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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. BOver 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....

Title : The Dovekeepers
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 11118511
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 514 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Dovekeepers Reviews

  • Kim
    2019-04-08 07:25

    There are many reasons why I wouldn’t like this book:1. I hate feeling dumb.2. It’s set in Ancient Israel, 70 C.E. to be exact, and the fact that I had to ask what C.E. meant --being a child of B.C and A.D --did not go over well (Refer to #1)3. It’s set in Ancient Israel and I, shamefully, have absolutely no clue what happened back then. I mean… besides the Last Temptation of Christ and bible stories that I kind of sort of remember. (#1)4. The author also wrote Practical Magic, which I have not read but I have seen the movie and besides it being pretty damn awful, I got a serious complex having to look at Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock slink around in little black dresses. AND she’s also a favorite of Oprah which causes controversy on its own level that I don’t care to go into but still am squeamish about…5. Hype. Wasn’t it one of the books nominated for a GR Book of the Year? 6. It’s a book that one of my co-workers would look at and say ‘Oh, I’ve read that!’ (a definite sign to stay away)7.It’s set in Masada… and I don’t know about you, but I had no idea what Masada was. Maybe it’s my Titanic, I don’t know. But, going off of #1, I didn’t like it when I mentioned this to a friend and he said ‘Oh, when (view spoiler)[all the Jews killed themselves and their families rather than be captured by the Romans, what a massacre!! (hide spoiler)] and I was only about 200 pages into it and had already started to care for some of the characters and well, HATE IT when surprises are ruined. (run-on sentence, whatever…)and.. well (#1)So, yes, there were many challenges to face reading this book. I’m not even sure why it was on my To-Read list… it’s not like any of you suggested it to me. Or, I think I might have run across this ditty at some point because I had a déjà vu type moment when I read it:“For those who say that the Witch of Moab never loved anyone, that she was selfish, concerned with her own fate alone, I can only say that she was ruined by love and delivered by it and that she left something glorious to the word, a child who loves to stand in the rain.”Okay, yes, you’ve written it off as a chick lit book. I get it. I would too based on that.. which is, by the way, on the last page of the novel and couldn’t have ruined my opinion of the story no how. This book is elegant. That’s probably the highest praise that I can bestow right now. I crave to be elegant. I am clumsy and messy and blabber and start sentences with ‘and’ and disregard all my 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Van Houten, taught me about punctuation. The story is based on actual events, you can even see some of the items mentioned in it at museums and such. But, what Hoffman has done has created characters around this story. The lives of four Dovekeepers and the people who surround them. She presents them to you in such a way that you actually feel like you were handling doves (that is, if you liked them… and c’mon… too many weddings show that the cliché is true.) The women are capable and graceful and intelligent. They have a quiet strength and live with many ghosts. They have all come to Masada for different reasons and fate leads them to one another and we hear each of their stories in their own voice. The Assassin’s Daughter. The Baker’s Wife. The Warrior’s Beloved. The Witch of Moab. Hoffman’s writing style was simple, short sentences. Statements, rather. But, beautifully written, so much so that I would find myself going back to the pages that I marked off to re-read passages. So much said in so little fashion.“I took my hand from his. He looked like ice, but ice is known to burn.”Or “ When the wind is so strong that we women know we will choke on the rising dust if we fail to tie our scarves across our faces, boys will always ignore the elements and race through storm clouds, dreaming of glory.”The first page of the book, before the map even, has this written on it: “Let my burden be your burden, and yours be mine.” Much better than that crap people recite from that wedding song. Life is hard. People die and people suffer and the most honorable thing you can do is help carry the weight.

  • Amy Bruno
    2019-04-11 05:34

    Never before has a book entranced me the way The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman has. I’ve literally just finished reading this book and I can’t get my mind to settle down. It’s almost as if I’ve ran a race, my adrenaline is pumping and my heart beating a mile a minute, scenes from the book keep going around and around in my head. My urgent need to tell everyone about this beautifully haunting book is taking over all other thoughts, so I need to get this review out before I explode!Alice Hoffman is the author of Practical Magic and The Red Garden, plus many, many other novels but The Dovekeepers is her first historical fiction work. Hoffman was inspired by a trip to Jerusalem, when she visited a place called Masada, a fortress built by Herod the Great that is situated on top of a large mountain, where a group of nine hundred Jews in the first century CE, who had fled their homelands from the invading Romans converged together to escape the slaughter of their people.The Dovekeepers is the story of four women – Aziza, the girl-warrior; Shirah, the Witch of Moab; Yael, the lioness; and Revka, the revenging mother – who came to Masada after their homes and towns were destroyed, each arriving a completely different woman than who they had been before the invasion. They tell the stories of their own life, prior to and including their time in Masada, up to that fateful day and each story is more haunting and profound than the next. Hoffman’s writing is among the most exquisite I have ever read! She has expertly woven a tale of tragedy and hope, hate and love, magic and human nature and I was mesmerized by every word. This book should come with a warning as it has the power to thoroughly enthrall a reader, causing them to block out the world around them completely. My household chores were abandoned, husband and child ignored, I was just absorbed into the pages of this novel that everything else took a backseat to the fascinating story enfolding in front of me. I cried when I finished the novel, not only because of the sad fate of the people of Masada, but because I will miss these four bold and unyielding women. I will carry their story in my heart forever.

