"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Queen's Handmaid, by Tracy L. Higley

The Queen’s Handmaid is Tracy L. Higley’s finest work yet.  She has taken the history of the era of Herod the Great and Cleopatra, and woven a compelling fictional adventure throughout.

Lydia is valued servant to Cleopatra - but she is forced to flee Egypt with Herod to protect herself and a secret she harbors.  She becomes the handmaid to Herod’s Hebrew wife in Jerusalem.  This allows her to attempt to fulfill her destiny - to deliver scrolls about the coming Messiah to a Hebrew group that is committed to taking Israel away from Herod.  As she makes a new life for herself in Jerusalem, she confronts her discovery that she herself might be Hebrew.  Along the way, she meets a man who may well be the only person she has ever been willing to wholly love.

The story itself is fascinating, but what really grabbed my attention was Higley’s devotion to bringing this era to life.  The research she put into this project causes the characters and the setting to leap out of the Kindle and into the room with the reader.  Lydia is a delight to read, and the points of view of the other characters make this story truly shine.

I admired Higley before I read this book, but she is now one of my favorite authors.  The Queen’s Handmaid is a book that can’t be missed by anyone who is a fan of historical fiction.

Five out of Five Stars

Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.