Hadassah: One Night with the King by Tommy Tenney is Biblical fiction. The novel begins with a contemporary bride Hadassah, living in Jerusalem. Hadassah has inherited an ancient letter written by her grandmother one hundred times removed, Queen Esther of Persia. The letter had been written in Esther’s later years to a young Jewish girl also chosen, as she had been, as a candidate for Bride of the King.
Queen Esther tells her story as a means of impressing upon the young candidate the utter importance of heeding the protocols of the palace. “You will never again come this close to such an opportunity for power and influence,” Esther advises her protégé. “One night with the King changes everything.”
Tenney’s novel is historically accurate and true to the Biblical story of King Xerxes, Mordecai (Esther’s uncle) and Haman, the provincial governor determined to annihilate the Jews. As with any historical fiction, additional characters, back-stories and subplots have been added to put the story in context and to give some motivational explanation to contemporary readers not familiar with ancient cultures and practices. Still, I marveled at how a man could write with such feminine feelings and reasoning.
Unfortunately, a subsequent movie, One Night with the King, is based on Tenney’s 2004 novel but strays somewhat from the dialog and characters of the book, and takes poetic license with the Biblical account. Tenney has recently written a sequel to Hadassah titled, The Hadassah Covenant: A Queen’s Legacy in which he continues his story of the contemporary Hadassah and the young Jewish candidate Leah to whom Queen Esther originally addressed her memoir.