History, history and more history. This book brings Egypt and Roman history to life in a way that sticks in my brain.
The book begins in Alexandria and Cleopatra is Queen. Lydia is Cleopatra's handmaid and Nanny to her son, whose father is Julias Caesar. Lydia is offered a job in Jerusalem to serve as the lady's maid to Herod's wife. She takes this job and through a series of events her life is changed and she is given an important task to fulfill.
Lydia is a warm and caring character that brings peace to those who are in turmoil. Her task seems like it will never be fulfilled, but through a surprising turn of events we see the completion of her task.
Higley does a masterful job interweaving history and fiction. I never understood how interwoven the histories of Rome, Egypt and Israel really were. This book brings this out in fascinating detail. A fabulous read for history buffs.
"The Queen's Handmaid" was interesting and left me with mixed feelings which is why I'm giving it a 3.5 stars!
The history that is woven through the pages is what really held my interest and intrigued me! I did not realize all that had been taking place politically and even spiritually before the time of Jesus! I knew things were chaotic at times, but I didn't fully realize how much the Jewish nation longed for the Messiah until reading this! After seeing how things were in just Herod the Great's rule I understand a lot more about the ideas of the people concerning the Messiah and how that related to Jesus!
I have noticed throughout Tracy's novels that there is always an "evil" character who worships false gods with power coming from that worship. It usually makes me rather uncomfortable, but this was the first time that I truly appreciated her including this aspect of the story! Reason being is because she showed the true power of God and how He is so much more powerful then evil/darkness! I was left very humble in knowing that like Lydia God has given all His children a divine purpose that cannot be defeated by Satan even though he will try to stop it!
What led me to ultimately having mixed feelings about this story though is how much time passed! There was a period of 4-5 years passing by in the middle of the novel that left me feeling disconnected with the main character! It wasn't until the near ending that I really felt a connection with Lydia again, but I felt like I had missed so much of her life! The romance was also an interesting mix that didn't quite sit with me because it sometimes felt confusing and then rushed (not consistently though)!
Overall I would recommend "The Queen's Handmaid" because it did have a great spiritual message as well as a very eye-opening story to real historical events!
This book takes the reader from the court of Cleopatra and Marc Antony in Egypt to the palaces of Herod in Palestine. The main character, Lydia, is a handmaid to Cleopatra. She is an orphan who has spent her life serving in the Egyptian palace, knowing nothing of her heritage or background. Her mentor and friend, Samuel, has spent years teaching her the stories of his people, the Jews. One fateful night, she finds him stabbed and dying. He gives her a mission to protect and eventually deliver the scrolls of Daniel to the temple in Jerusalem. After being given to Herod as a handmaid for his soon-to-be wife, Lydia travels to Rome and later Palestine. She finds Samuel has not given her an easy task, one that can be full of danger and may take years to complete. Her travels also bring up the question of her parentage and what does the disc on her necklace mean?
Having read several of Tracy Higley's books, I expected good attention to historic detail. She has done extensive research in ancient history and brings her personal travels and knowledge to each story. This book is no exception. Anyone who wants a good Biblical era story, with accurate setting and background, will enjoy this book.
I received this from Net Galley for my honest review.
When I stumbled across this book at the library, I recognized it as Tracy's newest and was super happy - how often are new publications actually IN at the library? I was thrilled. So I checked it out and made time to read it over Easter. It was enthralling. It concentrates on Lydia, a fictional character who was first a servant to Cleopatra and then to the wife who Herod the Great actually loved, Mariamme. This book was a fascinating take on those historical characters (especially Cleopatra and Herod!). Lydia is absolutely delightful and I would love to meet her. I was amazed by the all the research that Tracy put into this book - the result is stunningly historically accurate book. I'm so excited for Tracy's upcoming book (don't know a title yet, but I hear it'll be about the wise-men??!?!!?) and I'm definitely really enjoying each of her books.
"The Queen's Handmaid" by Tracy L. Higley is a novel that begs to be made into a movie. It would be epic! I loved reading this book.
Set in the Middle East in the early days of Herod (about 39 B.C.), this book is the story of a simple orphan girl, raised by servants in a palace, now serving royalty. Lydia longs to please people and is happy to serve, yet she is surrounded by all of the most dangerous rulers of the day: Cleopatra, Marc Antony, and Herod the Great, to name a few. Further, she has a mission to fulfill. She must find a way to transport the secret scrolls of the prophet Daniel to their rightful caretakers, giving them vital information about Israel's coming Messiah. Seizing an opportunity, Lydia flees from Cleopatra in Egypt and travels with Herod to become the handmaid for his future queen, hoping for the opportunity to fulfill her calling.
The fictional story spans ten years and is packed full of historical events that took place in the last few decades before the time of Christ. Following the story, Higley tells readers more about these events and the people who were there. She also explains how these prompted her story idea and what she hopes to write next, which sounds like a sequel or closely-related story to me. I will be watching for it!
I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending a complimentary eCopy of this book for my honest review.