This was a work of fiction based on the story of Queen of Sheba. Her story is told in the Bible and the Quran. I have to admit the story was well researched, with detailed descriptions of the setting. It re-tells the tale of the relationship between Queen of Sheba and King Solomon in detail.
The Queen of Sheba described in this book was one who was a strong, independent, exotic and powerful. She ruled the Kingdom of Saba which at the time was in the modern day Yemen and at the time extended to Ethiopia and Eritrea. Her strength was in contrast to the position of women at a time where they were seen as property and for use in diplomacy and alliances.
I loved Sheba’s character, I admire and aspire to be as strong as she was portrayed in the book. In the book it is described that she successfully conquered regions without revealing her face. The character development was equally done well. I walked with Sheba through time. From her childhood up until the time she became queen. This made her character believable.
The plot was easily followed and this is probably because this a story that I grew up listening to. So I kind of had an idea of what to expect. However there were parts in the book that were slow and it felt like I was reading the book of Chronicles. I understand the writer was trying to bring out the setting but to me I didn’t find the relevance.
Some of the quotes that stood out for me were:
- “Marriage is not about love” I said
- “No. But every woman – even the queen, I think – wants to be loved and loved before all others”
“No it’s not good for a woman to be unmarried”
This quote was a stark contrast to the two previous reads that I have read. Dear Ijeawele which advocate for feminism and not making it necessary for a woman to get married and that a woman should not be defined by marriage. However during this time and even up to now in many African cultures; marriage has been one of the things that make a woman complete.
The book of Songs of Solomon was also quoted and this also stood out for me
6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy, unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
Some aspect of romance was brought out through the letters written as poems from Solomon to the Queen of Sheba. They helped develop their romance in detail.