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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Litfuse Publicity group's blog tour stop for A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf (with bonus review!) Includes Kindle giveaway and book review!

About the book:  

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

Buy A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf.

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!

My review:

I knew from the outset that this book was not going to be a retelling of the story of Esther using actual Biblical events, so the fact that a number of elements didn't follow the Bible's account of what happened didn't bother me. I also appreciated the fact that the author introduced it as a story being told in modern English, or that would have pulled me out of the story at times. I don't believe there was such a thing as Palestinian back in Esther's day. That's a more modern term. A few times the author switched point of view without warning, but I caught up quickly. I found her writing to be easy to follow, for the most part. Her characterization was definitely her greatest strength.

Overall I really enjoyed the story. I found the motivation of each character to be believable even if it did not follow the way the Bible presents the story as it actually happened. The "love story" aspect of this novel was what intrigued me enough to want to read it. The fact that it was told with romantic themes made it that much more satisfying to me. The way that Esther did not want to be chosen and then found herself in that very situation was compelling. Then to discover she was attracted to him and actually liked him as a person made the love story that much more intriguing. I enjoyed experiencing their developing feelings along with them. I really liked the king and found him to be compassionate as well as heroic. Their passion for each other was palpable and very gratifying in a wholesome sort of way. Nothing was gratuitous and every love scene added to the story, in my opinion. 

I am thrilled to see so many options for readers when it comes to Biblical fiction. It's one of my favorite genres. As long as the author clearly states they fictionalized many aspects and changed things about the story to create their novel I am fine with it. However, if it had been presented as fact I would have had an issue with that. I don't recall Esther being reluctant or Mordecai being so politically driven when I read the Biblical account, but the Bible doesn't always delve into motivation, so that can be left to interpretation. This story itself was thoroughly enjoyable, and I plan to read more of Joan Wolf's novels in the future. She really knows how to pull a reader in so they forget they are reading a book and instead feel like they are experiencing the fictional realm with the characters. I love that! 

A Reluctant Queen was published by Thomas Nelson and released in June 2011. A copy of this book was provided to me for review by Litfuse Publicity group, however, the opinion expressed above is entirely my own.

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.

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