The Bible mentions a foreign queen who journeys to Solomon’s court to test him and exchange lavish gifts. In legend, she took home more than just gifts and trade agreements: she took home a baby, a child with Solomon, from whom the line of Ethiopian kings that extends to the 20th century would trace their lineage.
In The Legend of Sheba – Rise of a Queen, Tosca Lee does a great job in sifting through packets of Biblical verse and ancient lore to come up with an exquisite retelling.
Her Queen of Sheba – Bilquis also known as Makeda – was blessed and burdened with beauty. The death of her mother plunged her into suffering before taking her destiny as queen of her father’s kingdom, at great cost to her heart.
Her refusal to wed echoes a similar scene in the movie Elizabeth (starring Cate Blanchett) which illustrate the challenges faced by powerful women in a man’s world.
Her relationship with Solomon develops over distance and the course of several years. It is important to note that they met and parleyed with each other as equals. She is a queen in her own right, not a treaty wife or a consort. Despite their developing love for each other, they had to separate due to her obligations to her own kingdom and the intrigues within Solomon’s harem.
I find Bilquis very intriguing: she is haunted by her past but bravely forges on for the good of her kingdom.
I recommend The Legend of Sheba – Rise of a Queen to people who, like me, wonder about side characters in lore and history, and want to see their perspective.
Other works of Tosca Lee include:
Check out my reviews of other Biblical fiction:
- Pharaoh’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews
- Jewel of Persia by Roseanna M. White
- Esther – Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt
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