The Gilded Chamber By Rebecca Kohn Esther is orphaned when her parents both die in Babylon. She is a young girl and betrothed to a much older cousin, Mordechi, who works as the treasury official for the King. He has more or less hidden his Jewish affiliation and lived away from his family for many years. His relationship with Esther is more father/daughter than future wife but he grows very fond of her. After the evil Queen Vashti is banished from the kingdom, new virgin concubines are rounded up to bring to the King's harem. Esther is one of them. Pretty and 14 yrs old she is imprisoned into a life of slavery and desperately wishes to be back with Mordechi. Then the King chooses Esther for his Queen. Lust, romance, intrigue, murder. There is no modern day drama that can match the story of Queen Esther. A lot more fun to read than going to Sunday school. Great book!