Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley

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 by Tracy L. Higley was an interesting and passionate novel that explored the lives of Herod and his family as well as the changing times of Israel, Rome, and Egypt. Lydia has the 'privilege' of being the handmaiden to three different high ranking women: Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, the Caesar's wife, and Queen Mariamme of Israel. The plot line is well written and includes elements of tragedy, romance, mystery, and danger. There are few minor changes to the timeline of many of the historical events that happen in this novel, but these only occur in order for the novel to be a reasonable length. I was saddened by many of the true and terrible events that happen by both Cleopatra's hands and Herod's. Mariamme had a very unfortunate life under Herod's rule, and this book definitely made me more aware of this. Lydia also had her own struggles, but I enjoyed watching her work through those situations, begin to trust and to follow God, and as she tried to save those she was with and whom she loved. I also really liked the man who entered her life as well as their relationship and how each was drawn into a stronger relationship with the Lord. Overall, I found The Queen's Handmaid to be an excellent historical novel that drew me in and gave me a better understanding of life in Israel during Herod's reign. I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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