Fotografía de autor

Rebecca Kohn

Autor de The Gilded Chamber

2 Obras 588 Miembros 16 Reseñas

Obras de Rebecca Kohn


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I read this quite a long time ago. The author retells the tale of Jewish heroine Esther, who first became the concubine, and later the wife, of Persian King Xerxes, and the sacrifices this brave woman took on to help save her people. This novel brings new depth to the story of this legendary biblical queen. It does contain graphic sex scenes…….
mazda502001 | 15 reseñas más. | Oct 17, 2022 |
Quick moving story - not overly obsessed with any particular moment or description. Just enough to paint a great picture and keep me turning the pages as quickly as I could to see what the next page would bring!
lissabeth21 | 15 reseñas más. | Oct 3, 2017 |
I didn't expect much from this book. Stories based on the Bible tend to turn out either as extremely liberal interpretations that bear little resemblance to anything that would have been written in those times, or over-faithful recreations of the exact scenes with the exact words used in the Bible that leave one wondering, why not just read the original? I won't say that The Gilded Chamber is a perfect balance of new and old, because it isn't. But it comes closer than any I have found so far and gives me hope that the genre really might be improving.


What I liked:
The sense of place was good without being overwhelming. The author does not get bogged down in historical details at the expense of the story, but the history seems pretty good from what I can remember (Persia is not my area of expertise by a long shot).

Hadassah/Esther is actually pretty believable. In times of trouble there is always that one who swallows their fear and anguish until a time when it can be safely released and steps up as a uniter, a comforter, a leader. Such people are few and far between, but they do exist in real life. I have met them. And as Hadassah/Esther feels plenty of insecurities and uncertainties, has nightmares, weaknesses, and terrible regrets, I cannot call her a Mary Sue. I think this is probably as close as you could get to the character of the Biblical Esther without actually meeting her in real life, which would require a time machine or something.

Mordechai/Marduka was interesting because he shows a Jew who, like Esther, has nearly forgotten his heritage in his ambition to serve the king and climb the greasy pole. By the middle, however, he has regained his faith and openly admitted his Jewish ancestry, putting himself in peril. I wish he had been a little more 3-dimensional, though. (I'll put more about that in "What I Disliked)."

Xerxes was depicted as being about a big a jerk as you would expect based on history and the Biblical story itself. While Esther at first develops a wild lust for him, and for years tries to mentally mold him into a proper object for her love, she is never really able to do so. Which leads to...

This isn't a sappy love story. It is a story of survival.

The "One Night with the King" isn't glossed over as a time to chat over tea and show off one's wits. For the first time that I have ever encountered, the true nature of that night is made clear, though...
The sexuality is overt throughout but never very graphic. The author actually trusts us to be smart enough to know what is happening and doesn't spell everything out. A rare quality in a book today. Still more sexual content than many I know will be okay with, though, so I can't loan it to my mother.

What I didn't like:
Too many flashbacks to her parents and their deaths. We get it, okay?

Most of the characters are completely 2-dimensional, even characters that were important enough to warrant in-depth characterization. Why does Haman want to kill all of the Jews and murder the king? Ambition. That's it. He's just all evilness and ambition, and the same goes for his wife. To me this story would have benefited from a more well-rounded villain, but alas, we do not get one.

Maybe it's just me, but I would have liked to see Queen Vashti treated as a normal woman who just didn't obey one stupid order from her husband and got severely punished for it. Instead, she is an evil harpy who sends curses from afar and leaves death threats scrawled into walls, then sends her creepy little man in a boy suit to seduce his half sister and kill the king. It's just too much. At least Esther is smart enough to realize that she could easily be treated as Vashti was at any time.

I couldn't help but find it a little too convenient that Esther is put immediately into a group of friends and servants that contain so many Jews.

Marduka/Mordechai was a disappointment overall. While his betrothal to Esther at a very early age at least explains why she is with him to begin with, she has more to do with his servant and just about every other character in the book than with him. Yet she maintains a longing for him throughout the book and continues wishing to be his wife even though it is clear that he would have married her if that was his wish. He doesn't say a word when she is kidnapped to become a concubine; basically he doesn't seem to care what happens to her at all.

When Queen Esther ran out into the street, where Mordechai was publicly pouring ashes onto his head, in order to plead with him to just bow to Haman, it was just not realistic at all. She is always lamenting that she cannot escape her confines in the palace, so it's pretty hard to believe that she can somehow escape just at this important moment and ally herself with this condemned Jew with everyone watching, but with no one remembering any of that later. I think it would've been quite the scene in real life and word of it would have been everywhere.

I felt that, after all of this, there should be a clear ending even though the Bible does not have what became of Esther after the assassination, but we don't really get that.

Finally, I guess I would say that this version leans a little too close to the strict interpretation of the Bible end of things. It is still an interesting quick read, but I think a little more deviation from the text could have fleshed things out a bit. I would definitely read another book by the same author, though. She seems to be a talent to watch!
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aurelas | 15 reseñas más. | Jan 19, 2017 |
The story of Esther is told as if we could see her daily worries, the trials she faced in Xerxes royal sphere...but this removed all the inspiration from the tale. She wasn't especially strong, faithful, beautiful, perhaps she was described as humble as in the Bible. It was depressing and sad. A little too much realism for me while still being unrealistic...if that makes sense.
EhEh | 15 reseñas más. | Apr 3, 2013 |


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