“The Queen’s Handmaid” by Tracy L. Higley takes us back to 39 BC in Alexandria, Egypt and then to Judea. Lydia is a servant in Cleopatra’s palace and takes care of the royal child. The arrival of the Galilean governor Herod is eagerly anticipated by Cleopatra but things are about to take a turn for the worse. During Herod’s visit Lydia is visited by her mentor and the news he has for her will soon change her future. He gives her a set of sealed scrolls and tells her she must take them to Jerusalem. Lydia sees her chance to fulfill this task and to get away from the cruel Cleopatra when Herod leaves Egypt. Lydia is to serve as the handmaid to Herod’s wife Mariamme and she is thrown into a royal house of turmoil and deception but soon befriends Mariamme. She also makes other friends within the household most importantly is Simon. Lydia keeps her promise to her mentor and every year during the Day of Atonement she goes to the Temple to hand the scrolls over to the appointed one, but he never shows. When things become too heated for Lydia to stay in Jerusalem she turns to Simon to help her with the scrolls and discovers just who he really is.
This is a very well written book that will take you back in time when the people of Jerusalem where suffering under Herod’s control. This book is full of history and will keep you turning the pages. This is an amazing retelling of Herod’s cruel reign and the hopes of the prophets as they anxiously await the arrival of the Messiah. I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of Biblical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from Thomas Nelson.