Star of Persia: Esther's Story

Star of Persia: Esther's Story

by Jill Eileen Smith


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In an effort to complete a war his father had planned to win, King Xerxes calls every governor, satrap, and official in his vast kingdom to his palace in Susa to strategize and feast. When they finally leave, he decides on one more week of frivolity, which ends in the banishment of his favorite wife, something he never intended to do. But when he discovers Esther, Xerxes is sure he has a second chance at happiness.

In her wildest dreams, Esther could never have imagined that she would end up as queen of Persia. Yet she knows better than to become complacent. Another of Xerxes's wives is vying for position, and his closest advisor has a deep and dangerous grudge against Esther's adoptive father. Caught in the middle of palace politics, Esther will find herself in an impossible position: risk her life or consign her people to annihilation.

With her impeccable research and her imaginative flair, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the romantic, suspenseful, and beloved story of Esther, queen of Persia.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800734718
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/03/2020
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 236,291
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the biblical fiction series The Wives of King David, Wives of the Patriarchs, and Daughters of the Promised Land, as well as The Heart of a King and the nonfiction book When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan. Learn more at

Customer Reviews

Star of Persia: Esther's Story 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Sandra Denman 15 hours ago
I absolutely loved this book! Jill Eileen Smith really has a way of drawing you into her books. I really felt like I was there in that moment, in that time period. There was not one dull moment. It was full of action, romance and intrigue. I really enjoyed reading about Esther. She was such a brave and strong woman, and this book really portrayed that. I absolutely recommend it. Jill Eileen Smith has quickly become a favorite author of mine. Go get this book! You won’t regret it! About the Author: Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling and award-winning author of the biblical fiction series The Wives of King David, Wives of the Patriarchs, and Daughters of the Promised Land, as well as The Heart of a King and the nonfiction book When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan. Learn more at I received an advance copy for my honest review. This book is available on, as well as other retailers like and Barnes & Noble.
ARS8 2 days ago
I have read a lot of Esther retellings and have enjoyed pieces and parts of each one. I have really never considered Esther a romantic love story, though the Bible does say the king loved Esther. I guess it may be because I didn't care for King Xerxes and the way he handled his kingdom- let too many choices (big and small) be made by his advisors. And these choices carried with them some hefty costs. What made this story stand out? I liked how author Smith gave us the point of view of Vashti, the first wife and queen, and what she may have been feeling and thinking. Here is a woman that is only briefly mentioned and yet due to her one decision she is banished from her husband and Esther then will eventually take her place. I have read some novels where she is evil, but not this one. I liked how her story is told in Star of Persia. She was more than a backdrop, she was a woman living in a tumultuous time, and though she was queen she had her enemies. Then there was her husband... I also like the handling of Xerxes. Scripture does not paint him in the best light nor does this story. In this story we get to see the vices that actually catches him into a trap and ultimately maybe due to this he learns a little bit of a lesson? Overall I really liked this retelling with the historical background along with Xerxes and Vashti's as well as Esther's points of view. I received a copy of this novel from Revell through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
luvnjesus 5 days ago
Star of Persia written by Jill Eileen Smith is a story of Esther, a Jewish girl living in a country that is full of pagans. A story of rags to riches, in her wildest dreams Esther never imagined becoming a queen of Persia. How does one stay true to God when faced with the impossible. Would Esther be able to hide her Judaism? Love, duty, fear and courage. In the court of Xerxes, which will prevail? I remember celebrating Purim as a child and dressing up as Esther. A little girl’s dream to be a queen. The author did a fantastic job researching the history of the story of Esther and writing Star of Persia. If you enjoy reading historical fiction, I highly recommend reading the book. I received a copy of the book from Revell Publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
MarieBungard 6 days ago
es, the story is the one we know and love.  The one about the beautiful Queen Ester, the Star of Persia .  There's a bit more to it in this retelling. Along with palace intrigue, politics, and jealousy, add a king who can't make decisions without others telling him what to do, a queen who wants a 'normal' married life, a father who finally comes to terms with who he really is, and you have an awesome, can't put it down story. Family relationships abound and add sometimes surprising twists. Personality traits of manipulation, arrogance, scheming, brutality, stubbornness,  and more, clash with strength, internal beauty, loyalty, and love. Throughout the story the sense of God's presence permeates. Might that be because of knowing the story so well? Perhaps.   The threads of the story, just like those of the Biblical portrayal, point to the fact that God always has a reason for everything that happens in the lives of His people. Esther is portrayed as an obedient, loving, and caring person. I would love to have seen more of her internal qualities of strength, wisdom, and leadership. All in all, this is a really good portrayal of the story of Esther, the Star of Persia.
