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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 i 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.


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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 i 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.

30 review for Star of Persia: Esther's Story

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Delightful fast-moving version of the Biblical story of Esther. I liked the way the author mixed in historical characters who lived at the same time and were part of the royal family, with the Old Testament narrative. She set the story after the Persian defeat by the Greeks and equated the name Ahasuerus [in the Bible] with that of Xerxes. She did change the ending of the original story, but with no detriment to it. I also appreciated her giving logical motivations to the characters' actions. Sh Delightful fast-moving version of the Biblical story of Esther. I liked the way the author mixed in historical characters who lived at the same time and were part of the royal family, with the Old Testament narrative. She set the story after the Persian defeat by the Greeks and equated the name Ahasuerus [in the Bible] with that of Xerxes. She did change the ending of the original story, but with no detriment to it. I also appreciated her giving logical motivations to the characters' actions. She kept stressing how God can use a person in His own time, and in His own way, for His purposes, which they may not understand. In spite of her resistance, Esther kept asking herself why was she chosen? Recommended. I thank LibraryThing for an ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mesu

    Real people with real flaws and palpable emotions play your heartstrings in this unforgettable telling of the Bible’s greatest Jewish heroine. Jill Eileen Smith’s conversations style makes Esther’s story relatable, its complex history understandable, and its details fascinating. A must-read for every biblical fiction fan.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    Engaging retelling of parts of the book of Esther. I liked how the author started sections of the book with the verse(s) about to be brought to life in the pages that followed. I feel like I've visited Susa and learned new things about Esther and other key figures during this time. This is my first Jill Eileen Smith novel, but will not be my last.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Originally posted on Inkwell Inspirations “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, whi Originally posted on Inkwell Inspirations “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.”

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Van Mourik

    I have been a fan of Jill Eileen Smith since I first stumbled upon The Crimson Cord (Rahab's Story) at my local Barnes & Noble. I quickly gobbled up her Wives of the Patriarchs series shortly thereafter, and have been following her books ever since. Her previous release, The Heart of a King: The Loves of King Solomon (a standalone/compilation novel) was underwhelming for me as a reader. Perhaps it was because I just wasn't interested in the story or the time period, or because I had a hard time w I have been a fan of Jill Eileen Smith since I first stumbled upon The Crimson Cord (Rahab's Story) at my local Barnes & Noble. I quickly gobbled up her Wives of the Patriarchs series shortly thereafter, and have been following her books ever since. Her previous release, The Heart of a King: The Loves of King Solomon (a standalone/compilation novel) was underwhelming for me as a reader. Perhaps it was because I just wasn't interested in the story or the time period, or because I had a hard time with the pacing or characters, but it just wasn't "my thing" if that makes sense. Still, I anxiously awaited the arrival of Star of Persia in my mailbox. I do love Jill Eileen Smith as an author because she has a way of breathing new life into well-known Biblical figures, full of emotion and intrigue. This *may* be my favorite Esther retelling of all time. I loved how multi-dimensional this story was, and I enjoyed the unique blend of both Esther and Vashti's perspectives. Vashti is one of those figures who is often overlooked as "the wife who made Xerxes angry." If you've seen the VeggieTales version of her story for instance, she's the one who refuses to make the King a sandwich. When she doesn't, she gets tossed out of her home in the middle of the night with her curlers still stuck in her hair. Of course, that's for humor's sake, but I think there was more to Vashti's story than that, and I absolutely loved how Smith fleshed her story out and added depth. I also enjoyed the portrayal of Xerxes in Star of Persia. Without giving away any spoilers, I enjoyed how Smith explored the idea of a king with weaknesses at a time where historically men were expected to be warriors and leaders. However, at this point in his timeline, Xerxes reign was on the cusp of loss and failure. This provided for some interesting opportunities to explore character growth. Jill Eileen Smith's inclusion of unique perspectives, as well as her blend of Biblical truth and secular history, creates a unique and fresh take on my favorite Queen. Smith's Esther shines like a star in the darkness and her portrayal of a woman finding her voice, standing up for her people, and acting boldly on faith is sorely needed in times like today. May many others be encouraged to shine bright like stars through Esther's story in Star of Persia. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

