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.


If you pick up this book expecting to read the story from the Bible, then you will be disappointed. Diamant definitely takes some liberties with the story. I found the relationships in this book to be rather interesting. I can't imagine having to share my husband with another woman, let alone several others, but it certainly provided for an intriguing story. The female characters in this novel are much better developed than the male characters, and it was refreshing to read a book were the men were the secondary to strong female characters. I can't say that I loved this book. I just didn't have any real emotional connection to the characters. However, I did enjoy the story and think it's worth a read.

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