Jerusalem’s Queen By Angela Hunt | Book Review


From the Back Cover

Her Rise to the Throne Defied Expectations.
And Then She Proved to Be One of Judea’s Greatest Rulers.

Born in the small village of Modein, a place made famous by the warrior Maccabees, Salome Alexandra knows better than to harbor grand dreams for her future. She pales in comparison to her beautiful older sister, and though she learns to read at an early age, girls are not valued for their intellectual ability. However, when her father and sister are killed, John Hyrcanus, a distant relative, invites Salome and her mother to live with his family in Jerusalem, where her thirst for knowledge is noticed and indulged.

When her guardian betroths her to a pagan prince, she questions HaShem’s plan. When Hyrcanus finally marries her to a boy half her age, she questions her guardian’s sanity. Though Salome Alexandra spends much of her life as a pawn ordered about by powerful men, she learns that a woman committed to HaShem can change the world.

When I choose a book to read I don’t always read the back cover, unless I am unfamiliar with the author. So, when I was selecting a book to review for Bethany House and saw Angela Hunt’s name, I scooped it up, having no idea what it was about. I can’t say I always love first-hand accounts, but this one I did. The novel goes seamlessly between the point of view’s of Kissa and Salome Alexandra (also referred to as Shelamzion).

Jerusalem’s Queen is set a generation or two before the birth of Christ. Angela Hunt’s vivid descriptions took me out of the comfort of my living room and straight into Egypt where Kissa was sold into slavery, chained to other humanbeings and trafficked to Judea. It took me back to Salome Alexandra’s hometown of Modein when she and her mother bore the grief of her father and sister’s death and didn’t know what their future would look like. I could see the palace in Jerusalem where Shelamzion was given her slave and handmaiden, Kissa. I could see acts of kindness from a God-fearing king, and I could see acts of evil from a horrid king.

I really didn’t know how much of this book was fact, how much was fiction, so I started googling. I could have just saved the time and read Angela’s notes in the back (which I loved).

It turns out, Salome Alexandra was a real woman and once ruled Judea. Shortly before the birth of Christ. And she really did throw everything away when she realized one of the servants was menstruating, therefore everything prepared for the banquet was now unclean. She even made the silverware be melted down and remade.

She loved the Lord, she loved the Torah.

Spoiler alert.

If you are looking for a traditional love story, this isn’t it. I was sad to realize that Salome Alexandra would not marry for love. But she did love HaShem. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, this mean’s “The Name”. It is what the Hebrews called the Lord at that time because they feared His name and felt it too holy to say.

I was in one of Angela Hunt’s writer’s workshops last September at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference and it was a highlight for me. Hearing her talk about the several drafts she goes through, all the research (!!!), all the edits, well, reading Jerusalem’s Queen made all of that make sense.

Angela Hunt is a fabulous writer and did a stellar job on this novel. I not only enjoyed the story (even though it was violent and gruesome at times, very eye opening). I learned so much about this time period and about a Queen who was a part of preparing Judea for the coming of the Messiah.

Don’t take my word for it. Read the book. Research Salome Alexandra. More importantly, love the Torah, the Word of God, as she did.

I give this book 5+ stars. Pick up your copy at a local bookstore or on amazon.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, for my honest review.

About the Author

The author of more than 100 published books and with more than 5 million copies of her books sold, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in biblical studies in theology. She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at www.angelahuntbooks.com.

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