    I have read several accounts of the story of Esther from the Old Testament. It is an account of God faithfulness to his people. Esther's one night with the King saved her people. Several things I liked about this account was the historical account to the biblical account. Esther had replaced Queen Vashti when Vashti refused to be paraded by her King at a banquet. This account addressed why she did not. To protect herself and her husband. Once the King had set Vashti's fate in motion, he could no I have read several accounts of the story of Esther from the Old Testament. It is an account of God faithfulness to his people. Esther's one night with the King saved her people. Several things I liked about this account was the historical account to the biblical account. Esther had replaced Queen Vashti when Vashti refused to be paraded by her King at a banquet. This account addressed why she did not. To protect herself and her husband. Once the King had set Vashti's fate in motion, he could not go back. The drama continues for the power hungry in King Xerxes reign. Another account that was fascinating was how a good Jewish girl ended up in a King's Haram. She would know that once the King had her, her life would be at the Haram of the king. Another words, no life at all. How did she find favor with King's trusted advisors and how was she able to approach the King without being killed. All this is accounted for in a cultural context that is true to biblical and historical accounts. Esther's fears and faith is put on display and I truly enjoyed it! A special thank you to Revell and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    V. Palmer

    Biblical Fiction is such a wonderful medium to better understand the pains, heartaches, betrayals, and struggles of our heroes of faith! Star of Persia: Esther's Story by Jill Eileen Smith is another unique look at what Esther's life and struggles may have looked like -- and it's definitely worth reading! I was truly impressed with the way the author was able to breath life into this account that's been read and told many times. While the author gives readers hope for Esther's happiness, the unsa Biblical Fiction is such a wonderful medium to better understand the pains, heartaches, betrayals, and struggles of our heroes of faith! Star of Persia: Esther's Story by Jill Eileen Smith is another unique look at what Esther's life and struggles may have looked like -- and it's definitely worth reading! I was truly impressed with the way the author was able to breath life into this account that's been read and told many times. While the author gives readers hope for Esther's happiness, the unsavory and heartbreaking realities of Esther's life are not idealized as a fairytale. The addition of certain historical details gives fresh insight into the Biblical account, adding unique significance to some of the key moments and choices of Esther's life. At it's core, Esther's stand and testimony -- the story we know by heart -- remains unchanged, but there are still fresh lessons to be learned, revelations to be hand, and stands of faith to be made! Ultimately, the character development -- especially for the people who weren't Esther -- is what impressed me the most in Star of Persia! The addition of Amestris (one of Xerxes' wives) added a powerful thread to the palace politics that could have been (and history shows they often were) at play. Mordecai was humanized, becoming a man who made fearful mistakes and also had to take a stand of faith. Xerxes was developed past his womanizing ways and intense rages, showing readers a broken man who you desperately hoped would do the right thing. And the best part is that this complex cast of characters shows just how much God's hand was at work! Four Stars ~ Star of Persia: Esther's Story by Jill Eileen Smith blends fact and fiction with a call for action, faith, and courage. Star of Persia is a standalone, but the author has many other wonderful titles in her backlist for readers to enjoy! Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    MJSH

    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 i 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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    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 gr 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Loraine

    Jill Eileen Smith is one of my favorite Biblical Fiction authors. In her newest release 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 Au Jill Eileen Smith is one of my favorite Biblical Fiction authors. In her newest release 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kailey

