Title: The Queen’s Handmaid
Author: Tracy L. Higley
Number of Pages: 390
Source: Litfuse Group http://litfusegroup.com/
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Description of book:
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.
I found this book to be carefully thought out, and historic while still being pleasantly fiction-y. Tracy Higley obviously has studied the history behind the story, and it shows through very well and creatively.
This book was one that I liked; I didn’t necessarily love it, but I also didn’t hate it – not at all. It was a good read, and I’m very glad I had the chance to read it!
The book did get on the long side at times and sometimes I felt like it dragged on, and that some of the middle was just a bit of “filler”, that it was just trying to get to another part. However, I do understand what that can be like in writing.
After I finished it, and read the “story behind the story” (kind of like a ‘note from the author’), and found out that the main character, Lydia, was added after the general story plot was conceived, as just the one to ‘witness’ the events, it sort of made sense to me, because I did notice that at some parts of the story; it seemed like she was not the main thought at times.
The characters were still well constructed, don’t get me wrong. I liked each character (well, except for the bad ones which we’re not supposed to like) and understood them well. Of course I really liked Lydia, but another favourite soon became Mariamme.
There were points where I wasn’t expecting something that happened, and was shocked. I did get involved in this book. :)
Tracy Higley handled the evil character of Salome excellently, I must say. Salome was a terrible character, but the author showed that well.
The message in the book, of finding our value in God alone, was very good, but I would have liked it to be a bit “louder” at the end.
All my “critiques” aside, “The Queen’s Handmaid” was an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to fellow readers without hesitating. :)
Note: I was given a free copy of “The Queen’s Handmaid” to review, from Litfuse Publicity Group. All thoughts are my own and completely unbiased.