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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hadassah: One Night With the King by Tommy Tenney with Mark Andrew Olsen

Have you seen the movie One Night With the King? You may or may not know that the movie was actually based on this book: Hadassah: One Night With the King by Tommy Tenney with Mark Andrew Olsen. After watching and enjoying the movie, I put the book on my reading list and finally got to it a little while ago.

I must say, it is definitely worth the read even though it felt a bit long and sometimes a little too wordy. This was a title that I listened to, rather than read in print (People who know me often just shake their heads in confusion: I normally have at least three physical books by my bed, a few more in my office, that I’m actively reading, an electronic book stored on my mp3 player, another ebook open on my computer, a book on tape in the stereo and a book on cd in the car all being read at any given time.) so my husband was sometimes obliged to listen in as we went about our day. While I thoroughly expected this to be one of those titles he “tolerated” listening to because he knows how much I enjoy them, I can’t tell you the number of times he walked in after being gone a while and asked “What did I miss?” No. A guy might never pick up this title and fully appreciate it, but it was written well enough that it can certainly catch their attention.

Hadassah: One Night With the King goes into so much more detail than the movie ever could, and answered some questions for me that I’d always wondered about when reading the biblical account. Though I do not pretend to be a biblical scholar of any sort and can not vouch for the validity of the way this story is played out it was interesting to see things from a different angle. For instance: I’ve always wondered that a king could suddenly forget when someone uncovered a plot to assassinate him, no matter how busy he was. One Night With the King gave me a plausible scenario for that and a few other things that had always mystified me.

I have to say though, that the thing I appreciated most about Hadassah’s story as told by these authors was the very nice advice it gave to women in general on what makes a good marriage and what true intimacy is about. Yes, a good portion of the original story basically focuses on a woman’s ability to please and influence a man, biblical or not in origins, and knowing the little I do about what that could tend to mean I was a little nervous about picking up this book. Rest assured, this is a general Christian title, not a mainstream secular title and all content is treated with great delicacy and respect. I found it surprisingly insightful, gratefully realistic and truthful in nature. I loved hearing Esther’s advice on intimacy and love.

I also appreciated watching Esther’s own spiritual growth through the pages of this book. It turns out, at least as it is portrayed by Tenney and Olsen, that Esther wasn’t all that different from you and I. She was honestly just a girl with hopes and dreams and a small seed of faith that she nurtured when she needed it most. Because she did so, God was there for her personally and in miraculous ways that would affect many.

If you have teenage daughters interested in Esther’s story, there is also a shorter version of this book for middle-grade and YA readers entitled Hadassah: The Girl Who Became Queen Esther that might be worth checking out.

There is also a sequel The Hadassah Covenant that came out after the movie did so well. I haven't read it yet, but probably will add it to my perpetual "too read" lilst because it is still the kind of story that fascinates me. The Hadassah Covenant brings back the original Hadassah and her modern descendent who was reading the story from One Night With the King to solve a "what happens next" type of mystery surrounding the rest of Esther's life.

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