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: The Queen's Handmaiden takes you through Egypt, Rome, and Judea. It takes you into the courts of Cleopatra, Marc Antony, and Herod and shows you the inner workings of their lives. The story of Herod's family was not one that I had known before.
Lydia is the handmaiden who has served in all of these households and it is through her eyes that we see the events unfold. Unfortunately, she rarely actually took part in any of the action. As the main character, I had thought that she would play a major role in events, but instead she only watched while the adventure she was to supposed be on was put on hold for years.
The events of Herod's rule were enlightening and filled with conflict. Lydia's task was potentially dangerous and would have made an awesome story─ if told on its own. With no developments for years at a time and its being told along side Herod's family drama, it felt less than important and I often forgot about the scrolls entirely.
There were great parts of the story. The characters drew me to their history. But the two different story arcs divided my attention in a way that stole much of the excitement. I am glad that I read it and hope for a follow up,
I received this title through litfuse in exchange for an honest review.
Retailers + Resources gave it this glowing review: "Rich in historic detail, Higley’s vivid writing brings to life the plots and intrigues that swirled through the ancient world as alliances were built and broken on the calculated schemes of power-mad monarchs."
- A Kindle Fire HDX
- The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley