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Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther
Author:  Ginger Garrett
David C. Cook Publishing, 4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918. 2010. Pb., pp 295. ISBN 978-1-4347-6801-8. $14.99.
Author Ginger Garrett has carved a niche for herself in writing about women of history. She is the author of the Chronicles of the Scribes series (In the Arms of Immortals and In the Eyes of Eternity). Now begins a new series of books, the first of which centers on Esther of the Old Testament, featuring the “lost diaries” of Esther, Queen of Persia. Soon to follow this book are accounts of Queen Jezebel and Delilah.
In order to have a diary, one must be able to read and write. Garrett has Esther as an orphan, raised by her older cousin, Mordecai, in the land of Persia, where Darius and then Xerxes are the kings. Esther helps Mordecai in his business and thus, is able to read and write on scrolls. Esther and Mordecai are Jews. When Darius was alive, Jews were accepted into Persian society, but things have changed a bit with Xerxes.
When Xerxes’ queen, Vashti, displeases him, she is banished and the search for a new queen begins. Young girls are brought to the palace harem to be pampered and primped until deemed acceptable for Xerxes, who is written as a pampered warrior. Esther rises above the rest and, at the young age of about 17, is the new queen, because she is defiant to the king. Her life of wealthy confinement in the palace begins. Esther is fond of Xerxes, but her heart belongs to Cyrus, a young man from her village  Haman, the villain is afoot, and though the Bible has an account of Haman’s treachery toward the Jews, Garrett fleshes out the story with a bit of fiction to make it interesting and as a possible scenario as to what might have happened at that time.
Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther is written as diary excerpts and the story moves ahead in jumps, just as though someone didn’t have time to always write the events of the day. Mordecai is seen as a caring relative, Xerxes as a lonely man, and Esther as the loneliest of all. Afraid to say she is a Jew and afraid to make a mistake and become an exile as a former queen. Wealth is there in abundance, yet the true wealth of the heart is missing. Faith alone is what Esther has, and when all is said and done, is all she has, period.
I found Chosen to be an interesting historical account of what could be the life of Esther. Included in the book is how the festival of Purim came to be and why Hitler did not like the festival, an interview with the author, and explanations of footnotes. Women had no life of their own during the time of Esther. For a woman to be able to read and write was exceptional and not something to be publicly acknowledged. Women were there for one purpose, to bear children, and fertility was a virtue. Esther’s survival as queen was the result of faith, well-thought out plans and being a beautiful woman didn’t hurt, either. You start to wonder, then, who exactly was the cat and who the mouse in the palace at that time.
Reviewed by Marie Asner


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