4 stars) contains a wealth of history and spiritual admonition in the pleasing guise of a well-told tale.
"This Biblical tale offers some surprises, including Hadassah's first love, a boy who reaches great influence within the palace. The greatest change is the depth of character that the author creates. Esther, Xerxes, Mordecai and all of the smaller characters love, grieve and feel. This dazzling skill with character brings the story to life in a way that the Bible does not, changing it from a story of heroism to one woman's struggle to come to terms with the God who let her family die, and to finally reach love again.
The historical details behind this love story are also quite amazing. Tactical details of Xerxes's campaign in Greece and details from the Bible showing the root of the hatred between Jews and the Agagites abound in the narrative. Descriptions of the palace, foods and beauty treatments reflecting the opulent Persian Empire will stun readers with their gorgeous depictions. At the same time, Esther's simple faith and courage outshine these descriptions as the character grows from the terrified daughter of murdered parents to the most powerful queen in the world, determined to protect her people, whatever the cost to herself.
Esther's strength of character echoes into the modern day, becoming a powerful icon for Jewish women everywhere."
In the Library Reviews
"Exciting and insightful, Hadassah: One Night with the King, is more than the retelling of a Bible story. It is a genuine romance novel. Taut chapters keep the pages turning and well developed characters force the reader to care about what will happen next.. and if you're like me, and rip through this novel, you'll be excited to hear that sequel is now out and available."
Despite a few glitches, there is much to like about this coauthored novel from Tenney, best known for his nonfiction book The God Chasers, and Olsen, a writer whose work includes screenplays. Esther, queen of Persia, who inspired the eponymous book of the Bible, is a fascinating character whose story lends itself well to a fictional retelling. The novel opens as a contemporary woman named Hadassah receives a letter penned by Esther (also called "Hadassah" and "Star" in the novel) and passed down through her family for generations. The reading of the letter transports the reader back to the Persian Empire (a similar device is used in Bodie and Brock Thoene's Zion Legacy series). Several time periods and points of view make for a slow start, but the pacing picks up when Esther becomes the focus. The dialogue is stiff in places, and some readers will find the use of "G-d" rather than "God" out of reverence rather tiresome. However, from their imaginative fleshing out of Esther's unusual girlhood and preparation for her tryst with the king to the uttering of her famous words, "If I perish, I perish," the authors reinvigorate an age-old story. The sexual tension and violence necessary to the tale are rendered inoffensive for the evangelical Christian market, and a few surprise twists will catch readers familiar with the story off-balance. CBA readers should enjoy this account of one of the Bible's most courageous heroines. (Jan.) Forecast: Tenney's nonfiction books have sold more than three million copies, so fans will likely gravitate to this debut novel despite the hardcover price. His nonfiction book on Esther, Finding Favor with the King, was published by Bethany House in September. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
This sprawling novel is the retelling of the story of Esther, the Biblical figure whose strength and resourcefulness saved tens of thousands of Jewish lives. The story begins and ends in modern times, when Hadassah, on the eve of her wedding, is let in on a three thousand year old family secret. She is given a letter that has passed down for generations, the letter of Esther to her descendants. At this point the reader is whirl winded back in time to Esther's childhood. Her given name was also Hadassah. She survived the brutal murder of her family by a tribe of Agragites led by the evil Haman. Raised by her cousin, Mordecai, Hadassah is stolen away to the palace to become one of King Xerxes' harem, one of many women who will spend one night with the king, from which he will choose his wife. Mordecai counsels Hadassah to hide conceal her Hebrew roots, and Hadassah chooses the name Star. Through all of her trials and tribulations, Hadassah's faith in God carries her throughshe knows in her heart that God has a plan for her. When Xerxes chooses Hadassah to be his wife, he gives her the name Esther. Years later, Haman is appointed the king's top adviser, and soon he coerces Xerxes to order the destruction of all Jews. Esther's faith, courage, and fortitude are tested to their limits as she tries to save her people. This is an imaginative and layered story, a fine piece of fiction by an author known worldwide for his nonfiction books. 2004, Bethany House/Baker Book House Company, Ages 12 to 16.