Biblical fiction, painting a landscape on an historical canvas.
The story of Esther takes place against a beautiful backdrop. Historical research has created a stunning setting for Tenney's novel. Esther's life is a mosaic and way that each part of story is woven in Hadassah is unusual and the best thing about the book. A number of elements of the book are far from perfect, it's not a literary masterpiece and Tommy Tenney has taken the biblical story and allowed his imagination to run away with it - but you need to remember that this is fiction. Good fiction needs a great imagination and I found myself seeing Esther and her life and legacy in a new way that made me appreciate the biblical book in a different way than I had before.
Hadassah isn't a commentary - it's a story based on historical research and inspired by part of the greatest story ever told. I enjoyed feeling part of Esther's world, the detail at times was maybe more than I needed know and a couple of times it interrupted the storytelling but mostly it's well crafted and helps you picture her surroundings. It does have a slow start that was more about setting the scene, and initially and I almost stopped reading but I'm glad to have kept going - it was worth it.
March 13th, 2013 - Posted & Written by Jo Pountney