Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Queen's Handmaid

18105225Author: Tracy L. Higley
Release Date: March 18th, 2014
Publisher Thomas Nelson
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Pages: 400

~Minor spoilers are covered up! Highlight the page to see them! :)~


 From the servant halls of Cleopatra’s Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled.

Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC

Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.

But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she’s had to family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.

Trapped among the scheming women of Herod’s political family—his sister, his wife, and their mothers—and forced to serve in the palace to protect her treasure, Lydia must deliver the scrolls before dark forces warring against the truth destroy all hope of the coming Messiah.

~Thank you so much to the author and publisher for sending me this book through the Booklook program!~

 I didn’t really have strong feelings toward this book.  I neither hated it nor loved it.  It was a bit boring and a little confusing, but I honestly have no strong animosity towards it.  I think that’s the worst feeling to have towards a book (lacking any emotions) because you just don’t care about this book, and besides the fact that that makes it hard to form a clear opinion, as a booklover, that's a little painful. 

In a nutshell: the characters were dull, the plot was stretched out in an odd way, nothing really happened, and we were overloaded with historical information.

So that plot.  The original plot was for her to carry these scrolls to the King of Isreal.  But we get sidetracked so many times that this plot was sort of buried under everything else.  Also, the time frame of this novel was a bit confusing.  We skip around a lot of years from chapter to chapter, and it’s not always clear that that happens.    

After the beginning part, stuff didn’t really start happening until the end.  But by then, I was pretty much done with this book, and I just skimmed over the ending.

I also didn’t like the massive info dump on the historical context.  It made me even more lost than I already had been because the info dumps interrupted the flow of the story. (I know this was a historical novel, but I felt the book could have given us the needed info without overwhelming us.)

The characters were pretty dull; there was some character development for Lydia, our heroine, but it was still lacking.  There was some romance in this book, but it doesn't make any sense (they hardly see each other in the book, but they manage to fall in love?!).  No one was noteworthy, and most of the characters just blurred together for me by the end.     

Looking back through this review, it seems my feelings lean more toward animosity of this book.  But in all honesty, I didn’t hate it; I guess the right word here is indifference. And there were a few positive things about the book-like the beginning and ending, for example.  The beginning really did pull me into the story, but the middle dragged.  The ending picked things back up again (plot-wise and pace wise), but by then, it was a little too late for me.   

Thanks for reading!:) 

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

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