    I really liked this version of Esther’s story. I’m not typically a biblical fiction fan, but I did enjoy this book. It made me want to open my Bible and reread the book of Esther. I liked how the story was broken into parts. I also enjoyed the way we got so many different character perspectives. To me that made the story better. I would have liked to see more about Vashti after she was sent away. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. A I really liked this version of Esther’s story. I’m not typically a biblical fiction fan, but I did enjoy this book. It made me want to open my Bible and reread the book of Esther. I liked how the story was broken into parts. I also enjoyed the way we got so many different character perspectives. To me that made the story better. I would have liked to see more about Vashti after she was sent away. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Once again Smith has done a fabulous job with the story of Esther. She has a way of making the characters come to life and enables us to imagine living during the time of Esther. Her research into Biblical history is well done. I love detailed descriptions and all the wonderful characters that came with it. I consider Esther an amazing woman of her time and it's because of her courage and love for the Lord that she's one of my favorite people. A perfect example for us women today. I believe tha Once again Smith has done a fabulous job with the story of Esther. She has a way of making the characters come to life and enables us to imagine living during the time of Esther. Her research into Biblical history is well done. I love detailed descriptions and all the wonderful characters that came with it. I consider Esther an amazing woman of her time and it's because of her courage and love for the Lord that she's one of my favorite people. A perfect example for us women today. I believe that the Lord puts us in a certain place at a certain time. For reasons unknown to Esther that's exactly what God did with her. I believe He done it to bend the king's ear so to speak. This was a good story. One that I was really looking forward and it didn't disappoint. This book y'all! It will take you back in time and you won't want to come back to the present time. You'll want to be a part of Esther's family and King Xerxes court. Smith can make you sit on the edge of your seat, hold your breath waiting to see what happens in the next scene. She can also make you want to read Esther's story in the Bible because you'll want to know how and where Smith got her idea to write this book came from. God's love ya'll is bigger than we can imagine and this story in my opinion will help you come to understand how God uses and chooses people. Some can be people that we could never imagine or why He chose to use that person. Esther's perfect example. It's not just men that God uses. It can be anyone. The only thing that I didn't like was jealousy that went on in the court.. It's also here in today's world too. Not a good thing to have and to that I say welcome to the world of politics. Such a nasty business. It can lead to dangerous situations that can be averted but you know how people are .They only want those things for themselves and that's Satan at his best. The cover of this book! Just amazing how it already pulls you into the story even before you open the book. Too bad there is only 5 stars. I'd love to give this book more. More because Biblical fiction is becoming a true favorite genre. I highly recommend! There's nothing like a Biblical fiction book that I truly love. This story is proof of fact and fiction woven together perfectly. I received this book courtesy of Baker Publishing Group/Revell through Netgalley. .

  13. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    The story of Esther has always been one of my favorites from the Bible. Not just because of Esther's courage in the face of possible death, but also for the way it shows God at work in all details—big and small—of our lives. It's such a good reminder of the love and care He has for His people. Jill Eileen Smith has brought Esther to life in a way that readers will really enjoy. This book moves quickly and touches on all parts of the familiar story. There were some historical facts woven throughou The story of Esther has always been one of my favorites from the Bible. Not just because of Esther's courage in the face of possible death, but also for the way it shows God at work in all details—big and small—of our lives. It's such a good reminder of the love and care He has for His people. Jill Eileen Smith has brought Esther to life in a way that readers will really enjoy. This book moves quickly and touches on all parts of the familiar story. There were some historical facts woven throughout which were new to me, and I appreciated those. Learning new things is my favorite part of reading historical fiction. One thing that was different about this book was it focused on palace intrigue with regards to King Xerxes' other wives and the maneuvering that some women of the harem might have been doing to jockey for position, whether for themselves or their children. From the author's note at the end, I understand this was based from real history. While we know King Xerxes had a harem and obviously we think of the other girls brought to the palace with Esther, I'd never really thought about what the other wives might have thought as Xerxes searched for a new queen. Although there's no explicit content, I would not recommend this for readers under age 16 just because of the nature of the story. But if you've ever wanted to check out a fictionalized retelling of this brave woman's call to save her people under the most unlikely circumstances, I did enjoy this one and feel like you would, too. I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All thoughts in this review are my own. This review originated at http://reviewsbyerin.dreamwidth.org