  • Jennifer Rayment
    2019-03-27 07:08

    The Good Stuff * I wish I had the words to express how wonderful this book is. I will be honest if Simon and Schuster hadn't sent it to me for review, I probably wouldn't have picked it up and let me tell you that would have been a shame. This book is haunting and sad but yet so full of hope and of the resilience of the human spirit * Beautiful raw and honest story and just so god-damned emotional to read * Exceptionally real and strong female characters * History written so it comes alive and you learn so much without feeling like you are getting a history lesson * The faults/flaws of the characters are not hidden and you see how they change and grow over the course of the story * Emotionally raw by the end of the story and had to go hug my children before I could go to bed * Obviously thoroughly researched and you feel the authors passion for the subject matter as it never comes across as dull * I would be shocked if this doesn't get made into a movie or a mini series * Further Reading at the end of the book is appreciated for those like me who will want to find out more of the history * Very wise and thought provoking * A wonderful book for various discussions about faith, forgiveness, compassion, woman's rights etc * Why are you still reading my review -- get thee to a book store now and buy it -- hello what are you waiting forThe Not so Good Stuff * Could have been perfect with a some stronger editing. There is some obvious repetition that should have been caught and it would have made it a truly brilliant novel. * I was forced to stay up till a 1am to finish this and the last 15 pages or so I could barely read with the tears falling down. Alice you owe me some coffee and Kleenex & an apology to my kids for mommy being cranky from lack of sleepFavorite Quotes/Passages"Try as she might to keep him a child, Shirah's son was already straining to be a man. She called out cautions, but Adir hurried to the garrison, determined to be among the men he admired. When the wind is so strong that we women know we will choke on the rising dust if we fail to tie our scarves across our faces, boys will always ignore the elements and race through storm clouds, dreaming of glory. Even a witch can't stop her son from becoming a warrior. There is no spell great enough for that.""It was sometimes easier to be with a stranger from whom nothing was expected and to whom nothing was granted in return.""They embraced the feminine aspect of God, the Dwelling. the deep place where inspiration abided, for in the written words of God, compassion and knowledge were always female.""The desire for Jerusalem was a fire that could not be quenched. There was a spark inside the holiest of holy places that made people want to possess it, and what men yearn for they often destroy."What I Learned * Man it really sucked to be a women in ancient times, we are so lucky in this day and age to be treated, for the most part, as the equals that we are (still so far to go) * Now I really already know this, but lets just put this out again -- the persecution of Jews over and over again just completely baffles me. They truly are one of the most formidable, strong and resilient race the world has ever seen. * Tons of fascinating information about 70-75 CE Who should/shouldn't read * Will be buying a copy for my niece, sister and sister in laws for Christmas because I don't want to lend them MY copy and risk the chance of one of them --- "misplacing it" LOL * Those who enjoy a nice light read, would probably not want to pick one up. It is quite intense and detailed* Thinking those of Roman descent might be a little put off * A must have for public libraries4.75 Dewey'sI received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review -- thank you for once again breaking me out of my comfort zone and introducing me to something so spectacular

  • Anna
    2019-03-28 12:05

    The Dovekeepers on its surface sounds like it has the potential to be incredibly moving, and I had high hopes. Yet I found the reading to be more of an exercise in frustration and perseverance. The frustration is largely the result of the book's lack of development, which might sound weird to say about a 500+ page novel. It is described on its cover as a story of the siege of Masada, but fans of historical fiction will be sadly disappointed; the historical context is woefully underdeveloped. It happens on the fringes of the women's lives. Fans of fantasy will find the development of the magic weak. I wondered why Hoffman decided to include the magical aspect if she wasn't going to fully commit to it. Finally, fans of strong women protagonists will be seriously pissed off by how flat and unidimensional most of the women come off as. Which brings me to perseverance. The first section of the novel feels like you are trapped in wandering the dessert with the characters, and not it a "oh the description is so vivid I feel like I'm there" way but in a "dear god when will this end" way. I would have given up if I didn't have to finish this for my book club. I wish I could say that the story picks up, but for me it continued to be really uneven with section that bogged down the story.

