i.read

Christian College Geelong Senior Library: Lovers of literature

International Women’s Day: Great Reads

Anita Diamant: The Red Tent

The Red Tent retells the story of Dinah, which is found in the Biblical book of Genesis, Chapter 34.   She begins with the story of her mothers, Jacob’s wives: Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah. She then tells her story. Dinah is the daughter of Jacob, only sister to Joseph (he of the coat of many colors). She is raped by a prince whose father then offers to pay a dowry so that his son might wed her. Jacob agrees on the condition that all the men of the town are circumcised according to their family’s tradition. The king agrees. While all the men are still in pain from their circumcision, Jacob’s sons raid the town and slaughter them all. This is an amazing story of the strength to be found and nurtured in women when life is extremely difficult. A great read! 

Tracey Chevalier: Remarkable Creatures

Mary Anning lived in the early 19th century in the town of Lyme Regis, where fossils are abundant. At age 12 Mary discovered the first complete specimen of an ichthyosaur, a marine reptile about 200 million years old. Though she was female and working class, Mary managed to work with the middle class male scientists of the day. She was prickly and independent and eccentric. Plus, she was struck by lightning as a baby and survived. I really loved this book about a strong, and truly remarkable woman.

Philippa Gregory: The Red Queen and The White Queen

 

 In The White Queen Philippa Gregory brilliantly evokes the life of a common woman who ascends to royalty by virtue of her beauty, a woman who rises to the demands of her position and fights tenaciously for the survival of her family, a woman whose two sons become the central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the Princes in the Tower.

In the Red Queen, Lady Margaret Beaufort is a Lancastrian descended from Edward III (and thus in line for the English throne), Margaret soon discovers that her family tree will determine her entire future. This pious and intense child doesn’t see why she can’t become Joan of Arc, or a nun (preferably an abbess), or at least marry for love. Since Margaret’s first husband, Edmund Tudor, is also of royal lineage, their offspring could conceivably rule the land as Henry VII…Any reader familiar with Henry VIII knows that Margaret Beaufort went on to forge one of England’s more enduring royal dynasties.

Gregory sets up Elizabeth and Margaret like queens in a chess game, and their stratagems couldn’t be more fascinatingly intricate if they’d been invented out of whole cloth rather than based on the historical record.

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March 8, 2011 - Posted by | Past, people and places | , ,

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