After graduating from college in the United States, missionary kid, Hannah Pratt returns to the Bedouin clan where she grew up with the dream of starting a school. Upon arrival, she discovers that her parents have been receiving threats from the community.
Young sheikh, Karim Al-Amir has a duty toward his people. An unknown illness ravages their flocks and threatens their way of life. Many in the clan believe it to be punishment for allowing the American doctors and their daughter to live among them. Desperate to keep his childhood friend safe, he will do anything to protect Hannah and her parents, even something as crazy as marriage.
Hannah never imagined marrying someone who didn’t share her faith, but with the danger against her and her family rising and her calling clear, marriage to the sheikh might be the only way.
The Esther Paradigm delivers a sweet, butterflies-in-my-stomach, happy-sigh romance. Sarah Monzon pens relatable characters that tug at the readers’ hearts. One can’t help but love and root for them. Masterful storytelling and vivid writing brought this tale to life, making it next to impossible to put down. I could see the story unfold as though there in person. It’s been a while since a book has given me “the feels” all the way to my toes and back. And the ending — I won’t give anything away, but it was perfect!
All this being said, I was also torn. Though inspired by the Biblical account of Queen Esther, Hannah jumped into marriage with someone who didn’t share her beliefs with too much haste. It still felt like she had alternatives. I would have preferred to see it come about by forces outside her control. Also, Karim was too perfect. I don’t mean this altogether in a bad way. He is a be-still-my-beating heart, melt-into-a-puddle hero — wait till you read some of his lines — which made it hard to see why God would tell His followers not to be unequally yoked. Karim was too good, too understanding, and too accepting. The conflict that would arise in a marriage of two people from opposing faiths was not present.
All in all, it’s a beautifully written story that needed certain lessons to come across a bit more clearly.
Review copy provided by the author. Thanks!