  • Will Byrnes
    2019-03-23 09:05

    We were no different from the doves above us. We could not speak or cry, but when there was no choice we discovered we could fly. It you want a reason, take this: We yearned for our portion of the sky.Masada, the word summons up images, war, Romans, Zealots, slaughter, mass suicide. A place of national pride for some, historical and archaeological controversy for many, a bit of Python mockery to others. On visiting the place itself Alice Hoffman was inspired to wonder about the experience of the women who had lived and died there. The result is The Dovekeepers. She uses the writings of Jewish historian Flavius Josephus as the foundation for her tale. (The Monty Python crew used Josephus’s writings as well, for a very different purpose, in Life of Brian.) The four primary characters meet at Masada, where they are assigned to care for the doves. There are those who might consider this a hardship post, regarding doves asdirty, disgusting, filthy, and lice-ridden, or asrats with wings, but they are also a source of fertilizer, meat, eggs, and maybe a bit of hope. No one is designated as the concierge. Alice HoffmanThe four are Yael, Revka, Aziza, and Shirah. Yael is notable for, among other things, her coloring. Her father, Yosef bar Elhanan, is a notorious assassin, a member of theSicarii , a blade-minded branch of the Zealot movement. They do unpleasant things to Jews who collaborate with the occupying Romans. He was known not only for his effectiveness with sharp objects, but for his talent at going unnoticed. He did notice, however, that his wife died giving birth to their second child, Yael, and, possessing a mind and heart not nearly as honed as his weapons, he blames her. Thanks, Dad. All the while I was growing up I wondered what it might be like to have a father who wouldn’t turn away from the sight of me, one who told me I was beautiful, even though my hair flamed a strange red color and my skin was sprinkled with earth-toned flecks as though I’d been splattered with mud. I’d heard my father say to another man that these marks were specks of my mother’s blood.Their relationship is, shall we say, strained. Big brother, Amram, however, is the apple of papa’s eye, (I know, shocking) even follows him into the family business. That business involves doing in a Roman general, which gains them the attention of the occupying force and the family is forced to beat a hasty exodus from Jerusalem. They team up with another Sicarii family, headed by Jachim ben Simon. Things get complicated. They all endure a trial by heat, sand and misery on their trek, offering witness to others’ tales of sundry Roman atrocities as well. It is a road of self-discovery for Yael, and she arrives at Masada much changed from who she was when she had set out.Rachel Broshahan as Yael - from CBSRevka had a nice family. Hubby was a baker. Her daughter was married to a nice studious young man. They had two boys. Romans sacked their town, murdering Revka’s husband while slaughtering anyone within reach. Revka is forced to become a refugee. Further atrocities are visited on her family. While she gets a measure of revenge on the latest evil-doers, she darkens her own soul. Her grandchildren have become mute and her nice-young-man of a son-in-law has become a psycho warrior. Aziza and her mother were sexually assaulted when Aziza was still a child. Mom decided to raise her as a boy to reduce the likelihood of that happening again. She becomes a bad-ass warrior. Her brother not so much. There is a scene that could have been pulled from Robin Hood in which Aziza demonstrates her proficiency with a bow and arrow. Also gawjuss. Think Xena, at least I did. (you sprouts out there might conjure Katniss) Kathryn Prescott as Aziza - from CBSLast and definitely not least is Shirah. A witchy sort, with a book of magic spells, great hair and ravishing beauty. She comes from a line of women in a particular line of work, but her mother sent her away from their home in Alexandria when she was young, as an anti-them pogrom was going on, to stay with relations in Jerusalem. Things do not go well for her there. She meets The One, but there is a mess with him being already married, and not up to standing up to his parents, and her being, oh, twelve. She later finds someone with whom to share a home, pops out a few progeny, but is now a single mom in Masada, doing the odd spell to help female residents with this and that, and still looking up to the goddess Ashtoreth for her main religious sustenance. But what’s the deal with her and the hunky head of the Masada warriors, Eleazar Ben Ya'ir? And what’s up with his seriously creepy wife?Cote de Pablo as Shirah - from CBSSo that’s the four. We know (you know, right?) that things do not go well for the residents of Club Masada. The story is in tracking the progress of the place’s demise and how the four got there, and how they cope with the stresses that are steadily building. We are also given a bit of a tour, and get a sense of place beyond the stick figure general notion.Hoffman definitely has an inclination towards incorporating history into her work, whether of the maritime sort in Blackbird House or a bit of Transcendentalism in The Red Garden. She is also fond of incorporating dollops of magic into her tales, sometimes more than a little. She usually tells tales of women who are forced to cope with challenging circumstances. And she is quite fond of fairy tales. It will come as no shock that this novel is very much in keeping with her previous work. What makes it different is its ambition, scope, and length. It is not a huge book, at 500 pages or so, but is bulkier than her previous work.First, and probably most important, it is an engaging read. Her main characters are interesting, all strong in their way, and worth finding out about. The story moves along at a decent pace, most of the time. Place is of obviously central import and is given star treatment. I would not say that you could matter-transmit yourself to the fort and know your way around, but you might see places that look familiar and wonder how you knew about them. Hoffman mixes martial material of different flavors, blending some warriors in combat with the more appalling laying waste of defenseless civilians by armed sorts from both sides. There is romantic entanglement aplenty, but my guy-genes did not feel much inclination to generate spew. It all worked pretty well. She may have overdone it a bit with her imagery, IMHO. Yael, in particular, is associated with, among other things, a Flaming Tree image. Red hair, get it? There are other bits of significance associated with this, but it seemed to me that it was popping up like one of those birthday candles that won’t go out. Yael is also associated with lions, in various guises, a love interest, an encounter with a feline or two in the desert, a kittie held captive by the occupying army. As a host to six of the creatures, I know that, however much we may love and be fascinated by them, sometimes you need to step back a bit. Maybe it is just that in a longer book there are more mentions than one is used to from Hoffman, who knows her way around imagery. I do not recall feeling bugged by other such strands. Watch for image streams relating to serpents and boids, sorry, birds (I am from Brooklyn, after all) Hoffman associates some elemental aspects with her characters, which seemed very fairy-tale-ish and ok. Shirah is associated with water, for example, and that aspect was used in moderation and worked quite well. Magic most definitely plays a part here. Spells are cast and have the expected impact. Of course some of what works is an expert’s knowledge of science, and that seems like magic at times. It is suggested that one character’s cloak has a feature may make it a likely ancestor of a similar garment used in Hogwarts. One expects magic in AH’s novels. This is all good. For her historical basis, Hoffman relies on the writings of Flavius Josephus. Here we get into a bit of controversy. The tale of mass suicide that is Masada appears not to have a particularly strong foundation in archaeological research. It was fluffed at a time when it served well as a symbol of Israeli determination and nationhood. Evidence that proves that the events Josephus describes actually occurred is less than entirely persuasive. While there are certainly elements of Josephus’s tale that have a basis in reality, others might constitute a bit of playing to his audience. We all have our national myths. Think George Washington and the Cherry Tree, Paul Revere’s ride, WMDs in Iraq. I do not fault Hoffman for centering her tale around a historical event that is less than universally accepted. Myth is what she does. And she has done an outstanding job with this one. Whether one sees the source material as ancient history or a mythologization of a less exceptional reality, the story she spins around that core is a compelling one. I have only read a handful of Alice Hoffman’s adult books, so cannot claim a deep knowledge of her oeuvre. But I would put my shekels on The Dovekeepers being the crowning achievement of her career. (One might say it is the feather in her literary cap. I wouldn’t, but some might.)Review posted – 3/28/15Pub Date – 10/4/11This review is also posted at Cootsreviews.com=============================EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal and FB pagesHere is areading guide from Hoffman’s siteThe CBS mini-series is due any day now. The series makes do with three of the four primary characters, (sorry Revka) and Josephus is not a character in the book. Oy, there are so many unfamiliar words used in this story that it would be a useful thing to have kept track of them. Sorry, kids, I did not. However, AH does collect some of those in a glossary on her site. It is not comprehensive, though. There are plenty more in the book.A documentary that looks at the historical event:Time Travellers: Myth of MasadaHere is a nifty site if you are interested in this particular sort of boid birdA couple of songs that seem, vaguely, suitable Yes, yes, I know the title of the song is Edge of Seventeen, but I imagine most of us think of it as The White Winged Dove A favorite from a non-Jewish PrinceAnd then there is Monty Python, noted at the top. Here is a site that not only links to the infamous Python suicide scene from Life of Brian, but offers a look at a scene, cut from the film, that had been intended to set it up.

