Thursday, April 10, 2014
The Queen's Handmaid - book review
Most of my perceptions of Ancient Egypt have been formed by either Amelia Peabody's family and exploits, or by our homeschooling study of history. The Queen's Handmaid brings the dry, dusty, ancient world to life in a whole new way.
From the beginning, I was gripped by the sense of danger, as we witness insecure, yet powerful Cleopatra execute a servant girl over a minor offense. It's not long before you're caught up in the mystery: Who is Lydia? Who were her people? What secrets did Samuel not get the chance to tell her before he died, leaving her an overwhelming and dangerous mission?
Lydia leaves Egypt as part of Herod's entourage. In Rome, she realizes she's in danger because of what she's carrying. She also realizes that she herself may be Jewish, and struggles with what that means to her.
The convoluted world of politics is intriguing. Marriages are alliances, not matters of the heart. Lydia ends up serving Herod's bride, and waiting for her chance to play her part in history, by delivering her special package, but the window of opportunity only comes once a year.
Author Tracy L. Higley does a fabulous job of creating a very realistic and believable work of historical fiction. She even manages to weave in a little romance, between Lydia and a soldier whose motives for joining Herod's army don't always align with what Herod is trying to accomplish.
It was fascinating to me to see events unfold from history with more of an understanding of the world at the time. I really enjoyed this story.
At the end of the book, Tracy explains her inspiration and tells of some of the real events from history that are included in the book. She also alludes to there being more to come in this story, which I'd love to read!
The Queen's Handmaid sells for $15.99. You can read more about this book, the author, and other reviews at the Litfuse site.
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