Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood--the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers--Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah--the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past. Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women's society.
Publishes in US: November 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Press
Genre: Christian historical fiction
Source: borrowed
Series? no

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    I wanted to read this one because a few girls in my bible study said that it was a good story and it went along with what we were talking about at the time, the old testament. 

    It was neat to get this glimpse into the women of the bible that are only mentioned in passing. We hear so much about Abraham, and then a good bit about Jacob. But this makes it come alive, and the details are rich. I don't know how much is historically accurate, but it is so different from modern day, that I imagine she did a lot of research. It is told from the perspective of Dinah, daughter of Leah, but it shows the dynamics of them being sister wives-- and Dinah having essentially four mothers.  

    In this day and age, I can't imagine sharing my husband, but in the first part that focuses on Leah and her sister Rachel and who ends up being the concubines Zilbah and Bilhah. At first there is a lot of jealousy and bitterness, but when children begin to enter the picture, it changes so much, and their bond changes. Even though Rachel was barren for so long, it shows her strength and emotional journey. 

   Parts of this story are so emotional. Even though women had different responsibilities, priorities, and stations in life, there are event that we still deal with today. The emotional impact is stunning and again, are things that are relatable today- loss of pregnancy, jealousy, lies, falling in love, differences of opinions or religions. 

   I went out of this one feeling really satisfied. I couldn't find much about any actual biblical history of Dinah after her mention in genesis 34, but it really brought her to life for me. The ending was fitting for the story. 

Bottom Line: Great historical fiction bringing a biblical woman to life.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you read any biblical historical fiction?

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