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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written novel about Queen Esther
This is a beautifully written novel with evocative description and fascinating insights into the world of Queen Esther of Persia, the Biblical story. We trace Hadassah/Esther's life from the time she is orphaned and goes to live with her cousin Mordechai, to whom she is betrothed, through her selection as one of the virgins for King Xerxes' concubines. It's the...
Published on 16 Nov. 2006 by Helen Hancox

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2.0 out of 5 stars The Gilded Chamber
This book, although well-written, is largely about the harem, where nothing happens except that the women tittivate themselves in order to please a man. The history element is interesting, but I tired of yet another description of oiled hair, smooth skin and jewels.
Published on 4 Feb. 2013 by Jacqueline Doyle


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written novel about Queen Esther, 16 Nov. 2006
By 
Helen Hancox "Auntie Helen" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Gilded Chamber (Paperback)
This is a beautifully written novel with evocative description and fascinating insights into the world of Queen Esther of Persia, the Biblical story. We trace Hadassah/Esther's life from the time she is orphaned and goes to live with her cousin Mordechai, to whom she is betrothed, through her selection as one of the virgins for King Xerxes' concubines. It's the descriptions of life in the Harem that are so brilliantly done. There were so many parts of that life described by Rebecca Kohn that hadn't previously occurred to me - Esther spends much of her time being afraid that she won't be considered good enough for the king - failure in this respect means the women are given to the soldiers as prostitutes. The politics within the court are complex and many of the characters cannot be simply seen as good or bad but flawed - including the king. The only disappointment in this book was that I wanted the one loose end to be tied up at the end - I suppose this way we get to choose what happened. But overall it was a really good book and beautifully written.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Oriental pleasure, 15 Jun. 2006
I have always enjoyed books which elaborate on characters from history, or the bible which are mentioned either only in passing or very little is known about them. This is a great addition to this genre. The story of an orphaned Jewish girl who conceals her identity and rises to be the Queen of the Persian King Xerexes is fascinating. The narrative is rich not only on action and character development but also on the details of the life in the Harem, the tensions between the women who live in such close quarters as well as the rifts within Jewish society at the time of the Babylonian exile. Those who enjoyed 'The Red Tent' will def.like this one as well as Marek Halter's novels about other women in the Old Testament.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 31 Jan. 2011
By 
WindsorMummy (Windsor) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Gilded Chamber (Paperback)
This novel was an absolutely amazing read. Rebecca Kohn has an astounding talent for recreating times gone by. Her descriptions of characters and events were so vivid, I actually felt I knew Esther and her companions. The book is full of raw emotion and you cannot help but be lost in the story. I wish it didn't have to come to an end, as I really wanted to know what happened to Esther and her cousin Mordechai. I suppose it can be left up to us to decide...It's history brought to life before your very eyes. I cannot wait to read more from Rebecca Kohn.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, read it!, 24 April 2006
By 
DubaiReader "MaryAnne" (Rowlands Castle, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Gilded Chamber (Paperback)
This was an interesting book, with fascinating details of life in a Persian harem at the time of King Xerxes.
Esther is a young Jewish girl when she loses both parents in separate events on the same day (Is that historically correct?. If so, how incredibly unfortunate!)
Her only surviving relative is an uncle several days travel away. He works as a treasury official for the king.
Although her uncle, Mordechai, is a Jew by birth, he is known as Marduka the Babylonian and has hidden his Jewish ancestry. He advises Esther to do the same.
When King Xerxes requires new blood in his harem, Esther is abducted to be a concubine in the court.
There follows a year of pampering and skin treatments before the new concubines are considered to be soft and plump enough to present to the king.
Those that please the king remain in the harem, the unfortunate ones are sent to serve the soldiers.
Esther uses her intelligence and guile to rise up the heierachy within the harem. She eventually gains the king's trust.
As the king's chief advisor, Haman, rises in power and the king becomes more drunken and idle, power shifts from the king's hands.
When Haman decrees that all Jews shall be slaughtered, it is time for Esther to use her influence over the king, a move that requires her to risk her life.
Really enjoyed this, will now look into other authors, such as Marek Halter, who has written several historical novels based around the Bible.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Gilded Chamber, 4 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Gilded Chamber (Paperback)
This book, although well-written, is largely about the harem, where nothing happens except that the women tittivate themselves in order to please a man. The history element is interesting, but I tired of yet another description of oiled hair, smooth skin and jewels.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read., 31 Aug. 2014
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I read this years ago and decided to get my own copy. It was just as good as I remembered. This has long been one of my favourite stories in the bible, and this novel is like getting an 'insiders' peek into the harem. Brilliant!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not at all like the Red Tent, 7 May 2008
By 
Am Mahir "worm books" (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Gilded Chamber (Paperback)
The Red Tent was one of the most touching and amazing books I have ever read - and this book is nothing compared to it. The Gilded Chamber is very long winded, cheesy and bland. The characters in the book have no depth. I finished this book in 3 days but skimming through it. A waste of time. A real disapointment.
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The Gilded Chamber
The Gilded Chamber by Rebecca Kohn (Paperback - 7 July 2005)
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