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jypsy

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a review. Star of Persia By: Jill Eileen Smith REVIEW ☆☆☆☆ I don't know much about the biblical history behind Star of Persia. Nevertheless, Jill Eileen Smith has crafted a compelling insightful story that even I understand. I especially enjoy the well written intermingling of fact and fiction to create a seamless tale. Esther is a beautiful woman who will be queen. Beauty is a blessing and a curse, bring I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a review. Star of Persia By: Jill Eileen Smith REVIEW ☆☆☆☆ I don't know much about the biblical history behind Star of Persia. Nevertheless, Jill Eileen Smith has crafted a compelling insightful story that even I understand. I especially enjoy the well written intermingling of fact and fiction to create a seamless tale. Esther is a beautiful woman who will be queen. Beauty is a blessing and a curse, bringing favor but inviting harm as well. Esther wonders why she was chosen for the life she is living. The story reminds us that only God has these answers, but we can trust he is using all things for good. Regardless of past deeds, anyone at any time may prove useful. Esther's life was purposefully chosen to carry out God's plan for her. Esther is a thought provoking character, and this story has stayed with me. I enjoyed reading Star of Persia, biblical aspects aside, simply as an excellent story. If this suits your tastes, then I do hope you pick up a copy because you will not be disappointed.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    Star of Persia is the newest novel by Jill Eileen Smith, and it’s about Esther. We all know the story of how a Jewish girl became queen in the Persian’s king court and saved her people from the evil Haman who would see all the Jews annihilated. I love Esther’s story, it is one of my favorites, and I actually know it quite well, so I was curious to see what this story would bring. This was a very fast read for me, I just flew through the pages. Jill paints a very vivid picture of the court, and a Star of Persia is the newest novel by Jill Eileen Smith, and it’s about Esther. We all know the story of how a Jewish girl became queen in the Persian’s king court and saved her people from the evil Haman who would see all the Jews annihilated. I love Esther’s story, it is one of my favorites, and I actually know it quite well, so I was curious to see what this story would bring. This was a very fast read for me, I just flew through the pages. Jill paints a very vivid picture of the court, and also the position and daily life of the Jewish community. I love her interpretation of Mordecai, how he first is very secretive with his heritage, but finds the courage to speak out. The story of Esther was very moving, too, and I really enjoyed it. For me, there were a few minor flaws though. The first chapters are from Vasthi’s view point, which I really liked, and I thought we might get a side story featuring her, but she then disappears from the page. I also would have liked to see more interaction with the other women, this story focusses heavily on the romance, but I would have liked to see more about her daily life and harem intricacies. But all in all, I really liked this story, it was very entertaining and a good mix of the Biblical story and history, with interesting characters. i received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    RTC Basically, it was an okay story-of-Esther book, and it followed the same pattern of most of Jill Eileen Smith's books. I honestly don't know that I would've had Vashti and the queen whose name I can't spell be different, but then I still think of Vashti as a little spoiled when in reality she was like, "Can we not break cherished customs just because you and your buddies had a couple beers?" But anyways. I also wished Smith had chosen a different story for Esther since there didn't seem to be RTC Basically, it was an okay story-of-Esther book, and it followed the same pattern of most of Jill Eileen Smith's books. I honestly don't know that I would've had Vashti and the queen whose name I can't spell be different, but then I still think of Vashti as a little spoiled when in reality she was like, "Can we not break cherished customs just because you and your buddies had a couple beers?" But anyways. I also wished Smith had chosen a different story for Esther since there didn't seem to be one in existence. (view spoiler)[Let her have daughters or something! I don't know. I just hate it when people could give characters 5,001 kids, and they give them none. (hide spoiler)] And that's about it. I'll post more of a review later, but it was okay, just not splendiferous. I kept imagining the stories I grew up on as a kid (I forget their names, but the ones with Derek, Margo, and Moki) so I was confused when it didn't line up with that. xD Funny how I remember the Esther and David stories better than most ... *shrugs*

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Bates

    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 fa 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.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Raechel Lenore

