Chosen, the Lost Diaries of Queen Esther by Ginger Garrett was a phenomenal read. As I read it I truly did wonder if these were the lost diaries of Esther - the Jewish girl who was made Queen of Persia and is one of two women who have "their own" books in the Bible.
The book is written in true diary format with dates (completely done in in the ancient Persian calendar) with the recent happenings and bubbling hopes of a young girl living below the castle in Susa. In it Esther talks about her and her cousin Mordecai, the neighborhood street market, and the boy Cyrus who catches her eye.
Garrett writes so eloquently and you really feel like you are with Esther as Cyrus tells her he loves her - even though our Esther is all of twelve years old. And you also feel like you are with her as King Xerses' men are pounding on her door, demanding she be presented for inspection.
In the Virgin's Harem, Esther quickly becomes the favorite of the head eunuch Hegai. He allows her little extras, including paper to presumably write the journal in which we are reading. Esther had been told by her cousin Mordecai not to reveal her Hebrew heritage to anyone within the castle.
After a year of preparations, at the age of sixteen, Esther is set to meet the king. The man who would decide her fate. Esther had watched countless girls douse themselves in perfumes and jewels to see the king, only to find they had been used and cast aside, never to be heard from again with the rest of the king's concubines.
The apex of the book comes as Esther engages King Xerses in conversation, telling him, "Women give you their bodies every night in this bed. But who has ever given you their heart? Your crown may give you the right to my body, but you will have to fight for my heart."
If you know the Biblical story of Esther, you know the main events that occur. But the way in which Garrett has written them makes them so real and so astonishing for me. The detail in Chosen is engaging, but also leaves enough to the imagination that the reader can fill in additional details if she chooses.
Chosen has been one of my favorite books for about six years now and I reread it often. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Biblical fiction!