Star of Persia by Jill Eileen Smith – Review

71eAMSh6CgLStar of Persia

By Jill Eileen Smith

Publication Date: March 03, 2020




My Review:

Everyone who’s read the Bible knows the story of Esther; the Persian Jew who saved her people from annihilation by defying the rules and pleading to the king. The Jewish people even celebrate this freedom on a day called Purim. And being one of the most famous women of Jewish history, there are most likely hundreds of retellings.

Star of Persia is one of them.

We open up on Vashti—who was queen before Esther—as she wanders the palace gardens and meets Esther—then known as Hadassah—for the first time. Then we are catapulted into the future, when Hadassah is only twelve years old, and we follow her life from Jew to queen.

Not much happens climactically in the story, as while Esther is famous, her life was not glamourous. I appreciated the amount of research put into the story, and how the Smith didn’t pull punches when it came to certain events that happened with King Xerxes, portraying him as accurately as possible.

Smith’s writing is excellent, and she describes everything in a way that paints wonderful pictures. But because I am more used to reading action-packed fantasy than less-than-exciting historical fiction, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit bored with the plot. Things didn’t really move along until around the last 90% of the book, but then it went back to a steady pace.

Because of this, I wouldn’t say Star of Persia is exciting. But it is interesting and would be a good fit for those who love books with more of a slow pace, as well as those who love historical fiction, biblical fiction, and stories with strong female leads.

I Rate It: 3 stars

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes only. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



In an effort to complete a war his father had planned to win, King Xerxes calls every governor, satrap, and official in his vast kingdom to his palace in Susa to strategize and feast. When they finally leave, he decides on one more week of frivolity, which ends in the banishment of his favorite wife, something he never intended to do. But when he discovers Esther, Xerxes is sure he has a second chance at happiness.

In her wildest dreams, Esther could never have imagined that she would end up as queen of Persia. Yet she knows better than to become complacent. Another of Xerxes’s wives is vying for position, and his closest advisor has a deep and dangerous grudge against Esther’s adoptive father. Caught in the middle of palace politics, Esther will find herself in an impossible position: risk her life or consign her people to annihilation.

With her impeccable research and her imaginative flair, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the romantic, suspenseful, and beloved story of Esther, queen of Persia.


About the Author:

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, the Loves of King Solomon and Heart of the King, the nonfiction When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams, and Star of Persia, Esther’s Story. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

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