Virginiaw 7 days ago
This is a well written story about Esthe, the Queen of Persia. This goes from when she is six years old to just after she helps to save the Jewish population. I love how she can take a small bible story and bring all of these people to life. You like some people and dislike others. This also shows the difference in how we live today. This is an easy read so anyone can enjoy this story. I received a copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
MindyStaley 10 days ago
I have been a fan of Jill Eileen Smith since I read Sarai (my first book by her), but this book absolutely blew me away! I can now say that The Patriarchs is my favorite series and this is my favorite book by her! Smith takes a story that is relatively short in the Bible and does phenomenal world building through thorough research. The characters are extremely believable, and every possible scenario she dreams up is not contradicted by Scripture (remember, this is Biblical Fiction - authors do take liberty, but good authors make sure nothing contradicts the actual accounts in the Bible). The storyline grabbed my attention from the beginning and I loved how Vashti was portrayed. I was provided a book from the publisher and was not required to give a review. All opinions are my own.
Libbymay117 13 days ago
I didn't love this one. It's really hard for me to get into biblical retellings, and this was not one of the better ones I've read. For one, I hated the way Esther's relationship with Nebechenezar was all sensual. A retelling didn't need that. We didn't need the sexualization of Esther and her husband. We didn't need the details of their encounter and their kisses and the fact that he owned her already. Why? Why did we need this in the story of Esther? The Bible does not tell these things in the book, and I believe that there was a reason for it. The character "Hadassah" Esther herself, was a good character. I appreciated her personality, and she came alive to me, which is the main reason the book came to three stars for me rather than two. Her virtue and her ability to think for herself were admirable, and I appreciated the way that God's will and guidance were included in the story, despite the situation that she was in. I looked forward to seeing the way that the author would include the other incidents in the book of Esther, and she did a good job ingraining them into her main plotline. I personally didn't love the book so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but especially not for girls under 16. Thank you Revell for a copy of this book in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required, an all opinions were my own.
KatherineBartlett 13 days ago
Star of Persia is a new take on Esther's story in the Bible. We all know Esther and how she saved her people from the wicked Haman but Jill Eileen Smith goes beyond the traditional story to give it a little more detail. For instance, in the Bible we know that King Xerxes banishes Queen Vashti and then begins looking for another queen. But since he was a king, would it have been possible for him to already have other wives? I never thought of this possibility until I read Star of Persia. In this story, King Xerxes has other wives and obviously concubines other than Esther but she turned out to be his favorite. At first, I thought not much could be added to the story of Esther into a book, but Jill Eileen Smith did a great job at weaving historical facts with the actual Biblical story.
Cherylkochbooks 13 days ago
To be honest, I am not that familiar with Esther's story or have that much knowledge about King Xerxes. Yet, I am familiar with Mrs. Smith's books. Mrs. Smith really does her research and is a great storyteller. She brings to live all the women of the Bible. I have been looking forward to reading this book ever since I first heard about it. Well I can tell you that it did not disappoint. It was great to get to know Esther. She may have started out innocent but by the end of the story; she had grown into a very wise woman. Her faith in God is strong and refreshing. Amen. Do not be fooled by the portrayal of King Xerxes in the movie, The 300. He is not like that. He did care for his wife even Vashti. Although, she may have shamed the King. She was not in just in her reason or action. Star of Persia is not to be missed! Mrs. Smith shares the beautiful story of Esther.
