The second woman, Zara, is a lowly handmaid who serves Salome, but where Salome spies conspiracies and treachery, Zara sees hurting people in need of understanding and compassion.
Powerful and powerless, Idumean and Jew, selfish and selfless--both women struggle to reach their goals and survive in Herod the Great's tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.
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Angela Hunt has not written anything I have not fully enjoyed, and this book is no exception. She took a tumultuous time in history, filled with power-hungry politicians, and made sense of it to the reader, even garnering compassion for some characters.
This fourth book of The Silent Years series gives insight as to what it would be like to live under King Herod's reign as a citizen of Jerusalem, and especially his court. I had heard that he was a madman, and Hunt brought to life the horror, uncertainty, and dread associated with being close to the king.
Much of the time I liked Salome, the king's sister. She was a rock for Herod to depend on. She was smart, and fiercely loyal to her family. The story is chronicled in the first person, from Salome's perspective, and also from that of her handmaid, Zara. Although Zara served Salome each day and lived in the palace, she remained connected to her Jewish heritage and faith in Adonai.
Fans of historical and Biblical fiction will certainly want to read this book. It gives insight into the political and religious climate at the time of Jesus' birth.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes. The thoughts expressed here are my own.
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