  • B the BookAddict
    2019-04-04 07:33

    Alice Hoffman will teach the reader about an event which most of us know nothing about: this is a factual story with fictional characters interwoven. Four women who are refugees at Masada over 2000 years ago; Hoffman tells their story – will you listen? this is where they worked: a dovecote at Masadathis is where they lived: the fortress at MasadaA colossal triumph; Hoffman shines in this endeavour which took her five years to write. Interesting? Hell, yeah! This story, the fact and the fiction, will linger with me for a long time. Thank you Alice Hoffman. Most Highly Recommended 5★

  • Janet
    2019-04-17 11:04

    For fans of Alice Hoffman this book is a mixture of the new and the familiar. Devotees will recognize the strong women with unusual, even magical abilities. What's new is the historical setting and time---the fortress of Masada in the year 70 CE. Also, Hoffman's language struck me as different in this book. I think whether or not readers like this book will hinge on their reaction to the language Hoffman uses to recreate the world of her women. I loved the level of detail. I felt the sea salt in my hair, the rocks pricking my bare feet, the sun beating mercilessly on my head. I tasted the saltiness of the olive crop. I realized how central religious beliefs were to how the women lived their daily lives, and how gender affected their choices. I understood when they chose to break the rules and empathized at the price they paid. One of the themes of this story is the value of words; their meaning and use are important to the characters. Words are cited as the first thing created by God. Hoffman uses this novel to give words to the women of the time, to let their voices be heard. Words can be spoken or written. This book did for me what I love about books---it used the written word to create a world for me as real as the one I'm living in now.

  • Christina White
    2019-04-12 07:16

    Alice Hoffman brought me back in time and I enjoyed learning about what life was like in 70 C.E. The writing was beautiful and at times poetic. I like my poetry in short doses though and after two hundred pages of lyrical prose I was ready to move on with the story. I liked the book, in fact I was swept away in the lives of the brave women it was about. Revka, Aziza, Shirah and Yael were strong women who lived amazing lives and were the only survivors of the Masada massacre. Unfortunately, the parts of the story that I first found to be so interesting started to bore me. The amount of detail the author put into describing religious beliefs and rituals made the story drag. I felt like I only needed to read about the steps to prepare one's body for death only once. Instead, the author felt like she had to pound the information into my skull again and again. After a while that is how I felt.... like the author was pounding me upside the head with her overly written book. Death by poetry. I started to skim over the pages looking for the meat of the story till I found the end. I'm glad I finished it.Pictures I found relating to the story:MasadaThe ramp the Romans built to MasadaCharacter Casting:Yael: Emma StoneRevka: Helen HuntAziza: Kiera KnightlyShirah:Catherin Zeta Jones