MJSH 14 days ago
Jill Eileen Smith is one of my favorite biblical fiction authors and I have loved every one of her books that I have read so far. Star of Persia is no exception. Rich in details of the time period, infused with historical accounts of Xerxes and his reign, supported by Biblical accounts from the book of Esther, and beautifully layered with fictional events, Star of Persia offers a unique look at what may have occurred behind the scenes as Esther gathered her courage to help her people. The story is told in several third-person points of view, mostly from Hadassah/Esther, Mordecai, Xerxes, and Haman. Surprisingly, Vashti has a voice at the beginning of the story and Amestris, Xerxes' other wife who is the mother of Darius and Artaxerxes, also has a voice. I've read other biblical fiction where Vashti is the mother of Xerxes' heirs but, apparently, historical accounts conflict on this matter. Xerxes' thoughts throughout the book made him more personal and down-to-earth, someone whom Esther probably knew and loved well. Portraying the biblical events through the eyes of multiple people helped the plot to bloom in full color. If you enjoy biblical fiction, you will absolutely love this book. Jill Eileen Smith has a gift for bringing the Bible to life. I received a copy of the book from Revell/Baker Publishing Group via Interviews & Reviews and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
TheBeccaFiles 15 days ago
*3.5 stars* With Esther being such a favorite biblical character for women, her story can be quite the risk to undertake. By now, unless readers are brand new to biblical fiction, there's a good chance that they've already read at least one other retelling of Esther's life. As someone who has read a few others myself, I would have to say that even though I enjoyed this one, it admittedly hasn't dethroned my favorite. In no way does it mean it wasn't a solid read, it just means there's also a lot of good competition out there. I liked that this telling included parts that were from Vashti's perspective. I don't think I've seen that before but it gave an added layer of depth. I wish we could have seen from her following her banishment, but just as in the Bible, her tale ends when Esther steps in. I also liked getting a glimpse into the mind of Xerxes. It was easier to see him as a man and not just a king. In some ways I was even able to relate to him. He clearly had an approval addiction, and because of it he was easily misled. Over time he grew more and more paranoid as he wasn't able to trust anyone anymore. By looking to other men instead of God for direction, he found himself wrought with anxiety. I am always one who greatly encourages reading the author's note at the end when they are included, but I have to admit that this was one that didn't sit right with me. As I was reading this story there were pieces that seemed to stand out, and I wasn't sure if it was due to creative license or through actual research. For example, this was the first read that I recall adding an extra wife (Amestris) to the main narrative. In the author's note she stated that she tried something different by weaving the "secular history into the biblical story." I understand that there is secular history about Xerxes that doesn't quite match up, but it bothered me to see that it appeared the secular history was elevated above the Bible in order for the pieces to fit together. It also bothered me to see that it was secular HISTORY vs Bible STORY, when the Bible itself IS history. Maybe it's just me reading into it too much, but it didn't sit right with me. Even though there were elements that I wasn't fond of, overall I did enjoy the read and could still easily recommend it to others. At the end of the day this is a work of fiction, and should not be looked upon as the ultimate truth. Instead, we should be looking to the Bible for that. It was still an interesting and engaging read. *I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishers. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
FHlady 16 days ago
Jill Eileen Smith is one of my favorite Biblical Fiction authors. In her newest relief, she brings the well known story of Hadassah known as Queen Esther to life. With a strong Biblical foundation and excellent historical detail of the life and times in Persia during King Xerxes reign, this is a beautiful read that's hard to put down. It definitely expresses the theme that if God wants us to do something He will see us through it. Recommend for those who love Biblical fiction and authors Lynn Austin, Mesu Andrews and Tessa Afshar. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.
cristal6 17 days ago
This was an interesting story, even though it seemed hard to read. The subject line is about Queen Esther and begins when she is a small girl as Hadassah when she meets Queen Vashti. This comes from the book of Esther in the Bible, so it was not hard to figure out what was coming next, even though it was fictionalized at the same time for easy writing. I have given this a 3-star rating, as it was difficult reading, especially at the beginning, but you will enjoy it. Star of Persia came out for sale March 3, 2020. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.
benhli38 17 days ago
I've read a few of Jill Eileen Smith's books and every one of them are beautifully well-written stories. So, it comes as no surprise that Star of Persia: Esther's Story is as wonderful as her other works. In this version of Esther's story, she meets Vashti, the wife of Xerxes, as a young girl and is told by Vashti, "You have a place in history" more or less. Just as we're told within the pages of the Bible about Esther, her story here is just as perilous. Many years later Xerxes is planning to attack and subdue Greece, a feast to honor as well for his Queen, Vashti. But she refuses to come when he calls on her. Incensed he listens to his princes and puts her away to find a wife better suited for him. In that sense, it reads somewhat like One Night with the King, but not completely close. Smith's version of the story is a bit more harrowing. Mordecai hears of a plot to kill Xerxes, of course, but some times things change. Overall, I have to say I loved this book. I have to strongly praise Smith's efforts in retelling a story that has been re-told a few times. The dialogue is fresh and new. You get a sense for and of places she describes, as well as bringing to life some very complicated characters. Would I recommend this book to others? Hands down I would. With all of that said I end with these words, as usual; I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest review.
