Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jewel of Persia, by Roseanna M. White

Jewel of PersiaWhen Xerxes, King of Persia, calls you to be his wife, you do not say no.  Not even if you are a Jew.  Kasia is just a teenager when she weds Xerxes, but she quickly wins his heart and devotion, much to the chagrin of the Queen and Haman.  Kasia accompanies him to war, but their love may be his downfall.  After years of prayer to Jehovah for the protection of her husband as well as her people, Kasia finds the Jews' salvation in her childhood friend, Esther.  Esther is chosen to be the Queen of Persia, and her role in history will never be forgotten, thanks to the love that Kasia has for her friend, as well as the love she has for her husband.

Knowing what a phenomenal writer Roseanna is, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to read this book.  And once I started, I just could not stop.  Once again, Roseanna has made history come alive, and awakened a Biblical story in ways I would never have imagined.

I would have thought that reading a romance about a man with so many wives would feel contradictory, but it really did not.  The characters were developed so clearly, you knew each woman's place in Xerxes' life.  And the story was no less romantic than had Kasia been his only bride.  I know that Xerxes is a bloody ruler, but somehow, Roseanna has made him somewhat endearing.  She does not sugar coat the fierceness of his personality, nor the often cruel and violent things he did, but through his love of Kasia, we see a softer side of him. 

The book is highly spiritual, as many members of its cast of characters rely on blind faith, even when it makes no sense.  The story stands as a lesson for Christian readers to have that same kind of faith.  However, because this is a story of the salvation of the Jews in the Persian kingdom, it will likely appeal to Jewish readers as well.  The historical aspect will also appeal to fans of historical fiction.  And it would be perfect reading for a book club as well, since it will appeal to so many different kinds of readers.

The book is beautiful, and flows like a piece of music.  The setting is so rich, I almost envisioned a lavish Broadway production in my mind as I read it.  This is certain to be yet another success for Roseanna.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.