    The account of Esther is a beautiful story of strength, courage, and obedience. Esther did what was difficult for the love of her God, her cousin Mordicai, and her people. I really enjoyed "Star of Persia" and its telling of this Biblical account. It was written beautifully and captivatingly, inviting the reader into its pages. The characters were all written realistically, and it was easy to relate to Esther and even understand the King too. The entire story came vividly to life in my mind, and The account of Esther is a beautiful story of strength, courage, and obedience. Esther did what was difficult for the love of her God, her cousin Mordicai, and her people. I really enjoyed "Star of Persia" and its telling of this Biblical account. It was written beautifully and captivatingly, inviting the reader into its pages. The characters were all written realistically, and it was easy to relate to Esther and even understand the King too. The entire story came vividly to life in my mind, and I loved to see what happened next - even though I know the Biblical account.Esther was written as a beautiful, gentle soul and I really enjoyed her character. I do wonder if the Biblical Esther would've hesitated as much as the portrayal in this book did, but it was understandable. I've just always felt that Esther would've been of great faith to do what she had to do "for such a time as this", and to be honest, her relationship with God in this book didn't feel like it had a lot of depth. It was still present of course, and the overall theme was good, but I didn't feel that spiritual connection as I usually expect to see in Biblical Fiction. And I know God was never really mentioned in the Biblical account of Esther either, but He does show through it without His name being said.  The author has a great way of weaving historical background into the story, and I would definitely say it is more in the historical fiction genre, with Biblical Fiction being second. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and found its story captivating. I look forward to the authors next novel! This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing/Revell, through Interviews & Reviews.  

  19. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Harris

    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 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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nay Denise

    Received an eARC and finished copy from the publisher for review. Wow! Where do I even begin with this glorious story. This is by far my favorite Esther story I've read. A solid 5 star rating for this! Jill has such a way with words. The way she wove the entire book of Esther into a fictional novel was outstanding. Her character development and attention to details were both phenomenal! She created a beautiful love story while maintaining the integrity of scripture. She blended fiction with truth Received an eARC and finished copy from the publisher for review. Wow! Where do I even begin with this glorious story. This is by far my favorite Esther story I've read. A solid 5 star rating for this! Jill has such a way with words. The way she wove the entire book of Esther into a fictional novel was outstanding. Her character development and attention to details were both phenomenal! She created a beautiful love story while maintaining the integrity of scripture. She blended fiction with truth seamlessly. Hadassah better known as Esther was such a strong character! She was kind, she was beautiful inside her heart and she worked hard. I loved seeing her age over the course of the novel. In face of danger and drama she never batted an eye or backed down. She stood like a queen with grace. The purity of her heart amazed in the face of betrayal and heartbreak. She had her moments when she whined and complained, but she never let things keep her down. As queen, she didn't abuse her power. She relied on the Lord and kept strong to her faith. I loved her! King Xerxes was incredible man at heart, but he allowed fear to hold him back. I didn't like how he relied to heavily on the opinion of men. The men on his council never ceased to lead him astray. I feel like he should have been more involved in his rulings and decisions, but seeing him make mistakes, realize them and work on changing was crucial as well. He may have been king, but his weakness stemmed from his fear of failing. I though she wrote him well especially since most stories portray him as an egotistical man. I enjoyed the vulnerable and sweet side of him. The romance was so cute! I never expected Jill to write such a beautiful romance between Esther and Xerxes, but she did and I swooned over it. The way they talked to one another. They way they loved each other beyond the surface level was everything. I thought that they were cutest thing ever! Considering the times during the book of Esther I loved their romance. Mordecai will always be an amazing man to me, but in this book he seemed a bit whiny. I still enjoyed his words of wisdom, his strength and his resolve. Seeing it all play out in fiction made me love him even more. Vashti was amazing! In the Bible we really don't get know much about her, so I was excited that Jill created a beautiful personality for Vashti. I loved her approach at crafting the queen and especially how she wrote her in the prologue! Perfection. Haman will forever be an evil person to bot in scripture and in fiction. He's egotistical, full of pride, a glutton for power. He was a smart villain who pissed me off until the very end. He got his perfect ending. Memucan was an idiot. He was like a puppy that did whatever he was told in order to gain power. He was honestly useless to the story, lol. Amestris was a perfectly written antagonist. She was prideful and gluttonous for power. She annoyed me from start to finish. I wish she had repercussions for her actions, but overall she played her role in the story very well. Atossa, the mother of Xerxes, was an interesting old woman. She wasn't mean, but she also wasn't nice. She kind of played favorites and let things go as they were even when she knew things shouldn't have. I liked that she didn't use her power as Queen Mother, but I do wish that she was more active in the story. Overall, this was a phenomenal read and my new favorite for a novel on Esther! Highly recommend it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nay Denise