Leonas_Lines 19 days ago
Book Review of "Star of Persia" by Jill Eileen Smith First off, I must say that "Star of Persia"--"Esther's Story" is more than just another re-telling of the biblical story of Esther. Though it indeed is that, it is so much more. It is a story that adds historical and imaginative accounts to the biblical truth in a way that draws the reader in from the very first page and holds their interest until the very last page, actually the story stays in one's mind, lingering, long after that last page. Jill Eileen Smith does a wonderful job of making each character come alive and seem real, bringing the reader to form a relationship with each one. The story is about Esther, but it is also about Mordecai, her uncle and his wife and family. It is about King Xerxes,and his thoughts and feelings, not only as a King, but also as a person. It is about Queen Vashti and Queen Amestris, the two queens before Esther and how each of them react to their roles in the kingdom. It is also about the servants, maids and eunachs under the King's rule, plus, of course, Haman and all the political undertones of those days. Each character is revealed to the reader through their thoughts and actions making the story come alive more than if it were just told by Esther herself. One sees how the thoughts, feelings and actions people have not only effect how they live their lives, but also how they effect others lives around them. One also sees how God often works in the background to bring about His plans and purposes even though people think He's absent. Jill Eileen Smith shows the reader what is happening on each page rather than just telling them, as she weaves fiction with truth into a wonderful story which is biblically based but also formed from historical facts. Though I have read the bible story many times and a few other fiction and non-fiction books that have been written about Esther, I have to say that this book "Star of Persia" is one of the most inspirational, informative, interesting and imaginative fictional works on Esther that I have ever read. It also clearly shows God weaving His plan and purpose for Esther's life and His people, the Jews, lives throughout each event. Plus the title and the cover are most intriguing and eye catching. I highly recommend this book, it's a page turner that will not disappoint you. I was given a copy of this book free by Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. --Leona J. Atkinson
MzKCKitty 20 days ago
This is the story of Queen Esther from the bible fleshed out into a novel. I have read other similar versions of this story but love every one. This one is particularly rich in details of the time and place and the characters are all fleshed out to the point that they seem very real. Jill Eileen Smith always tells a great story and this one is no exception. I highly recommend this book to all lovers of historical and Christian fiction. I have voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from NetGalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Jamie122 23 days ago
Such a delightful read! Jill did a wonderful job of adding depth to the supporting characters by using secular history for insight. I loved the little hints of palace intrigue that helped pull the story along. God gave us everything we needed for His purposes in the biblical account, but Jill has done a fantastic job (as she always does) at using a biblical character as inspiration for a novel meant for enjoyment and entertainment. You won't be disappointed reading this book - whether you are familiar with the story of Esther or not. Whether you are a Christian or not. I requested a copy of the book through the publishers blog review program. An honest review, good or bad, is not required but is requested.
ReadReviewRejoice 24 days ago
The fact a book is a Biblical fiction would normally stop me from reading a book, but I had to read this one. You see of all of the stories in the Bible Esther is my second favorite old testament book, it's just so beautiful, Joseph is my favorite, Ruth is my third favorite. Now if you've followed me long you may have noticed I rarely read Biblical fiction, because I want to make sure I know the true account of the story. Makes sense, right? But I have one weakness in Biblical fiction and that is Esther … I know the story well enough to keep facts straight from fiction, I read Esther several times a year. Now, the second reason I had to read this book is the cover … It has purple, my favorite color. Just so pretty, and I love it. For the "story" I was happy to find a story that was accurate, showed a side of Xerxes that made me see him as more of a human? I've enjoyed reading Esther and Xerxes' romance but at times it is hard to realize that Xerxes was only a man, a human like anyone else. What I was not expecting was to read from Vashti's point of view, which was really interesting, and different and intriguing. As far as Biblical fiction goes I must say this is a one of a kind, lovely, and informative, yet interesting story. There is violence mentioned, backstabbing, and killing as well. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Gloria_Moseley 25 days ago
I wish I could give "Star Of Persia" one-hundred stars. In this awe-inspiring tale, Jill Eileen Smith has written a masterpiece that is the finest retelling of Queen Esther that you could ever hope to read. "Star Of Persia" will have you feeling as though you are living and seeing the heart of every person within this book. It shows us the unwavering faith of Queen Esther in our Almighty God, who though He seemed silent, was with her in every step she took; that led to the saving of the Jewish nation from complete annihilation. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through the publisher was not required to write a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
Peanut977 26 days ago
I have read the book of Esther in the Bible several times but I enjoyed the way this story brings the characters to life. The author clearly did a lot of research, which she always does, and I appreciated the combining of the biblical account with other written history. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
Nicole_C 27 days ago
“ Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Award-winning author Jill Eileen Smith’s latest biblical fiction novel, Star of Persia: Esther’s Story, is a fascinating look into the life of the beautiful Queen Esther, whose favor with King Xerxes is put to the ultimate test as she risks her life to save her people from death. Jill Eileen Smith is a master at bringing Scripture to life and authentically filling in the details, which encourages her readers to dig deeper into the Bible and discover more about the word of God. The story of Esther has been retold many times in biblical fiction, but Jill Eileen Smith’s account is by far my favorite. She used Scripture along with details from secular history in writing Star of Persia, as several of the individuals from the Book of Esther in the Old Testament are also historical figures. Jill Eileen Smith is my go-to-author for biblical fiction, and she consistently shares the incredible stories of women from the Old Testament in such a powerful way that has me pulling out my Bible and wanting to read more of the Scripture. In Star of Persia, Jill Eileen Smith also shares the message that even in his silence, God is always watching and willing to guide us. Star of Persia is highly recommended for readers of biblical fiction and historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book by Revell and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine. “Take good care of her. She is one who could come to great favor or great harm for her beauty.”