  • Linda Hart
    2019-04-04 07:17

    An exceptional read. This is a masterpiece, a wonderful, mesmerizing book about the lives of four strong Jewish women, each with different backgrounds, powerful personalities, and distinct stories of there own. Their histories collided when destiny/circumstances found them living at the Jewish stronghold, Masada, during the last and final siege by the Romans. According to the historian, Josephus, two of these women and five children survived the horrendous event. I agree with Janet, a goodreads reviewer who said the following: Words can be spoken or written. This book did for me what I love about books---it used the written word to create a world for me as real as the one I'm living in now.On Oct 03, 2011, Another goodreads reviewer, Jennifer Rayment, wrote such an excellent review that I am quoting it in entirety here:The Good Stuff* I wish I had the words to express how wonderful this book is. I will be honest if Simon and Schuster hadn't sent it to me for review, I probably wouldn't have picked it up and let me tell you that would have been a shame. This book is haunting and sad but yet so full of hope and of the resilience of the human spirit* Beautiful raw and honest story and just so god-damned emotional to read* Exceptionally real and strong female characters* History written so it comes alive and you learn so much without feeling like you are getting a history lesson* The faults/flaws of the characters are not hidden and you see how they change and grow over the course of the story* Emotionally raw by the end of the story and had to go hug my children before I could go to bed* Obviously thoroughly researched and you feel the authors passion for the subject matter as it never comes across as dull* I would be shocked if this doesn't get made into a movie or a mini series* Further Reading at the end of the book is appreciated for those like me who will want to find out more of the history* Very wise and thought provoking* A wonderful book for various discussions about faith, forgiveness, compassion, woman's rights etc* Why are you still reading my review -- get thee to a book store now and buy it -- hello what are you waiting forThe Not so Good Stuff* Could have been perfect with a some stronger editing. There is some obvious repetition that should have been caught and it would have made it a truly brilliant novel.* I was forced to stay up till a 1am to finish this and the last 15 pages or so I could barely read with the tears falling down. Alice you owe me some coffee and Kleenex & an apology to my kids for mommy being cranky from lack of sleepWhat I Learned* Man it really sucked to be a women in ancient times, we are so lucky in this day and age to be treated, for the most part, as the equals that we are (still so far to go)* Now I really already know this, but lets just put this out again -- the persecution of Jews over and over again just completely baffles me. They truly are one of the most formidable, strong and resilient race the world has ever seen.* Tons of fascinating information about 70-75 CEWho should/shouldn't read* Will be buying a copy for my niece, sister and sister in laws for Christmas because I don't want to lend them MY copy and risk the chance of one of them --- "misplacing it" LOL* Those who enjoy a nice light read, would probably not want to pick one up. It is quite intense and detailed * Thinking those of Roman descent might be a little put off* A must have for public librariesI listened to the audio version, which is very well done with four different women doing the narrative reading of the four main characters. If it were possible I would give this book 6 stars. It is among the best books I've read in a long time and touched me deeply.

  • Angela M
    2019-03-22 09:05

    I was absolutely taken by this amazing story which was based on historical events of which I knew nothing about. The writing is beautiful and the story of these strong and willful women will remain with me for a long time.

  • Cathrine ☯️
    2019-03-29 13:33

    2.75★Being a huge AH fan I’m somewhat embarrassed with my rating and reception to this novel. With only a couple of exceptions, every GR friend who read it rated it very highly. Writers Toni Morrison and Wally Lamb praised it as well. So what’s up with me? I offer up my thoughts for those very few of you who also struggled.I ended up feeling like many of the Jews wandering in the desert for forty years, except for me it was forty years of five hundred pages. Initially, the chosen people were happy to be free of the yokes of slavery and have enough nutritious manna to eat. Then the years did not fly by and the grumbling started in—Are we there yet? Is there anything else to eat besides this white stuff? We’re sick of it. We want meat! I was definitely feeling very ungrateful and unappreciative by the halfway mark.While the author’s prose usually works its magic on me, in this case it was overwrought in my opinion. I think it got it its own way. Weaving a tale around the personal stories of four women and how they came to be at Masada was promising fiction. However they all spoke with the same esoterically flowered speech to the point of reading exhaustion. Since the ending of this historical event was known and would be no surprise reveal, it was all about the journey getting there. It became necessary for me to break and read other books in order to finish. There wasn’t enough meat (and I’m a vegetarian).As stated I’m a fan of the author, so perhaps I need literary counseling? A just okay read for me but it finished well and I am compelled out of loyalty to bump it up to three stars.Thank you dear book family for allowing me to release my reader’s frustration from the very small pond in which I dwell as an outcast. Selah.

  • Bookdragon Sean
    2019-03-25 09:06

    This was massively underwhelming. The plot was terrible; it had no real development or drive. In reality, it barely existed at all. The story just followed the lives of some rather mundane characters. There was little to keep me reading. They weren’t really striving for anything, beyond survival; thus, I found myself getting quite bored with their stories. They just weren’t very remarkable. The historical detail was minimal, and the random magic elements that were worked in the plot were just so pointless that they might as well have been taken out. I was rather annoyed.I would even go as far to say that this wasn’t really historical fiction. Well, at least not in the traditional sense. The author has evoked the era well in terms of the social aspects she portrayed. The Roman Empire’s brutality can be seen in the stories; they are ignorant to ways that are not their own. They are quick to supress and control. But, in terms of the huge political events, the ones that change governments and shape nations, this was hugely underdeveloped. It was barely portrayed at all; it wasn’t the focus of the story, the characters were. So, it remained forever in the background. This was more a chronicling of their lives rather than a portrayal of real historical detail. As a huge fan of historical fiction, I was incomparably disappointed because there was so little history involved. The cover was very missleading. The prose was heavily descriptive. It was massively convoluted in this. The desert scenes were painstakingly arduous in their perpetuity. They just didn’t seem to end. The dessert was clearly suggestive of the character’s situation; they were hopeless and despairing like the far reaching dry dunes. This is great, though I don’t need to be bombarded with the constant comparison. Then, at one point, she gives a ridiculously long section over to describing the wind. I mean the…wind. Great…. I get it. It’s the fucking wind. This needed some elements of subtlety in the writing, and a stripping back of its overworked imagery. I’d just had enough of hearing about the desert, and it’s amazingly exciting wind, come the tenth time it was described. Then there are the characters themselves. I hated them. I hated them all, every last one of them. Well, except for the goat in the first part. I quite liked the goat. That says it all. When the goat is your favourite character in the novel, then you know that you hate it. Not that I’m against goats, but when I read a book I hope for something more than a goat that I can sympathise with. She did have it tough though, I mean, I wouldn’t have wanted to be dragged along with Hoffman’s characters. Well, that kind of happened when I read this excruciating novel, but not in the literal sense. Pity that goat my friends, pity her.

