The Dovekeepers

The Dovekeepers

by Alice Hoffman

Judy Stanton (03/06/12): Having heard Alice Hoffman talk about this new book, I was intrigued by the trips she had made and the research she conducted to create this work of historical fiction. I found the Acknowledgement section at the end so interesting, noting that the stories of women were not chronicled, so that she had to use her imagination to make their stories fit with what was known. The book features interweaving stories of Jewish women's lives in 70 CE, suffused with tales of religious beliefs and customs, magical spells and incantations, love won and lost, bonding of women through family and friendship, as well as the deep sorrow of losing loved ones in a time of constant war and battle. The stories were compelling and magical, with each character having her own life challenges. The chapters from various women's perspectives still managed to move the story along, which I really liked....so many books review the same events from different perspectives...but the storyline falters. This one did not, although one would have preferred a more positive ending, denied by the true history. An excellent read.
Rating: ****

Marilyn Baron (01/02/12): I am a big fan of Alice Hoffman's writing so I wasn't surprised that I loved this novel. I think it's her best so far. She brings to life four Jewish women who were among the last holdouts on the mountain stronghold of Masada against the overwhelming army of Romans. It is magical, mystical and compelling. If you know the story of Masada, you know the tragic ending; however, there are a lot of surprises and it does manage to end on an uplifting note. I just returned from a trip to Israel where I visited Masada and it meant so much more to me when I read this book. Bottom line. You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy this book. It is a literary treasure and I highly recommend it.
Rating: *****

Dale Israel (12/04/11): Stop what you're doing and run...don't walk... to pick up your copy of The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. This is a fantastically delicious novel! I can't remember another book that has gotten me so excited since I read "Pillars of the Earth" a few years ago. The Dovekeepers is truly a treasure, one to be savored word by word and page by page.

The book takes place in the early 70s A.D. in Judea and follows the intertwining lives of four women who find themselves at Masada. Hoffman is a masterful storyteller who transports the reader to a different time and era. Someone on Amazon said that her rich descriptions allows the reader to hear, feel,smell, and breathe the environment of the characters and I agree. When I wasn't reading the book, the only thing I could think about was the book and all of my friends in this "other world." When I WAS reading the book, I wanted to dole it out in small portions to stretch out the joy I had reading the book. By now, I'm sure you get my drift...I ADORED this book and would give it a rating of 10 if I could. Having seen Ms. Hoffman speak at the Jewish Book Fest only added to the reading experience. What a lovely lady. I found what she said very interesting: if you can't find enough good books to read, well then, you just might have to write them yourself! So what! are you waiting for? Go get The Dovekeepers...I promise you won't be disappointed.
Rating: *****

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