    Received an eARC and finished copy from the publisher for review. Wow! Where do I even begin with this glorious story. This is by far my favorite Esther story I've read. A solid 5 star rating for this! Jill has such a way with words. The way she wove the entire book of Esther into a fictional novel was outstanding. Her character development and attention to details were both phenomenal! She created a beautiful love story while maintaining the integrity of scripture. She blended fiction with truth Received an eARC and finished copy from the publisher for review. Wow! Where do I even begin with this glorious story. This is by far my favorite Esther story I've read. A solid 5 star rating for this! Jill has such a way with words. The way she wove the entire book of Esther into a fictional novel was outstanding. Her character development and attention to details were both phenomenal! She created a beautiful love story while maintaining the integrity of scripture. She blended fiction with truth seamlessly. Hadassah better known as Esther was such a strong character! She was kind, she was beautiful inside her heart and she worked hard. I loved seeing her age over the course of the novel. In face of danger and drama she never batted an eye or backed down. She stood like a queen with grace. The purity of her heart amazed in the face of betrayal and heartbreak. She had her moments when she whined and complained, but she never let things keep her down. As queen, she didn't abuse her power. She relied on the Lord and kept strong to her faith. I loved her! King Xerxes was incredible man at heart, but he allowed fear to hold him back. I didn't like how he relied to heavily on the opinion of men. The men on his council never ceased to lead him astray. I feel like he should have been more involved in his rulings and decisions, but seeing him make mistakes, realize them and work on changing was crucial as well. He may have been king, but his weakness stemmed from his fear of failing. I though she wrote him well especially since most stories portray him as an egotistical man. I enjoyed the vulnerable and sweet side of him. The romance was so cute! I never expected Jill to write such a beautiful romance between Esther and Xerxes, but she did and I swooned over it. The way they talked to one another. They way they loved each other beyond the surface level was everything. I thought that they were cutest thing ever! Considering the times during the book of Esther I loved their romance. Mordecai will always be an amazing man to me, but in this book he seemed a bit whiny. I still enjoyed his words of wisdom, his strength and his resolve. Seeing it all play out in fiction made me love him even more. Vashti was amazing! In the Bible we really don't get know much about her, so I was excited that Jill created a beautiful personality for Vashti. I loved her approach at crafting the queen and especially how she wrote her in the prologue! Perfection. Haman will forever be an evil person to bot in scripture and in fiction. He's egotistical, full of pride, a glutton for power. He was a smart villain who pissed me off until the very end. He got his perfect ending. Memucan was an idiot. He was like a puppy that did whatever he was told in order to gain power. He was honestly useless to the story, lol. Amestris was a perfectly written antagonist. She was prideful and gluttonous for power. She annoyed me from start to finish. I wish she had repercussions for her actions, but overall she played her role in the story very well. Atossa, the mother of Xerxes, was an interesting old woman. She wasn't mean, but she also wasn't nice. She kind of played favorites and let things go as they were even when she knew things shouldn't have. I liked that she didn't use her power as Queen Mother, but I do wish that she was more active in the story. Overall, this was a phenomenal read and my new favorite for a novel on Esther! Highly recommend it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    I've been a huge fan of Jill Eileen Smith's biblical fiction ever since I read The Heart of a King - and Esther is one of my favorite books of the Bible. So when I found out that Smith had written a novel based on the life of Esther, it instantly went on my 'to read' list. And you know what? It didn't fail my expectations! WHAT I LIKED: -Esther was relatable. Maybe a liiiiittle perfect, but she still felt like a real character. As did Vashti, Xerxes, Mordecai, etc. -The plot was super interesting, I've been a huge fan of Jill Eileen Smith's biblical fiction ever since I read The Heart of a King - and Esther is one of my favorite books of the Bible. So when I found out that Smith had written a novel based on the life of Esther, it instantly went on my 'to read' list. And you know what? It didn't fail my expectations! WHAT I LIKED: -Esther was relatable. Maybe a liiiiittle perfect, but she still felt like a real character. As did Vashti, Xerxes, Mordecai, etc. -The plot was super interesting, though it did feel at times as though Smith was simply checking off a list of scenes from Esther instead of bringing her own take on things. That may just be me though. Anyway, I read this book so quickly - it was intriguing and the writing was very easy to engage with. -Esther and Xerxes' relationship was handled well. Not insta-love, not too sappy, just two people trying to understand the really strange situations they've found themselves in. WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: -I didn't connect the characters as much as I'd have liked. There seemed to be a lot of telling of Esther's feelings instead of showing them and really getting inside her head. However, that's pretty much my only quibble. The book was really good, overall. If you're a fan of biblical fiction, you definitely need to read Star of Persia (and all of Smith's other books). You're in for a treat. :) I received a copy of this book courtesy of Baker Publishing/Revell, through Interviews & Reviews, for my honest opinion.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Linda Smith

