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Over five years in the writing,
The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.
In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.
The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
Characters were so finely drawn l will miss them for a long time.
This is a book to enjoy for the first read and to chew slowly and savor for each additional read.
Well written and a treat for the senses; spicy, sweet, pungent and aromatic.
I highly recommend this fascinating, well researched, epic story of women, religion, magic, love and salvation.
Challenging and Rewarding
I love books like this and The Red Tent, that blend history with biblical stories told from the oft-overlooked women's perspective. While many of this genre are fairly easy reads, Alice Hoffman's style tends to be more literary than most. But that shouldn't be a deterrent from this fully realized story. In my case it meant I needed to slow down and read a bit more carefully in order to appreciate and savor the nuances of the tale.
Absolutely loved this book. I found myself thinking about the tragic lives of the characters throughout my day... Couldn't wait to get home to read more. Beautifully written, sad but empowering, truly one of the best books I have read in a very long time.