Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley Blog Tour Book Review

// The Queen's Handmaid //

By Tracy L. Higley

Litfuse Publicity
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 1401686842
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: March 18th, 2014
Rating: Five out of five stars
// Book Synopsis //
Taken From Good Reads
"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."

// Book Review //
An exciting ride back in time to ancient Egypt, 39 BC, this exciting novel is sure to take you on an unforgettable journey following servant Lydia, as she serves the Queen and builds a lasting relationship with her which will last much longer than the length of their lives. Filled to brim with accurate historic events and a nice amount of fiction, this memorable story is sure to stay with you long after you close it's pages.
This was the second book that I've read by Tracy Higley. Last year when I read her novel City on Fire, I deemed her my favorite author for her excellent writing and ability to involve so much history within her novels; and was very eager for more books by her. Which is why I was so excited for the release of The Queen's Handmaid!
This book was such a favorite, I'm putting it on my list of top favorite five books that I've read in 2014! The main thing that impressed me most was the amount of history in this book! I truly believe that you could learn more about Egyptian history involving who reigned at what time and their relationship with other people of government, by reading this novel than you could reading about it on the internet! In the course of the 400 pages of this novel there are detailed, historically accurate accounts of important governmental figures in Egypt such as Cleopatra, Herod, Marc Antony, Octavia, Mariamme (Herod's wife and the Queen whom Lydia serves) and many more! While this level of history may make some people think that it means that it lacks a good fictionalized portion of the book (stemming from a pre-supposed idea that history is boring facts-which it's not!), then there couldn't be anything further from the truth! While this book was mainly based on history, there was also a perfect balance of fictionalized story that didn't diminish the history; but in fact made it more enjoyable to read and all the more interesting! Anyone who, like me, loves a novel that will teach you something about history without sacrificing a page-turning experience needs to get their hands on this book!
Another thing that I really enjoyed about this novel was how interesting it was, and the unexpected turns that I didn't see coming! While it was interesting throughout the whole story, I did feel like the second half of the book was my most favorite portion of the story. Originally I was planning on giving it four stars while I was reading the first half of the book. But events that took place during the latter part of the story made me change my mind to 5 stars, also putting it on my favorites list.
However, as with any historically accurate portrayal of real events in history that may not have been so appropriate, this story does deal with some mature subjects including mention of Cleopatra and Herod's love life which was never faithful and continually changing persons; a moderately described birth scene that Lydia assisted; three deaths scenes, one by hanging which was described moderately (though still somewhat disturbing), as well as two others described after the actual event; as well as other content that comes with this time period where murder is considered justified by means of gaining power. While I usually don't like putting an age on these types of novels, due to how it really does vary depending on maturity, I'd say it is for sure a novel for mature readers, and that younger readers should read with caution.
Overall I absolutely loved this novel and all the history it taught me! Anyone who is a fan of Higley's previous novels or fans of heavy dosed historical fiction should read this book!
D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a free copy of this book through the publisher and Litfuse Publicity for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review or promote this book, and all thoughts expressed my review are completely my own, honest and unbiased.
// Blog Tour Giveaway //
During the time of The Queen's Handmaid blog tour featuring book reviews from various reviewers, Tracy Higley and Litfuse are hosting a big giveaway to celebrate The Queen's Handmaid's release! They are giving away .......... and you can enter the giveaway on the Litfuse website by clicking on the image below.
{NOTE: I am not sponsoring this giveaway in any way, but still wanted to share about it so you could enter!)
Win a Kindle HDX!
The Queen's Handmaid