    This has been a month of Esther for me between Devotionals, Awana lessons and now this novel. Jill Eileen Smith has written a book that stays true to Scripture yet weaves a truly beautiful tale. Esther, a Jew, becomes queen after being chosen by King Xerxes to replace Queen Vashti when Vashti dared to refuse his request to attend a party. Esther has been being raised by her Mordecai and his wife following the death of her parents. In the palace she encounters plots to kill the king, plots to sla This has been a month of Esther for me between Devotionals, Awana lessons and now this novel. Jill Eileen Smith has written a book that stays true to Scripture yet weaves a truly beautiful tale. Esther, a Jew, becomes queen after being chosen by King Xerxes to replace Queen Vashti when Vashti dared to refuse his request to attend a party. Esther has been being raised by her Mordecai and his wife following the death of her parents. In the palace she encounters plots to kill the king, plots to slaughter the Jewish people and even more subterfuge. The author has written what I consider to be her best novel yet. The plot and characters are extremely well defined. This book moves at a rapid pace and is hard to put down. As this is based upon The Book of Esther in The Bible, Jill Eileen Smith adds an Author's Note at the conclusion of the book that gives further information about the novel. It will be beneficial reading after you've finished reading the book. Any review of Smith's book wouldn't be complete without mentioning the cover. This author has consistently had some of the most stunning covers to grace literature. Bravo! Overall, I highly recommend this book. I received an Advance Review Copy of this book. All opinions are my own. @Revell @bakerpublishinggroup @jilleileensmith #bookstagram #StarOfPersia #RevellReads

  24. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    "Star of Persia: Esther's Story" by Jill Eileen Smith is a retelling of the book of Esther from the Bible. I love the story of Esther and Esther as a person. She has always struck me as being so brave amid some very scary and life-threatening circumstances. This retelling by Ms. Smith does a wonderful job of bringing this well-known story to life. I love entering Esther’s world and the opulent world of the palace. Ms. Smith transports the reader to the biblical time period. I especially love how "Star of Persia: Esther's Story" by Jill Eileen Smith is a retelling of the book of Esther from the Bible. I love the story of Esther and Esther as a person. She has always struck me as being so brave amid some very scary and life-threatening circumstances. This retelling by Ms. Smith does a wonderful job of bringing this well-known story to life. I love entering Esther’s world and the opulent world of the palace. Ms. Smith transports the reader to the biblical time period. I especially love how she makes these characters come to life, with fears, thoughts and motives. I especially enjoyed reading more about Queen Vashti. "Star of Persia: Esther's Story" makes me appreciate the biblical story even more and I loved reading the story from my Bible along with the book. Fans of biblical fiction and the story of Esther will especially love this retelling. Content: I give this book a PG-13 rating. Some examples of the content are: talk of sharing a bed; concubines; mention of people sleeping together; a man is said to be a drunkard; fade-to-black married sex; talk of sleeping together; a steamy scene when Esther first visits the king, but no sex. Rating: I give this book 4 stars. I want to thank Revell and Jill Eileen Smith for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Libby May

