If you want to write a certain genre, you’ve got to read all you can in that genre, at least 100 titles, says Heather Sellers in Chapter by Chapter. So, I googled lists of best historical fiction and The Red Tent by Anita Diamant was on most of them.
It’s the story of Dinah, Jacob’s daughter by Leah, given only a chapter in Genesis 34. It’s a confusing account, since Shechem, son of Hamor, apparently rapes Dinah (no consent given?) but then takes her into his home, wanting to marry her. He is so desperate for her hand in marriage he agrees to Simeon and Levi’s deceitful condition that he and all the men of the city be circumcised. While Shechem and his men are recovering from the procedure, Simeon and Levi descend upon the town and slaughter every male and take the women, children, livestock and everything else for themselves. When confronted by their father Jacob about the trouble this has brought upon him, they justify their violence by saying “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”
And that’s all we know about Dinah. So how did Anita Diamant write 352 pages in her voice?