Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Book(s) o' the Month(s): The Birth of Venus and The Rent Tent

I recently read two works of historical fiction, both New York Times Bestsellers, The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant and The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I would recommend both books--just click on the links above to go to the authors' pages for plot summaries.

The Birth of Venus takes place in 15th century Florence, Italy. As an artist, I enjoyed reading about artists and imaging that world. It was a bit like being back in art history class. And it was a real page-turner.

The Red Tent takes place in biblical times and is the imagined story of Dinah. I was captivated by the reverence for the strong women characters as child bearers, mothers, caretakers, matriarchs, etc., etc. And ever since reading this book, I seriously wish I had a rent tent to go to once a month.

I blasted through each of these books as fast as a mama can, stealing minutes at a time, and staying up much too late at night reading. While each story was indeed engrossing and entertaining, I longed for more intricate prose. However, I realize that writing in the style of either time period would be a challenge for both author and reader. (Have you ever read Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales?)

I think I'll stick with 19th through mid-20th century lit for a while--it's back to contemporary historical fiction (does that make any sense at all??) for me!

(I'm joining in with Turn the Page ... Tuesday today over at Some of a Kind!)


  1. The Red Tent is my favorite book of all time, I have read it over and over. Love it!

  2. Those books sound interesting - I loved my art hx class in college - I just didn't like taking the tests - hah!

  3. Regina RosenzweigMay 3, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    loved the red tent. I agree with Becky. It's one of my favs.

  4. I read and loved both of these books! I even read The Red Tent twice! If you liked these, you may also enjoy "Remarkable Creatures," which is loosely based on true story that takes place in the 19th century. I love historical fiction!

  5. I've seen The Red Tent on several reviews and really need to add it to my wish list. Sounds really good!

  6. These both sound good. I read a book about an indian girl. In this book the had a hut the women whent to each month. The where brought food & what ever they needed. I've often thought this was a good idea.