Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review: The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley

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.

My Thoughts/Review

The Queen's Handmaid was interesting and left me with mixed feelings!

The history that is woven through the pages is what really held my interest and intrigued me! I did not realize all that had been taking place politically and even spiritually before the time of Jesus! I knew things were chaotic at times, but I didn't fully realize how much the Jewish nation longed for the Messiah until reading this! After seeing how things were in just Herod the Great's rule I understand a lot more about the ideas of the people concerning the Messiah and how that related to Jesus!

I have noticed throughout Tracy's novels that there is always an "evil" character who worships false gods with power coming from that worship. It usually makes me rather uncomfortable, but this was the first time that I truly appreciated her including this aspect of the story! Reason being is because she showed the true power of God and how He is so much more powerful then evil/darkness! I was left very humble in knowing that like Lydia God has given all His children a divine purpose that cannot be defeated by Satan even though he will try to stop it!

What led me to ultimately have mixed feelings about this story is how much time passed! There was a period of 4-5 years passing by in the middle of the novel that left me feeling disconnected with the main character! It wasn't until the near ending that I really felt a connection with Lydia again, but I felt like I had missed so much of her life! The romance was also an interesting mix that didn't quite sit with me because it sometimes felt confusing and then rushed (not consistently though)!

Overall I would recommend The Queen's Handmaid because it did have a great spiritual message as well as a very eye-opening story to real historical events!  

I give this novel a 3.5 out of 5 stars!  

About the Author

From her earliest childhood, there was nothing Tracy loved better than stepping into another world between the pages of a book. From dragons and knights, to the wonders of Narnia, that passion has never abated, and to Tracy, opening any novel is like stepping again through the wardrobe, into the thrilling unknown. With every book she writes, she wants to open a door like that, and invite readers to be transported with her into a place that captivates.

Tracy started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. After attending Philadelphia Biblical University, she earned a B.A. in English Literature at Rowan University. She then spent ten years writing drama presentations for church ministry. Over 10,000 people have attended drama productions she has written.

To experience her travel journals and see the romantic settings of her books, visit her website at TracyHigley.com or meet up with her on Facebook at facebook.com/tracyhigley.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September is for Sequels Giveaway Hop

Plain, practical Eleanor Braddock knows she will never marry, but with a dying soldier's last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America--and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path--building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.

Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows' and children's home run contrary to Eleanor's wishes/ AS work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground--and a love neither of them expects. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

The path to true love lies somewhere between two feuding families

In the spring of 1822, Ellie Ballantyne leaves finishing school and returns to the family home in Pittsburg only to find that her parents are away on a long journey and her siblings don't seem to want her to stay. Determined to stand her ground and find her place in the world, Ellie fills her time by opening a day school for young ladies.

But when one of her students turns out to be an incorrigible young member of the Turlock family, Ellie knows she must walk a fine line. Slaveholders and whiskey magnates, the Turlocks are envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly entangled with the rival clan--particularly the handsome Jack Turlock--she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future. Will she betray her family and side with the enemy?

Masterful storyteller Laura Frantz continues to unfold the stirring saga of the Ballantyne family in this majestic tale of love and loyalty. This is the Ballantyne Legacy.

Giveaway Time!

I am giving away a copy of A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander and Love's Awakening by Laura Frantz! Enter in the widget below! Ends September 10th 1:00am EST (US only)!

Also be sure to look at the bloghop list below to enter other current giveaways in this bloghop!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey where we share what we're reading and our goals for the week.

What I Read Last Week...

Grey in Jupiter Winds has become one of my new favorite heroines! She was so awesome and the book even more so! Click here for my review of this epic scfi/dystopian novel! 

What I'm Reading Now...

The Queen's Handmaid has been interesting so far! The story is still building up, but in a positive way! Looking forward to reading more! 

What I Hope to Read This Week...

There's a glimpse into my reading world! What about you? What are you reading?

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