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The modern-day Hadassah, introduced to readers in the previous novel, is the wife of Israel's Prime Minister, with all its reflected power but also its isolation. The inner pain she feels as her beloved land and people are terrorized by political strife and bombings is made even more personal as her own father comes under attack. And then she learns of information that could have tragic repercussions on Jews living in Iraq, where Queen Esther had laid her own life on the line to save her people. The successor to Xerxes has no love for the Jews, and when he discovers the Star of David medallion on Leah (the young queen's candidate Esther wrote to in Hadassah), he is outraged. Leah is delegated to the "rejected" category, virtually a prisoner for life in the king's palace, with no hope and no future.Will Queen Esther and Mordecai be able to rescue Leah from the "ash heap" of Persian royal tradition? And even if they can, will Leah ever be able to truly love someone after all she has been through?
What was "the rest of the story" of the biblical Queen Esther? Could her impact still reverberate through generations to the present? In Tenney's ancient Persia (now Iraq and Iran), the king is brutally murdered, and Esther (aka Hadassah) wonders what her role might be in continuing to further God's plan for her people. It appears it might require aiding her uncle Mordecai in preparing Leah, a lovely young Jewess, for her "audition" night with the new king letting history repeat itself. In a parallel contemporary story, the Israeli prime minister's wife, Hadassah (a descendent of Leah), must delve into the past to resolve a tragic standoff with terrorists who threaten the lives of contemporary Jews living anonymously in the Middle East. This sequel lacks the freshness of Tenney and Olsen's original collaboration, Hadassah: One Night with the King. While it's intriguing to imagine what might have happened to the original Esther, too many contrivances stretch the reader's belief (e.g., a toddler with the same name and unusual eyes of Hadassah is conveniently orphaned just as Hadassah discovers she might not be able to have children). Yet the theatrical release this fall of One Night with the King should stimulate interest in this book and its predecessor.