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Hadassah: One Night with the King Hardcover – January, 2004

156 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite a few glitches, there is much to like about this coauthored novel from Tenney, best known for his nonfiction book The God Chasers, and Olsen, a writer whose work includes screenplays. Esther, queen of Persia, who inspired the eponymous book of the Bible, is a fascinating character whose story lends itself well to a fictional retelling. The novel opens as a contemporary woman named Hadassah receives a letter penned by Esther (also called "Hadassah" and "Star" in the novel) and passed down through her family for generations. The reading of the letter transports the reader back to the Persian Empire (a similar device is used in Bodie and Brock Thoene's Zion Legacy series). Several time periods and points of view make for a slow start, but the pacing picks up when Esther becomes the focus. The dialogue is stiff in places, and some readers will find the use of "G-d" rather than "God" out of reverence rather tiresome. However, from their imaginative fleshing out of Esther's unusual girlhood and preparation for her tryst with the king to the uttering of her famous words, "If I perish, I perish," the authors reinvigorate an age-old story. The sexual tension and violence necessary to the tale are rendered inoffensive for the evangelical Christian market, and a few surprise twists will catch readers familiar with the story off-balance. CBA readers should enjoy this account of one of the Bible's most courageous heroines.
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"An exhilarating ancient romance with ribbons of suspense, mystery, and intrigue cleverly woven through. I highly recommend Hadassah." -- Road to Romance

"Breathtakingly suspenseful...this story is rich in historical detail and spirituality. Be forewarned. This is a real page turner." -- Large Print Reviews

"Esther springs to life...a wealth of history and spiritual admonition in the pleasing guise of a well-told tale." -- Romantic Times, Feb. 2004

"Full of romance, intrigue, sudden plot twists and a finale that is heart-stopping even for those familiar with the story." -- Messianic Times, Feb/Mar 2004

"I cannot say enough good things…such a fresh perspective to a familiar story. Be swept away by this fantastic story." --

"Much research and study have obviously gone into Hadassah to preserve the enjoyable read." -- Messianic Times Feb/Mar 2004

"Tenney has given readers a gift similar to that Esther gave Xerxes: a source of wonder and conversation." -- Faithful Reader

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764227378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764227370
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The memorable story of Esther in the Bible is now retold through the eyes of Esther. As Hadassah Kesselman prepares for her wedding day, she finds the experience steeped in mystery. Her story is set aside as Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen delve into what is perhaps one of the most ancient fantasies. As women dream of marrying powerful men, men dream of the beautiful woman who worships them in body, mind and spirit. This fantasy is brilliantly woven into the story of Esther and makes for a compelling read.

Hadassah Kesselman is required to read the story of Esther before her wedding day and soon learns of Esther's horrifying childhood experiences and mysterious awakenings into womanhood. Tommy Tenney's comforting writing style seems to mask the horror in a way that allows the reader to comprehend each situation without becoming overwhelmed by tragedy itself. He has a talent for capturing moments in time with exquisite attention to detail. The scent of myrrh lingers on the pages as an exciting drama unfolds in moments of sexual tension, suspense and intrigue.

Esther's story is truly brought to life in this retelling filled with political conspiracies, wars, longings of the heart and brutal action. In her search for G-d, she also finds her place in the world and begins to understand her true destiny. Must she sacrifice herself to the King of Persia and fall prey to Haman's evil intentions?

Even if you remember the biblical details, an entire new world of captivating adventure and romance awaits in Hadassah's journey to One Night With the King. I intended to read this book in two nights, but ended up reading all night.

~The Rebecca Review
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By LMN11 on September 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had mixed feelings about this book. I love the account of Esther in the Bible, and we read the author's version of that account in the last 20% of this book. However, the first 80% of this book leaves much to be desired. I understand that this is a work of fiction, and that the author is trying to fill in gaps. However, I still expect the fictional parts to be plausible. Unfortunately, Tenney's version is not at all plausible. Instead, he seems to chose events simply to make the story more dramatic. Personally, I think the story of Esther is dramatic enough as it is. There was no need for the author to add such idiotic events of his own. The end result was just way too unrealistic, and it ruined the Esther account for me.

Some examples of the dramatic license taken:

- Haman is the last descendant of the Amalekites and the king Agag. In the Bible, we know that Saul didn't have King Agag killed right away. It wasnt until later that the prophet Samuel killed him. In Tenney's version, this delay allowed for King Agag's wife, who was also captured, to escape from her bonds, sneak past her guards, find where they were keeping her husband the king, sneak into him, have sex with him (also unnoticed) and escape, now carrying the king's son. She taught this son to hate the Jews, and this son was a forefather of Haman,who was thus also raised to hate Jews. While it is true that Haman was an Amalekite, and quite possibly a royal descendant, I find it unlikely that his forefather was conceived in such a way. If I was king Agag's wife, and managed to escape, I wouldn't stop to have whoopie with my heavily guarded husband one last time. I would have run for it.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Christian Fiction Reader on June 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
This novel puts a refreshing spin on the story of Esther while remaining true to the Biblical facts. I especially appreciated how Tenney emphasized that King Saul's refusal to totally wipe out the Amalekites resulted in the near annihilation of the Jews centuries later. Disobedience does have consequences! Tenney's description of ancient Persia's lifestyle and customs brought the story alive to me. It's obvious the writer did his research.

The book would have benefited from more diligent editing. For instance, Esther would not have used the word "platonic," because Plato wasn't even born until 427 B.C.; the Persians definitely would not have served potatoes, since they weren't introduced to the Eastern Hemisphere until the Spaniards discovered the Incas eating them. The overuse of hyperbole sometimes made me cringe too. Otherwise, I highly recommend it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By FictionAddiction.NET on March 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Hadassah: One Night with the King instantly grabs your attention. The story opens with Hadassah following her father through an apparent maze to take part in a family ritual.
She doesn't grasp the significance of the ritual right away. That is, until she realizes that a part of the tradition is reading a private letter written by Esther, a famous queen of the Bible and for whom she is named (Hadassah translated means "Esther"). The remainder of the story details the contents of the letter that Esther wrote to a young woman to communicate the importance of her forthcoming marriage.
Esther's story begins with her becoming an orphan after her family is killed because of their religious affiliation. Her cousin, Mordecai, takes care of her and they flee to Persia.
He instructs her in Hebrew history and tradition but tells her to conceal her Jewish roots to avoid succumbing to the same fate as her family. Mordecai obtains a position with the King of Persia and Hadassah is able to obtain a glimpse of the environment of royalty, both good and bad.
When all virgins are summoned to replace the queen, Hadassah spends a year preparing for the day she would meet the king. Within that time she obeys all the instructions she is given and when requested by God, vows to free her people. She is successful but the path to success tests her devotion.
When the story returns to modern day, the present day Hadassah finishes the story and embraces the message conveyed in Esther's letter.
In Hadassah: One Night with the King, Tommy Tenney presents a great piece of historical fiction. You can't help but to become enthralled in the predicament Esther is tasked to overcome and inspired by her devotion to God and her people.
Tenney's story has all the elements of a drama; it contains romance, adventure, suspense, and irony. When you finish reading the story you will want to read the biblical version of the story from which it is influenced.
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