Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
Would that I could make as many treaties by marriage and never give up a portion of my throne! Yafush had been right all those months ago: a woman could not rule like a man.
No, we must be far more clever.
Ever since I read this novel’s prequel, with its apt and intriguing call to “Seek wisdom, and rise,” I looked forward to reading The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen by author Tosca Lee.
Even with this story’s biblical link to one of the most famous kings of Israel, Solomon was not the major draw for me here. I chose this novel specifically for her, to read of the rise of the Queen of Sheba, otherwise known as Bilqis and Makeda. Different aspects of Bilqis’s account reminded me so much of Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age, stunning films about Elizabeth I of England.
Indeed, a queen—an unmarried one, at that—must be exceedingly strong and clever to rule.
Besides the interesting weight of politics and some of Bilqis’s adversity as a woman that struck me, I much appreciated this story’s exploration of worship. I think the question of whether one’s faith observance is “nothing but the brokering of deals” in hopes of receiving blessings from God is a relevant question for many.
Now, albeit King Solomon wasn’t my focus, and he doesn’t enter this tale until halfway through or so, I knew the love story would be inevitable, of course. While this isn’t a type of romantic storyline I particularly enjoy, I do realize you can’t demand a relationship like that of this queen and king to match an accepted, modern, Western one. And though the additionally inevitable jealousy and bickering got a mild eye-roll from me, it’s good that this love story isn’t a simplistic fairy tale.
Lyrical prose, lavish depictions, and moving reflections on the heart, intellect, and spirit—a worthwhile read for fans of historical fiction.
Note to my blog readers: not out of keeping with the subject matter, sex is a prominent theme throughout this novel, though the sexual content isn’t explicit.
Here’s my review of Ismeni: Prelude to The Legend of Sheba.