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The Gilded Chamber : A Novel of Queen Esther Paperback – Bargain Price, July 26, 2005
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After a year of being pampered by court slaves, Esther is presented to the King. He is instantly smitten and makes her his Queen. sther longs for Mordechai but succumbs to the blandishments of the King to save herself from being sent to the soldiers--a horrible fate. In the course of Palace intrigue, Haman, a truly evil man who is viewed as a trusted servant of the King, plots to kill Mordechai, who will not bow to him, and ultimately to kill all the Jews in the Kingdom. King Xerxes, a bit of a buffoon both in the Bible and in Kohn's book, is languishing under the effects of idleness and too much wine. He gives Haman his signet ring; Haman drafts the edict which will result in the death of the Jews and seals it with the King's ring. Now, Esther must save her people.
The portent of this book is found not in the story alone, but in the meticulous research that Kohn has done into the time: Palace life, social customs, history, sexual practices, the place of women, war and politics. Descriptions of the care given to Esther before she meets the King are detailed: her trips to the hairdressers, her hennaed hands, the pungent oils rubbed all over her body, the gold-trimmed clothing she wears. She describes her dinner with a eunuch: "Golden cups in the shape of tulip blossoms were filled with sweet spiced wine from Hodu, and shining silver platters were piled high with meat stews and succulent birds I could not identify. A plate of sugared almonds and pistachios ... and a sweet of sesame, dates and honey..." She is willing to sacrifice all creature comforts to save her people; her success is celebrated to this day in the Jewish feast of Purim. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Many have compared "The Gilded Chamber" to Anita Diamant's "The Red Tent." The only similarities I find are that both books deal with important women from the Old Testament. Ms. Diamant's novel of Dinah, Jacob's only daughter, is powerful, gritty, earthy, tragic and extremely original. There is little written in the Bible about Dinah, so much of the novel is based on the author's creativity and imagination. Rebecca Kohn's novel of Queen Esther, is a somewhat literal retelling of The Book Of Esther, although the role of Mordechai is much less significant here. Oddly, Mordechai is Esther's unrequited love interest, rather than her uncle. I don't understand the role change, as it really doesn't enhance the story. Why does Esther continue to have romantic feelings about the seemingly asexual Mordechai - especially when he does not reciprocate her feelings?Read more ›
This is a romance novel! That's the only explanation and the only possible category for it. Pity, because it appears that the author did a good amount of research into the history and lifestyles of the harem and royalty. But it's a romance novel, with the girl and the two men, one the beloved and one the powerful. It's an overdone theme, and it's not worthy of the story of Esther.
The Biblical account of Esther is intact here, but Ms Kohn does take some liberties around it. For one thing, she has the young Jewish girl Haddasah initially betrothed to Mordechai, before being sent to the harem of King Xerxes. Mordechai himself has taken on the coloration of the court and of the worshippers of Ahura Mazda and urges the young Haddasah to: "Let yourself be known only as Esther, foster daughter of Marduka the Babylonian." Then the great bulk of the action occurs in the harem. The novel focuses on how Esther learns to wield political power within that closed world, which will serve her in good stead when she later needs to affect the wide world.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Emotionally evocative account of the Esther Purim story heavily spiced with ancient Persian culture.Published 5 months ago by CatalystCreative
The book was in very good condition!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!Published 10 months ago by Susan Annis
Love this book. Growing up and hearing the megillah, this book gave a nice spin to it with dialog and imagery.Published 12 months ago by Lisa
Rebecca Kohn hasn't exactly created a masterpiece in The Gilded Chamber, with an unsatisfying climax and a style that seems to strain its first-person capabilities, but she has... Read morePublished on December 22, 2013 by Amazon Customer
My favorite book by far. I let a friend borrow and bought a replacement. Sometimes you just want a good getaway and that's what I find in this book.Published on November 14, 2013 by MJ
“I carried my grace and kindness before the king. He did not know my name, my people, or my descent. He did not care. Read morePublished on March 9, 2013 by Suzanne Dobbins
I was really looking foreword to reading this book, Because it's about one of my favorite subjects (Queen Esther). Read morePublished on December 23, 2012 by AmayaAngel7
Rebecca Kohn is truly a gifted writer! My only disappoint is that she doesn't write enough! I highly recommend anything she has written. Read morePublished on December 8, 2012 by Julia Porter