Nicnac63 27 days ago
If I had to pick a favorite woman from the Old Testament it would be Esther. I've always been touched and inspired by her strength, bravery, and faith. The Star of Persia is a wonderfully creative rendition of the story of Esther, showcasing how God can use us in His own way and in His own timing, no matter our faults or shortcomings. I really enjoyed the vivid imagery this story creates and the perfect blend of fictional and historical details. It is evident that the author did extensive research that makes this story come alive. Adding different POVs was a great addition, although I wish more of Vashti's POV was used. I loved walking in Esther's shoes and seeing what life may have been like during her time. She shows growth, as does Mordecai, and the themes of faith and compassion shine through. I'm never disappointed with a book by Jill Eileen Smith. She is a wonderful storyteller, creating vibrant scenes that make Bible stories come alive. #starofpersia #jilleileensmith #revellreads I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.
SunnieReviews 27 days ago
This was my first book from the author. I can only say that this might possibly be my most favorite read of the year. It is soooo good. This book is an absolute page-turner full of action, and without any dull pages to skip past. The author literally makes you feel as though you are living in that time, experiencing all the things that the characters in this wonderful biblical fiction are experiencing. It is fast moving in the days of Persia, with political conflict and "familial" conflict as well. Beautiful Queen Esther is chosen by the King and hides her personal heritage from all and wonders why she was chosen as queen? But of course, there is a purpose for which God chose her to be in the position she has found herself in. I love how the author has intertwined fiction and scriptural facts together to make an enthralling tale. It may be the first book I have read from this author, but I will be looking for more. Totally enjoyed the book! I received a complimentary book from the publisher. All thoughts are my own.
connywithay 3 months ago
“Why did she think for a single moment that God cared for a lonely young woman in a foreign palace in a foreign land,” Esther ponders in Jill Eileen Smith’s Biblical fiction novel, Star of Persia: Esther’s Story. ~ What ~ This three-hundred-and-sixty-eight-page paperback targets those who enjoy an enhanced version of the Biblical story of Queen Esther and her oftentimes lonely relationship with King Xerxes. Containing no profanity or explicit sexual scenes, topics of execution and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. An author’s note, acknowledgments, biography, and advertisements complete the book. In this retold story taken from the Old Testament, King Xerxes banishes his favorite wife when she would not show herself at one of his banquets. Forlorn, depressed, and quick to make rash decisions, the dictator trusts the wrong people continually but finds new love in young Hadassah, a Jewess who has been unwantedly chosen as his new queen. As she falls in love with a Persian leader who is almost two decades older than she, the renamed Esther must not only deal with her secret of being a Jew and solitude lifestyle but also a vicious, scheming wife, a over-achieving advisor, and others. ~ Why ~ The book of Esther is one of my most cherished stories in the Word of God, so I was excited to read this rendition. I like the secular history interjected throughout the story as it relates to palace politics, interaction with guards and servants, and family-related dynasty outcomes. The trustworthiness and sincerity of young Esther are well developed and promoted between her relationship with the king and her cousin, Mordecai. ~ Why Not ~ Those who do not like fictionalized Bible stories may pass on this one as the author has used ample liberties to enhance the story. With Vashti having met Esther when the younger girl was only six years old, parts of the story are fabricated. Some may find the mix of secular history blended into Scripture confusing, but it does help comprehend Persia’s military and kingdom nances. ~ Wish ~ I liked the detailed descriptions of palace life in Susa during Old Testament times. I wish the novel was more accurate to the Bible and included the full story (however, the author does explain why parts are omitted). With a plethora of characters, it would be helpful having a list at the beginning of the book of which ones are fictional. ~ Want ~ If you enjoy learning about Esther’s rise to becoming a queen and how she had to stand up for her belief in God and her people, this is an intriguing read that has plenty of fiction added. Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am not obligated to review.