Monday, October 29, 2018

Jerusalem's Queen

Jerusalem's Queen:
A Novel of Salome Alexandria

The Silent Years
Angela Hunt
(Bethany House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-0764219344
November 2018/352 pages/$15.99

Born in the small village of Modein, a town made famous by the warrior Maccabees, Salome Alexandra knows better than to harbor grand dreams for her future. She pales in comparison to her beautiful older sister, and though she learns to read at an early age, girls are not valued for their intellectual ability. But when her father and sister are killed, John Hyrcanus, a distant relative, invites Salome and her mother to live with his family in Jerusalem, where her thirst for knowledge is noticed and indulged.

When her guardian betroths her to a pagan prince, she questions HaShem's plan. When Hyrcanus finally marries her to a boy half her age, she questions her guardian's sanity. But though Salome spends much of her life as a pawn ordered about by powerful men, she learns that a woman committed to HaShem can change the world.

Read an excerpt.


The author of more than 100 published books and with more than 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in Biblical Studies in Theology. She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at


I never miss a book by Angela Hunt, and this series set within the intertestamental period has fascinated and educated me. I had never heard of Salome Alexander prior to reading this novel, and Hunt's expert research brings her to life. Historical fact intertwines with compelling fiction resulting in a can't-put-down tale of the years prior to the birth of Christ. Hunt expertly portrays the harsh realities of this ancient time while simultaneously displaying the timeless struggles of human heart. The turmoil within families resulting from the quest for power is heart-wrenching, and Salome's dedication to God in the midst of opposing forces encouraged and inspired me. This novel reminds the reader that while God may not have spoken through his prophets during the so-called silent years, he was not absent, fulfilling his purpose. Don't miss this dynamic book and series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free from Baker/Bethany House Publishing and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

THE SILENT YEARS - Click the covers to read my reviews


1. I must confess, I’d never heard of Salome Alexandra, Queen of Jerusalem, before encountering your novel. Who was she?

I’d never heard of her either, until one of my theology professors mentioned her. Not much information is available about her, and what little information there is often contradicts itself. For instance, most Jewish history books say that she was the widow of Judah Aristobulus, who later married his brother, Alexander Jannaeus, but that couldn’t be possible because the high priest was required to marry a virgin. And we know that Judah Aristobulus married Salina, not Salome. Most people assume they were one and the same, yet they were not.

2. What made this woman worthy of a book? What did she do that was so unusual?

She was a good queen, and honestly religious. Her husband, Alexander Jannaeus, was high priest and king, and he was horrible. He ordered purges, he crucified hundreds of Pharisees and made his victims watch their families being murdered, he kept concubines—he was not a righteous man. But Salome Alexandra was a righteous woman, and after her husband died she reigned in his place and cleaned things up. She made sure girls were educated as well as boys, she changed the way marriage contracts were negotiated (so that women were provided for), and she blessed her people. The Jews said the years of her reign were “golden years,” when God blessed Judea.

3. Why didn’t those golden years continue after Salome Alexandra’s death?

Because she had two sons—one who was like her, with the other very much like her husband. The wild one attacked her heir right after her death, and their bloody war caused the Romans to invade, establishing, in the long run, Roman rule. Judea became a Roman province, Herod became king, and the last kings of the Hasmonean dynasty were killed.

4. What surprised you most as you researched this period? What was it, fifty years before Christ’s birth?

Salome Alexandra died in 67 BC, and the thing I found most fascinating was that many of the Jews of that time professed a real interest in studying Bible prophecy. The Torah scholars sensed that one epoch had concluded with the return of the Judeans from Babylonian exile, and a new one was about to begin. The Essenes, in particular, were looking for a messiah—or two, since they saw clear signs that God was getting ready to send a king and a high priest. They were looking for Christ, but they hadn’t quite figured out that the king and priest would be one person, and that God would send Him as a tiny baby who would be born to die so that we might be born again.


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1 comment:

Nonnie said...

So do you recommend this? I have never read an Angela Hunt book and I usually am disappointed with the biblical historical fiction. This sounds really good.