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2019-04-17 12:22

    Onvan : The Dovekeepers - Nevisande : Alice Hoffman - ISBN : 145161747X - ISBN13 : 9781451617474 - Dar 504 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2011

  • Jason Golomb
    2019-04-21 08:32

    "Dovekeepers" is the first book I've read of Alice Hoffmans'. In fact, one evening my wife looked at the book while I was reading in bed and said: "You're reading Alice Hoffman? I've read Alice Hoffman. But you don't read Alice Hoffman!"And so I DID read Alice Hoffman and I liked Alice Hoffman. This is a very good book. It's real deep and very weighty. "Dovekeepers" orbits around the real life events of the early 70s A.D. in ancient Judea. Rome was large and in charge and in the midst of shattering a Judean rebellion (seen commemorated in the famous Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum only a few hundred yards from the Colosseum in Italy). Several hundred Jews fled Jerusalem to the desert near the Dead Sea and moved into the former mountain fortress of King Herod at Masada. While the proud Jewish rebels held off a Roman legion for several years, Rome ultimately prevailed and all but two women and five children killed themselves rather than allow themselves to be overrun.Hoffman's novel follows the lives of four women who all find themselves on Masada. Each woman has a dedicated 100-150 pages that weave in and out of each other’s stories with the collective whole building a comprehensive picture of their mutual plight. The stories connect the women together in ways that are obvious and follow the primary arc of the novel, but also in ways that are surprising and poignantly fulfilling. The connections build and develop on many levels: physically, emotionally, and symbolically. The book is full of characters who are broken and hurt; affected by some deep trauma catalyzed by the Roman attacks on Jerusalem; driving each, by their own will or otherwise, to the fortress in the desert. One of Hoffman’s women is Yael, a deeply fractured and self actualizing individual who sums up the disparate journeys that brought the women to Masada: "We came like doves across the desert. In a time when there was nothing but death, we were grateful for anything, and most grateful of all when we awoke to another day."You'll feel the weight of each character’s pain and sorrow increase as the novel progresses. There are few happy endings. Hoffman's themes cover the gamut from fate and destiny, to religion and love, and the depths of devotion. Faith is a thread that runs throughout Hoffman's carefully woven tapestry. It's not just a religious entity, but something that binds individuals, family units, as well as the entire rebel community. In Revka, Hoffman ponders the rebel Jews: "If we lost our faith, we would become like the clouds that swell across the western sky when the wind pushes them into the desert promising rain but empty inside." It's through Revka also that Hoffman finally (about half-way through he book) provides a heart-wrenchingly warm and genuinely surprising treat at the end of her particular novella. For the first time the furrow on my brow melted into a smile on my face (note: it didn’t last very long). Hoffman's Judean world is one of religion and tradition, of myth and magic: a world where everything in it has significance...symbolic or real. Some vignettes read almost as something out of a fantasy novel, but there's no melodrama to their weight.In looking for a good way to summarize the books' tone, I found a couple of strong quotes. This first comes from Shirah, ‘The Witch of Moab’: "Being human means losing everything we love best in the world. But would you ask to be anything else?" This second is from Revka: "...our waking life is formed by our sorrow. " In each character is anchored a heavy weight. In this misogynistic society, few men come across in a truly positive light. Though Hoffman writes very sparingly, in her few words, she's able to expresses a multiplicity of ideas and thoughts. Characters are never solely what they seem to be and there is very little that is purely black or white. Hoffman’s world is filled with shades of gray. This book is going to resonate strongly for a lot of readers. It may be a bit polarizing because of its very serious nature. But as a first time reader of Hoffman, and a male, I feel fuller for having read this novel. I highly recommend it.

  • Carole
    2019-04-16 06:27

    This is a work of historical fiction. The story is based on the Roman attack on the fortress at Masada in 73 A.D. and the resulting mass suicide. Since I have visited this site in present-day Israel, I was interested in reading a novel based on this event.In terms of the history, Hoffman has done an admirable job of researching and narrating the events at Masada. She describes the time, place and culture of the ancient Hebrews with great detail.However, in terms of the fictional part of the novel, she does not do such an admirable job. The plot is pure suds: dysfunctional families, infidelity, far-fetched coincidence, secret love affairs and emotional conflict galore. The book is far too long (500 pages) and seemed even longer due to the tedious writing style. The story is told from the point of view of four different characters. I was having a hard time keeping them straight until I realized that the reason was that they all had the same voice. What this book needed was a good editor who is not intimidated by Hoffman's status as a best-selling author. Preferably an editor with a big pair of scissors who would cut out at least 100 pages. And maybe an editor who would have the courage to point out that a story cannot be told in the first person by a dead character. So, mostly two stars but I gave it three because of the history.

