Though I read voraciously, there are very few authors who I have placed upon my ‘must-read’ list. They are the select few whose new releases I must obtain and devour, who I will gladly read without question. Ginger Garrett has won a place on this short-list with her strangely haunting, lushly written pieces of Christian historical fiction.
Originally published in 2005, Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther is clearly an earlier work of Garrett’s. Garrett’s talent as an author is clearly growing with each title she pens, and as a result Chosen is not quite as sumptuous as her Chronicles of the Scribe series.
Republished this spring as the first in a new series Lost Loves of the Bible, this first title is being followed by the two cancelled titles from the planned, but never fulfilled Serpent Moon Trilogy. Fans of biblical fiction – rejoice!
The story of Queen Esther is a brief one in the Bible, yet her strength and character have inspired and intrigued women for thousands of years. So many questions arise when reading the simple account of her time in Persia – how could a devout, God-fearing woman live in the midst of such opulence? How could she be content as the replacement of a queen so haphazardly dismissed? How could she come to terms with the huge harem of her husband?
By delving into Esther’s life in a first-person, diary format, Garrett explores these questions, providing emotional depth, cultural detail, and historical correlations as she does so. Esther’s diary format is an unusual one. Though in some respects traditional – jumping past large spaces of time, as most do – in others it is less than believable as a diary.
Who truly captures such detailed dialogue and settings in their personal journals, and with such vivid precision? How did the young, harem-bound Esther continue to write lengthy descriptions with only one hidden scroll at her disposal before becoming queen? These breaks from typical diary form serve their purpose however. True diaries are rather dull reading. Thankfully Esther’s fictional diary is anything but.
Chosen is instead a story of strength, honor, and virtue in the face of compromise and commodity. It is a glimpse into the heart of an often-uncertain woman who finds her purpose in serving God where he has placed her. I look forward to exploring the themes of purity in the face of paganism someday with my daughters as they enter womanhood.