First off, I absolutely love Anita Diamant's writing style. Very easy to read, which is what I'm all about. Some of her lines made me stop, re read and sigh with mental notes to remember that particular order of wording strung together, but already, I've forgotten. I think I'll refer back to it and write them down at some stage.
While half way through this book I started to question my initial pre-conceived ideas about this story. First off, I thought, because it is based on the biblical story of Dinah, (someone who is not mentioned much in the bible for other than the fact that she was raped) I had believed it was a "Christian/religious" book.( Think Francine Rivers style ). Yet the amount of idol worship, pagan rituals and some very *ahem* heated relations graphically explained in the story made me question what genre this book actually falls into. The book is a fictitious depiction of Dinah which is based rather loosely on the story of Jacob's wives from the Bible. I feel this is important to point out as it is in no way to be taken in truth. Purely imaginative.
The story is so right up my alley with the whole sisterhood-bonding thing I love. Written in three parts, part one is dedicated to the 4 wives of Jacob who all play a role in mothering Dinah. We hear their stories, their loves and losses. We grow to love and identify with these characters in a short space of time which is a huge compliment to Diamant's writing. We find ourselves bonding with these woman while reading/living their most intimate moments, as women, together, in the red tent.
Part two is Dinah's childhood and coming of age, where a piece of me felt grief at not hearing more about these other women whose characters had been so developed.
I am not certain whether my earliest memories are truly mine, because when I bring them to mind, I feel my mothers breath on every word.
We are introduced to more women who play a life altering role in Dinah's journey, gaining more insight into each of their own remarkable stories.
Part three without giving too much of the plot away is Dinah's young adult life away from her homeland and family in Egypt. Her experiences as a midwife and adaptation to a new culture. More women in her life that again, begin to shape and support her in her life.
I enjoyed this book immensely and missed the characters once I was finished. I loved parts where Dinah felt at peace by water, because I could relate to this.
I stood by the water's edge until the last trace of daylight had drained from the sky, and later, after the evening meal, I returned to savour the smell of the river, which was as heady to me as incense, heavy and dark and utterly different from the sweet, thin aroma of well water.
4 stars from me...and only not 5 because I wanted to actually read more about some of these characters. I felt their lives were somewhat ripped from the page after being introduced and developed so strongly.