Not since The Mists of Avalon has a book taken the history of men and transformed the story into a beautiful history of women, woven like a fine tapestry with threads of loyalty, intrigue, ritual, and a mother’s love.
Many of us know the story from the Bible of Jacob and his sons. How Jacob married both Leah and the beautiful Rachel… how his son Joseph, who wore a coat of many colors, was sold into slavery by his brothers but rose from prison and ended up ruling at the right hand of the Pharaoh. Fewer might remember the story of Joseph’s sister Dinah whose honor was defiled leading her brothers to exact bloody revenge.
It is Dinah’s story, in her own words, that the Red Tent tells. Though the details of the lives of the larger than life characters are strongly fictionalized, the historical details of life in Biblical times are told with authority and accuracy, most notably the aspects of “women’s culture,” The Red Tent (the seclusion area that where women rested once a month) plays a large role in the tale as it is the place where the women come together to tell stories, share loads, and remember their own secret rituals.
Here are the often overlooked voices of the women, the bread makers and child bearers, the ones who divine dreams, stand on the bricks, and weave the cloth.
Dinah’s story, and the stories of her mothers and brothers, is haunting. It will make you think, make you ponder the rituals of the past, make you long for your own mother’s lap. Starting with the story of Jacob’s arrival and ending only after all the other players have left the stage; the book retells an old familiar tale with enough new twists to keep the reader avidly turning the pages.
A masterpiece of historical fiction and retelling, this book shines with the echoes of the past, sparkles with passion, and dazzles with a story that is still new and exciting.
I strongly recommend this book!