I’ve always been a bit of a history buff. In fact, my minor was in history. But my favorite periods to study are some of those with complicated monarchies. There is just something about all the political maneuvering and strategizing that is fascinating. The one thing that is common throughout though, is that many rulers become power hungry at some point. Sometimes it just shows up in different forms.
The Queen’s Handmaid portrays a number of rulers from a time when the Jews were watching for their Messiah. Cleopatra, Marc Antony, Caesar, and Herod are all major players in this novel (though some we don’t really meet). Whether for better or for worse, these rulers and the political games they played, made an impact on the world in which they ruled.
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From page one, this story drew me in. It is difficult to not be entranced in the courts of Cleopatra, which is where this novel starts. Cleopatra ruled with wealth and strong power. She was a ruler that one did not cross. So this is where we first meet Lydia.
It took me awhile to figure Lydia out. Her character is shrouded in a little bit of mystery. It is clear that there are a number of things from her past that make her keep her heart protected. She is a bit of an unlikely heroine, and when she is charged with a task that seems impossible, it pushes the story forward.
There were so many surprises in this novel! As I moved through the story, I my the story’s hold on my imagination grew stronger. The tension in this novel builds fast and steadily, with little relief until the end.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It incorporated so much interesting history. It was quite interesting experiencing what the world may have been like in Jerusalem and Judea when the world was awaiting a Messiah. Combine that with an intense plot, and you have a wonderful book.
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