    Ok time to make some sense with my review. 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? Ok time to make some sense with my review. 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.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    Jill Eileen Smith has a way to make the Bible come alive again. In times where it feels like it’s too far back and I can’t relate, I open one of her books and it all makes sense. It feels like you’re really in that world back then. The only thing I wasn’t really a fan of is that the ending isn’t correct biblically. I think it is so cool how she added different characters and their perspectives to add a more full view of the story back then! I also love the message of anyone can be used by God. I Jill Eileen Smith has a way to make the Bible come alive again. In times where it feels like it’s too far back and I can’t relate, I open one of her books and it all makes sense. It feels like you’re really in that world back then. The only thing I wasn’t really a fan of is that the ending isn’t correct biblically. I think it is so cool how she added different characters and their perspectives to add a more full view of the story back then! I also love the message of anyone can be used by God. I think it’s so amazing how God chooses the least qualified sometimes to do his best work. There is no doubt this way that it is truly God’s work alone! Amazing job as usual! I have loved every single book written by this author you can’t go wrong picking up her books!! Received this book from Revell, all views expressed are my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    The story of Esther has always been one of my favorite Bible stories, so I jumped at the chance to preview this new historical novel by Jill Eileen Smith. It was a beautiful and intriguing read. The decision to include the POV of additional characters like Vashti and Xerxes added enlightening insights into the narrative. I was disappointed that the two days of fighting were glossed over, but including them would have made the book much longer -- perhaps too long. I definitely recommend it and ap The story of Esther has always been one of my favorite Bible stories, so I jumped at the chance to preview this new historical novel by Jill Eileen Smith. It was a beautiful and intriguing read. The decision to include the POV of additional characters like Vashti and Xerxes added enlightening insights into the narrative. I was disappointed that the two days of fighting were glossed over, but including them would have made the book much longer -- perhaps too long. I definitely recommend it and appreciate the message of God's providence throughout. Thank you to Revell and NetGalley for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel DeVaughn

    I love reading biblical fiction and I especially love this author's books and writing style so I was very excited to read this! I have read the story of Esther from other authors, but I love her story and knew Jill Eileen Smith would do an amazing job and I was right! Of course she included biblical facts that we know about Esther, but the extra fictitious liberties made the character and story so alive and wonderful to read. I also enjoyed reading about Queen Vashti along with the other charact I love reading biblical fiction and I especially love this author's books and writing style so I was very excited to read this! I have read the story of Esther from other authors, but I love her story and knew Jill Eileen Smith would do an amazing job and I was right! Of course she included biblical facts that we know about Esther, but the extra fictitious liberties made the character and story so alive and wonderful to read. I also enjoyed reading about Queen Vashti along with the other characters like Mordecai. Thrilling, dramatic and easy to read. Highly recommend! Absolutely loved it! I received a copy of this book complimentary for blog and social media review. All opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Oliphant-wright

    What a beautiful story of God’s provision and grace! Often when I read the Bible, I know there must have been so much more to the lives of the people within the books. This book gives Esther’s life dimension and space. I could see her walking through the opulent palace grounds with her maids. I could feel Mordechai’s terror for his people when he put on sackcloth and wailed at the palace gate. I love books like this! I won’t read the book of Esther again without remembering Star of Persia.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Candy

    I enjoy this authors biblical fiction and this book didn’t disappoint! She brings life to well known bible characters and makes them feel like real people with feelings and lives. The story read with such action and suspense it could easily be a movie! I highly recommend this book and all of her biblical fiction.

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