A jealous Egyptian queen. A lascivious Galilean governor. A beautiful servant girl. Theirs is a story of prophecy, self-discovery, and revelation.
The year is 39 BC. All of Alexandria awaits the arrival of Herod, the Galilean governor with his eye on the Judean kingship. The handmaid of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, receives a troubling visit from her aging mentor.
An orphan since birth, Lydia lives in the palace at the demand of Cleopatra and her royal child, the son of Julius Caesar. But Lydia has a growing problem on her hands: her beauty is becoming a liability to the aging queen, and the visiting Herod’s undisguised interest only makes matters worse.
When Lydia’s mentor is murdered, the handmaid inherits a daunting task. An ancient set of sealed scrolls, the secret writings of the prophet Daniel, must be returned to Jerusalem—before those who killed her mentor destroy the scrolls as well. The future of the Israelites depends on it. So Lydia leaves the palace to serve as lady’s maid to Herod’s wife in the Holy City.
As Lydia is absorbed into the machinations of Herod’s household, her mission— and her people’s hope of a Messianic King—are endangered at every turn. Can Lydia avoid the adulterous intentions of Herod? Can she deliver the scrolls to the mysterious man on the steps of the Temple? Will the true King of Israel ever rise?
"Higley amazes us with another of her action-packed feats of storytelling." —RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK! (on Palace of Darkness)
|Release Date||Mar 18, 2014|
- Review by Becky
Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's household having been abandoned at birth. She has a way of making everyone love her and depend on her, all the while trying to keep them at arms' length so she doesn't get attached to them and risk having them be taken away. Her mentor, Samuel, entrusts her with a secret mission and a memento from her past. She makes her way to Jerusalem through joining with Herod the Great's staff. Will she fulfill her duty to Samuel and be able to uncover who she really is?
"The Queen's Handmaid" starts in 39 B.C. and spans a decade. The book follows historic events very closely. I actually went online and researched Cleopatra, Herod, Marc Antony, and other characters in the book to find the true story of history as I only had a very basic knowledge of who they were. In a way, my research caused me to know what was going to be happening in the book because Tracy Higley followed history so well! I was intrigued to learn what life was like for Jews right before the time that Jesus was born. It made me feel like I had a better understanding of Biblical times and what it was like for them living in Jerusalem.
I enjoyed how Tracy Higley wove faith in God (HaShem) into the story and how Lydia came to trust Him as her OneGod.
I recommend this book to anyone, especially those who love history and stories set in the ancient past. (Posted on 5/5/2014)
- Review by Rachelle
Not only was the plot interesting and the characters well developed, but the history was masterfully presented. The intrigue of the era, the wars and rulers and murder and intrigue have always left me baffled when reading through the history books and yet this novel seemed to bring it all to life. I could see the ruthlessness of Cleopatra's palace and taste the agony at Masada and feel the press of the rioting in Jerusalem. From Herod's madness to Mariamme's despair I lived the history.
And then through this history I also lived a mystery. What if there were scrolls that faithful Jews had been guarding and others had been looking for over centuries of time? And what if this was the moment when their secrets were to be brought to life? What if God chose one simple handmaid and brought her into the palace and the family of the queen so that she could play a part in preparing the way for the Messiah?
This book was fabulous on so many levels. Drama, suspense, spiritual battle, the discovery and growth of faith, the presentation of true love amid a culture where marriage (and sex and offspring) were leverage in a political game and the ever present hand of the One True God bringing about His plan for redemption threading through the midst of it all. I recommend this novel. (Posted on 4/25/2014)