Saturday, 16 July 2011
The Gilded Chamber by Rebecca Kohn
This book was a mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses. The main strength was how realistically the female characters and the life of women in this time were portrayed. The sections about the harem rules and rituals were fascinating, and Kohn did a good job at showing how life was hard even for a Queen, let alone a lowly dancing girl. The writing was smooth flowing and descriptive, meaning that I could imagine myself in Ancient Persia. It was also a hard book to put down.
But there were weaknesses too. Esther's great love for Mordecai went unexplained and therefore it was hard as a reader to understand why she loved him for all of that time. The male characters were very one-dimensional, especially Haman, who had the potential to be a much more nuanced villain. I also did not enjoy the flashbacks that Esther would experience whenever a traumatic event happened as I felt they interrupted the narrative flow right when something interesting was going on and I wanted to find out what would happen next!
Verdict: An interesting retelling of a biblical story.
Score: 3 out of 5