Tracy L. Higley
Thomas Nelson (2014)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (02/16)
“The Queen’s Handmaid” by Tracy L. Higley is the story of Lydia, an orphan since birth, who lives in the palace of Cleopatra, as the Queen’s handmaid. It’s 39 BC and all of Cleopatra’s court awaits the arrival of Herod, the Galilean governor who has his sights on the Judean kingship. Lydia receives a troubling visit from her mentor Samuel that night, but must put off his concerns until after Herod’s visit. When Samuel is later found murdered, Lydia receives a monumental task that will change the course of her life forever. She must return an ancient set of sealed scrolls containing the secret writings of the prophet Daniel to Jerusalem. The future of the Israelites depends on Lydia’s successful completion of this task.
Lydia’s beauty is becoming a problem in the company of the aging queen and she knows she must tread lightly. The Queen of Egypt does not hesitate to order the execution of someone for being even a hint of a threat. When Herod finds favor with Lydia and requests she become the handmaid to his betrothed, Lady Mariamme, Lydia knows this is her chance to escape the queen and fulfill her promise to her mentor.
I absolutely love historical fiction for its entertainment qualities, and cannot think of a more captivating read than the creative re-telling of history in ways things might have, or could have been. Creativity, laced with hefty doses of historical events, in “The Queen’s Handmaid,” the reader is rewarded with elements of a good mystery/thriller as well. Higley does a superb job of drawing the reader into the story with her vivid descriptions of surroundings and events, complex characters, and plot twists.
I highly recommend “The Queen’s Handmaid” by Tracy L. Higley to all readers that love historical fiction, especially stories set in biblical times. The story kept me totally immersed from cover to cover and I can’t wait to read more from this author.