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Dear Ms. Malvern
One gray rainy day in October, I was rummaging through the musty bookshelves of my grandmother's library. Trying to escape from the constant chatter of relatives, I shut myself into the one room not occupied by someone who would draw me into a boring two-hour conversation. Always an artistic critic, and a bit on the young and naïve side, I was passing time by judging books by their covers and thatís how I just happened to stumble across your novel. The gorgeous picture on the front automatically caught my attention and curiosity--who was the girl on the cover; what was her story? It only took one page to draw me in. By the first page, I was entranced.
The first time I read Behold Your Queen! I must have been around twelve, only two years younger than Esther. I automatically labeled her as a role model for what an upstanding young lady should act like, and still, nearly four years later, I uphold that view. Just as Ahasuerus believed that inner attributes are more priceless than any jewels in the world, I strive to make myself equal to Esther and her remarkable character. Moreover, I attempt to parallel Esther in her selflessness, the safety of her people above her own well-being. Although I donít have a group of people that view me as their leader, I do believe that in group settings I can gain more from helping others and doing things that need to be done, rather than putting my own wants and desires first.
Not only is this novel a link to ancient people and places long gone, it also provides me with a valuable link to something, or rather, someone, who I otherwise have a hard time connecting with--my grandmother. We've shared many a day fantasizing and sketching scenes from your novel, just laughing and bonding like we were best friends. Through talking about your book, we share a common ground, and we can both relate it to experiences we've had in our own lives, whether it's our first "love" or the Hamans in our lives. Though we may have had different backgrounds because of the change of time, we find we can still connect, and we often learn about each others life and occasionally reveal insight into our own.
The bottoms of the pages on the book are stamped with "New Orleans Public Library," and to this day I still don't know if my humble grandmother, once a Catholic schoolteacher, stole it out of the library out of love of your novel, never to be returned. But if she did, I would gladly pay the forty year library fine plus the book cost to be able to keep this influencing piece of literature to share with my children and grandchildren for many generations to come. Your novel has traveled through the ages from your publishing in 1951, to my grandmotherís hands in 1966, and to me in 2006, nearly fifty-five years later. I hope to convey the legacy of your novel to my children in hope of another long fifty years of Esther's immortal reign in our hearts.
© The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. (Used by permission.)