April 21, 2014

Book Review—The Queen’s Handmaid

From the servant halls of Cleopatra's Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled.

Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC

Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.

But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she's had to family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.

Trapped among the scheming women of Herod's political family-his sister, his wife, and their mothers-and forced to serve in the palace to protect her treasure, Lydia must deliver the scrolls before dark forces warring against the truth destroy all hope of the coming Messiah.

* * * * *

The Queen’s Handmaid is the second book I’ve read by Tracy Higley. Honestly, I enjoyed City on Fire a bit better than this book. I don’t think I was truly able to get into it until about the last third to quarter of the book when the plot really picked up. It took place over quite a long period of time—several years. I think this may have somewhat distanced me from the characters since such large chunks of time were skipped. And it felt as though it lacked the action was I was hoping for.

All that said, it was still a fascinating read. I have not read much about this particular time period. It brings in many historical figures—Cleopatra, Herod, and Marc Antony just to name a few—and they are very prevalent characters in the story. Many of them even have POV scenes. That alone is fascinating. And I love how she tied the story in with the magi at Jesus’s birth.

Though it felt (to me) as if it dragged a bit, and I had a little trouble warming up to the characters, I very much recommend the book, if only for the amazing history involved in it. If you’re looking for fiction that really gets into the details and way of life of the time period, Tracy Higley is the one to go to. She does an amazing job of setting the scene and making you feel like you’re really there without going overboard on boring description. It was definitely worth my time to read. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers free in exchange for my honest review.