Book Review: The Queen’s Handmaid

The Queen’s Handmaid, by Tracy L. Higley follows an orphaned servant girl from Cleopatra’s palace in Alexandria to Herod’s seat of power in Jerusalem on a quest to deliver secret writings from the prophet Daniel that foretell the coming of a Messiah. Along the way she must elude the schemes of petty fellow-servants and the dark magic of those who want the scrolls to remain lost forever. With no idea of who her parents were, she is also on a personal journey to find her place in the world and her true identity as a child of God.

Before reviewing this book, I read another historical fiction novel by Higley titled Garden of Madness which I thought was fantastic (two reviews for the price of one!*). That book brought ancient Babylon to life through the eyes of a likeable character and a plot that featured romance, mystery and a great spiritual connection. I was hooked early into the story and followed all the twists with so much excitement. I was truly entertained and inspired by the tale, and for this reason I was so excited to review another novel by the same author.

Unfortunately, The Queen’s Handmaid did not measure up to my expectations – the main character fell flat, and there was too much historical detail crammed in to lose myself in the story. The writing itself was good, and I love Higley’s descriptive style, but there were too many people and too many places for any of it to really come to life in my imagination. In the author’s note, Higley admits that this novel is her most ambitious project in terms of scope and historical detail, and I think that she bit off more than she could chew. I enjoyed the story, but I finished the last few chapters driven mostly by curiosity how the author was going to tie everything together and resolve this odd plot.

I’m giving this book 2 out of 5 stars – I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you’re VERY interested in the time period (39BC) because maybe you’d get more out of it than me.

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review through booklookbloggers.com.

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