  • Elyse
    2019-04-14 11:07

    Judea AD 70 ..."The First Jewish-Roman War"In the years after the destruction of the second temple, approx. 900 Jewish rebels and their families fled Jerusalem and took refuge in the fortress of Masada in the Judean desert. Women Dovekeeper's: collecting birds eggs, gathering droppings to ferlise the fortress's orchard's. These women tending to the Masada's dovecotes, formed a small community within a larger one. They each bring their conflicts with them. They live with guilt, grief, loss, family conflicts, difficult births, jealous conflicts, and secrets. These women express sexual freedom - care about gender equality, and emancipation. Some of these women- take lovers, have babies, steal babies, cast spells. There are mother/daughter issues. Father/daughter issues. Sibling issues. Friendship issues... Jewish struggles.......Revka watched her daughter be raped and murdered by a Roman soldier. Her husband was also murdered. She has two grandsons --whom are her life. ...Yael's mother died during childbirth. Her father, (a political assassin), treated her awful --as if she were to blame. She was close to her brother Amram...(she protected him when they were little...as Amram was a sensitive boy). Yet Amram followed his father's footsteps --became a powerful assassin, himself as a young man.Yael's closest friend ---is her brother, Amram! --(even though they go long periods of being separated). The Assassin, Simon, --(who trains Amram to be an assassin) ---later becomes Yael's lover ---(but so much more --I can't give all the details away) ...Shirah is has two daughters: Aziza & Nahara. Shirah is considered the medicine woman --yet is also accused of witchcraft. ---"Witch of Moab". She's a feminist heroine in many ways -- using her power to help other women who are in need. ...Aziza was raised as a boy and as a warrior -- 'until' the age of 16 --when she rebels. She meets Amram....and from that day forward --she wants to be 'a girl' again. She and Amram fall in love. (no love is 'easy' in this story)...Channa is the barren wife of a character based on the real-life leader of Jewish rebels.Here are a couple lines to ponder........1) Yael speaking: "As I grew, I was quiet and well behaved. I asked for nothing, and that was exactly what I received. If I was clever, I tried not to show it. If I was injured, I kept my wounds to myself. I turned away whenever I saw other girls with their fathers, for mine did not wish to be seen with me." 2) Shirah speaking: "They say that a woman who practices magic is a witch, and that every witch derives her power from the earth. There was a great seer who advised that, should a man hold a witch in the air, he could then cut off her powers, thereby making her helpless. But such an attempt would have no effect on me. My strength came from water, my talents buoyed by the river. On the day I swam in the Nile and saw my fate in the ink blue depths, my mother told me that I would have powers of my own, as she did. But there was a warning she gave me as well: If I were ever to journey too far from the water, I would lose my power and my life. I must keep my head and not give in to desire, for desire is what is what causes women to drown."This is a historical 'saga-drama'. Characters are well developed...Story is easy to follow...Reading is fast....once the reader 'dives' in!I fully enjoyed this book.... I don't care what the negative-people say..."In the desert, the air burns"!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mandy
    2019-03-27 10:10

    Once again a book I picked up because of book club. One of the few books I have read in my life that made me sob like a baby at the end. I've heard they're making this into a mini series and I can't wait for it if they do. I enjoyed the four stories of the women and how they meshed together. An emotional ride for anyone who reads. Such an outstanding work of art based on four women who come together and become family despite their backgrounds. Really enjoyed!

  • Camie
    2019-03-31 05:13

    This book has been called Alice Hoffman's masterpiece, her most ambitious and mesmerizing writing, and I surely agree. This is the richly told story of four strong and mysterious women from diverse paths who find themselves drawn together as sacred dovekeepers for the 900 Jews who held off the fierce Roman army for months in the Judean desert at the mountain fortress Masada. No doubt you know something about the famous siege, and this great fictional (yet fact related tale) has all of the ancient mysticism, magic, and passion that make up a spellbinding read . 5 stars

