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Monday, April 11, 2011

Jewel of Persia Review and Giveaway!

This week I've got two reviews and giveaways going on, so be sure to click back over here Wednesday, as well!

The first is Roseanna White's newest release, Jewel of Persia. I got lost in the story of Xerxes, his Jewess concubine Kasia, and Kasia's best friend, Esther. Yes, that Esther. I love how biblical fiction writers see fictional ways to bring the Scriptures to life for us!

I had told Roseanna after reading her first book, A Stray Drop of Blood, that she could just put me down on her influencer list permanently. So glad I did!

Here's a blurb about the book from Roseanna's website:

How can she love the king of kings without forsaking her Lord of lords?
Kasia grew up in a poor Jewish home with more siblings than luxuries. But when a chance encounter forces her to the palace of Xerxes, she becomes a concubine to the richest man in the world. She alone, of all Xerxes' wives, loves the man beneath the crown. She alone, of all his wives, holds the heart of the king of kings.

Traveling with Xerxes through Europe as he mounts a war against Greece, Kasia knows enemies surround her, but they’re not the Spartans or Athenians. The threat lies with those close to the king who hate her people. She determines to put her trust in Jehovah–even if it costs her her marriage.

Years of prayers are answered when Kasia's childhood friend arrives at the palace after the war, but even as she determines to see Esther crowned in place of the bloodthirsty former queen, she knows the true battle is far from over. How far will her enemies go to see her undone?

Combining the biblical account of Esther with Herodotus's Histories, Jewel of Persia is the story of a love that nearly destroys an empire . . . and the friendship that saves a nation.

I mean, don't you just want to read it after reading that? This tale is so epic. Upon finishing the book, I immediately Googled Kasia's name alongside Xerxes just to see what I could find about them. (And no, I won't tell you what I'll have to read it yourself.)

I appreciated the glimpse into Xerxes' world. What a responsibility the man had as ruler of all. The intrigue of the palace, the backstabbing of the harem, the raging politics of the day...he had to have a handle on all of it. The Book of Esther gives glimpses into Xerxes, and Roseanna's book no doubt gives breath to those words and helps the reader see how big of a deal events in Esther might be, such as:

"But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger." (Esther 1:12)

This single event sets things in motion in Esther. Roseanna's tale lets the reader see behind the words to the people who inspired them. Truly a magnificent, divinely inspired feat.

As is customary, I want to touch on a therapeutic topic that pops up quite frequently: the relationship between husband and wife, or in Xerxes' case, husband and wives. I know that back in that time period, multiple wives wasn't that big of a deal. It was accepted, expected, and encouraged for political and economic reasons, especially. But even given this expectation, women weren't crafted together emotionally in a vastly different way back then from now, surely. They must have felt extreme jealousy when one wife was favored over another, must have felt discarded when they weren't called on to visit the king, must have angled to get him to cast them a look like a dog angles for scraps from a table...anything to feel worthwhile.

The reality of the situation Esther and Kasia both entered was harsh. They were young, too, considered women at the time, but still mere teens. With the Lord's help, of course, they manage the sheer awkwardness of loving the same man, being married to the same man. They are far greater women that I would be, I'm afraid.  Reading this book made me appreciate so very much that this is not the modus operandi for us anymore!

Roseanna has agreed to give one lucky commenter their choice of a either a .pdf now or paperback version of this book when they come out. Leave your email in a non-spam format, like this: character therapist (at) hotmail (dot) com. Followers of this blog will receive two entries, so be sure to click on the "Follow" button on the right! A winner from the lower 48 will be selected and posted on Saturday. Good luck!

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Roseanna White said...

Thanks so much for featuring Jewel of Persia this week, Jeannie! And I, too, am very glad we're not expected to share our husbands in this day and age. =) Three cheers for monogamy! LOL

rubynreba said...

I enjoyed A Stray Drop of Blood and know I'd like this book too.

rubynreba said...

I am a follower.

Sierra Gardner said...

This sounds fantastic Jeannie! I'm working on a historical fiction trilogy using scriptural characters and it is so fun to read and re-read passages looking for clues about these people. I might have to start doing that with all of my reading =)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Jeannie, I just had to pop by to CONGRATULATE you!! I'm praying for your success and that you see the publication angel at your doorstep soon!!

karenk said...

Thanks for the opportunity to read Roseanna's latest masterpiece...I loved her first one :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i'm a follower :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Jeannie--so proud of your skill & talent! Our chats really mnean a lot to me!

Ps. Great review.


Annette W. said...

I would love a paperback of this! I love reading Roseanna's blog...but have yet to get one of her books...on my wishlist though!
derekannette at gmail dot com

audrey4j said...

I'm a follower, and our Lord just dropped a fantastic idea into my brain. It's so fresh and new I cannot tell anyone about it! But if I win the book I'll use it as part of my research, and tell you the fresh new idea. Just the facts here. No bribery intended. Make it paper back, please.

audrey4j said...

I hope you know I was just joking on my post yesterday (above this one). I do reallyneed that book. No bribery intended

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

audrey4j - that just made me laugh! your first post put a smile on your face, but this one made me laugh. :) of course you were joking! i wish you the best in the contest.

Roseanna White said...

You know, if we started taking bribes for this stuff . . . LOL. Okay, honesty all the way. But you made me chuckle, too, Audrey. =)

dtopliff said...

What cool career gift to bring to writing and blogging. I'll gladly look into these books but you've given fresh windows to look through that I appreciate. Thanks!

CarolM said...

If it's not too late, I'd love to be included in the drawing!

I'd love to read this!

carol at carolmoncado dot com

CarolM said...

Hmm - rereading through [new to the blog ;)] - do I need to mention that I am [now] a follower and would like a paper copy?

Of course, I could be too late in which case, ignore me ;).

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.