Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Reluctant Queen: The Story of Esther by Joan Wolf Blog Tour!

An inspiring re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.

See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther's beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith's great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity. More here.

About Joan: Joan Wolf was born in New York City but has lived most of her adult life with her husband in Connecticut, where she raised two children and countless numbers of assorted animals. Joan is the author of numerous historical novels including The Road to Avalon which Publishers Weekly lauded as “historical fiction at its finest.”

For more about Joan and her other books, please

Link to buy the book:

This story caught my attention because of the interesting idea of taking a Bible story and turning it into a deep, complex love story. Now, I am not Christian or Jewish, therefore the Bible is not a book I know very well, but I was familiar with the story of Esther. It interested me to see how Ms. Wolf would manage to turn the characters into multidimensional ones when they are so flat in the original story.
In my opinion, she succeeded immensely. Yes, of course, she had to manipulate plot lines and create motives to make the characters’ actions believable, but she managed to build a complex system of actions that make sense. I do wish she’d made Esther a bit stronger, she seemed to be a too easily manipulated by her uncle, but I guess there was just so much Wolf could change in the story. Ahasuerus fared better, though his actions towards his first wife, the one Esther replaces, is a bit bizarre and out of character.
The ambience was fabulous, you could practically feel the hot Arabian sun as you turned the pages, and smell the spices that filled the royal palace. The author does not lose any opportunity to submerge us in the exotic flavors of the land.
I expected the story to be much preachier than it was. It is a Bible tale, after all. But Wolf handled it beautifully, inserting the right amount of God without turning it into a boring sermon. The faults I found are minor, and I can recommend it to anyone who wants to lose herself in a tale that is wrapped in damask and sparkling with jewels.
The link for the rest of the tour is here.

Q & A with Author Joan Wolf
A Reluctant Queen, Thomas Nelson, June 2011

What draws you to historical/biblical fiction?

I have always adored history, a love I inherited from my father. He used to discuss people from history as if they were people in the current newspapers. I think almost 90% of my books must have an historical setting.

You’ve had a successful career writing for the ABA, why start writing for the CBA now?

A few years ago I had an extraordinary experience where God touched my life. This encounter stirred my interest in writing about other people who had experienced the presence of God in their lives and the CBA seemed to be the best place for me to do that.

What is it about the historical account of Esther that led you to write a romance story about her?

When I was a girl Esther fascinated me. It seemed wonderful that God had chosen a woman to be the person who would save His people. And, since I am a romantic soul, I also thought that there must have been a great love between her and the king for him to have done as she asked.

Why did you move away from the traditional interpretation of King Ahasuerus’ conduct?

I always thought that Ahasuerus must have loved Esther deeply because he listened to her and revoked the edict that Haman had sent out. A king who not only allows his wife to break into his religious feast without punishment, but also comes to have dinner with her the following day, must care for her very much indeed. And such a man must be a much nicer person than the king traditionally portrayed by Xerses/ Ahasuerus.

You love animals. Do you ever incorporate them into your books?

Do I not ever incorporate animals into my books? I am famous for my horses, but dogs play their part as well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t put Esther on a horse, but I did make Ahasuerus a fanatical horseman.

What is your favorite historical era to write about?

I love to go way back in time, to periods where the records are mostly archeological. I actually did three books set in the Upper Paleolithic, the period of the last ice age. My next book is about Rahab, and I’m having such fun reading about pottery and stone remains from the late Bronze Age.

A Reluctant Queen KINDLE Giveaway & Facebook Party

To celebrate Joan Wolf’s debut Christian Fiction title, A Reluctant Queen, Joan and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away A Reluctant Queen prize package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen

* A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf (for KINDLE)

To enter, just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, the contest ends on June 20th. Winner will be announced on June 21st during Joan’s A Reluctant Queen Book Club Party on Facebook (details below)! Hope to see you there – bring your friends!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Join the fun on June 21st! 

Joan will be wrapping up the blog tour and Kindle giveaway promotion during her A Reluctant Queen FACEBOOK party on her FB author page. During the party she'll announce the winner of the Kindle, host a book chat discussion, test your trivia skills (Is Esther's story in A Reluctant Queen fact or fiction?), and more. Don't miss this chance to meet the author and make some new friends!

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from Litfuse Publicity/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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