  • Rachelle Urist
    2019-04-05 13:22

    It's pure soap opera. When the story's moving, it engages. Otherwise, it's stagnant and annoying.This book has the nasty whiff of Anita Diamont: phony historicity; extraneous research thrown in because she has it, not because it fits; names of objects (e.g.: "birthing stool") that are never explained (probably because the author is clueless about its use); predictable outcomes (of course Yael will fall in love with the enslaved legionnaire); repetitive themes and phrases, ponderous and heavy-handed symbols, and and the author's inflated sense of herself. Hoffman's ludicrous use of Hebrew terms, which she then must explain, stops the forward movement of the narrative in its tracks time and again. Why? Do we need to know that "tanur" is Hebrew for "oven?" And for all her purported familiarity with Jewish custom and ritual, she abuses the name of God, using "Adonai" over and over again, when that's a sacred name to be used only in prayer. She also talks about a flaxen garment. But flax is not kosher. It's "shatnez," prohibited from use, because it's made of the forbidden combination of linen and wool. All in all, a lot of hot air. I'm only half-way through the book, but it's pretty certain that a novel that gets this far with these glaring flaws will be unable to redeem itself. This book got rave reviews from Toni Morrison, Jodi Picoult, and Wally Lamb. Note that not one of these critics is Jewish. Each probably appreciated "learning" so much Jewish history from Hoffman. I say go back to Josephus or Yigal Yadin, two of Hoffman's major sources. And if you want an author who can teach through fiction, choose an author who isn't didactic. And one whose literary style has more sophistication than 60s soap operas.Final note:I finished the book, which became a page-turner as the end approached. Would I have been as engrossed if I didn't know how the Masada story ended? I'll never know. Given that I did know the outline, it was satisfying to read the details. However fictitious, those details were convincing. Still, all in all, I think the book lacked editorial rigor. By the end, I recognized that the prevalence of witchcraft in the story may have been warranted. But if it is, that should have been made clear from the outset. Hoffman is eager to show off her learning; why doesn't she teach us from the get-go that witchcraft was commonly practiced (if it was) and that featuring spells and conjurings isn't simply the author's predilection? Long before the final chapters, I'd come to the conclusion that Hoffman's emphasis on mystical beliefs and magical practices was simply an indication of her tastes; that she was catering to a low and unworthy common denominator. I started off giving the book one star. Once I finished, and because she made the conclusion so gripping, I gave it two. But it was still so annoying that I went back to one star. What a pity she squandered such valuable research and missed the opportunity to do justice to the important historical and cultural event: the story of Massada.

  • Mandy R
    2019-04-11 05:27

    The only reason I would give this book 2 Stars is due to the amount of research that Alice Hoffman had obviously put into this novel, which I certainly appreciated. Honestly though, I think that this roughly 500 page book could have been done in about 200 pages.Poetic descriptions saturated this novel, making for an incredibly dull read. When an author spends two pages describing wind I would rather not read it. I get it, it's windy! It has no bearing on the plot, would you please move on with the story already! This is likely the reason it took me over a month to read this.I did enjoy the main characters and their back stories (I actually related to some of them) and I also anticipated where the plot was moving, but I couldn't help but skim through this. Even though the reviews were nothing but praise, I just couldn't wait to read the last page and be done with it.If anyone were to ask me if they should read it I would tell them not to waste their time.

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-04-10 11:34

    What an amazingly powerful novel about the fall of Jerusalem and Masada. This took Hoffman five years to write and it is said to be her masterpiece, which for me it was. Four women of uncommon strength of will, magic , love and their quest for survival. Her writing is flawless, one feels the barrenness and the struggle for life in the dessert, their torment as they watch their family members taken from them, yet find the will to go on. Trying to keep their faith in God intact and find a way to retain something of themselves and a future for their children. Wonderful!

  • ColleenD
    2019-04-18 09:19

    Wow, a lot going on here. A bit repetitive and mighty superstitious, ancient times are presented here in a not-too-graphic presentation. My first Alice Hoffman, but I have some more of hers to read on my list. This book has been on my TBR since 2012, so I am happy to report finishing, and well worth it.Herbane, holy plant.Burned amulets at roots offering to Ashtoresh, goddess watch in time of strife. Recipe book for human heart, all we know and all experienced contained there.

  • Diane Wallace
    2019-04-01 13:28

    Awesome read! could not get enough of the storyline..love the plot twist and characters.. A.Hoffman is a great author..(paperback!)

  • Susan
    2019-04-21 10:05

    I wore garments of green, white, and blue as I traversed the distance from my chamber to the chamber of Lynda, who lives in a county where rivers run not to the great inland sea where I can watch the sun rise every morning, but to the river that once formed the boundary between our land and lands of the Spanish Empire before an audacious Corsican who tried to conquer all of Europe agreed to sell them to the United States under President Thomas Jefferson. Moving toward the setting of the sun, which the Greeks believed rode across the sky every day in a fiery chariot driven by Helios Apollo, I carried with me, in my canvas Land’s End tote bag, cheese made from the cultured milk of the cows we raise here in Wisconsin and crackers woven from wheat that grew on the Great Plains farther to the west. I had heard the decree during our month of Sivan, when the fragrant white lilies blossom, that in the month of Tammuz, when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky and children leave school, our group of women that gathers every month to enjoy each other’s society and discuss literature would read Alice Hoffman’s bestseller, The Dovekeepers. Though I enjoy our monthly gatherings, my heart was filled with sorrow as I approached Lynda’s chamber and contemplated the strife that would ensue when I disclosed my true feelings about the book to Lynda and the others. My grievances were myriad. I am astonished that the writer does not appear to possess the knowledge of how to Show Not Tell. I have long disagreed with writers who believe they can make an unconvincing character more “relatable” if only they narrate their stories in the first person. Even more agonizing is the use of multiple first person narrators who all speak in the same voice, especially when they all affect a pompous, grandiloquent voice as if to remind the reader that the writer has set the story in The Holy Land during Biblical times. People have described Hoffman’s language as “poetic” or “crafted” and remarked at her exhaustive historical research. One might marvel at her ability to sustain such a style for hundreds and hundreds of pages. Yet I wearied of it, and as I was to learn, so did Lynda and the rest of my sister book-lovers. When I read a book, I do not wish to be so distracted by writing that doesn’t advance the story, by forced similes and historical details haphazardly sprinkled into the text, that I lose interest in the characters or what happens to them. Only a lively, fascinating plot about believable, likeable people, or nonfiction accounts of important events, can keep me engaged in spite of a pedantic writing style. A tedious, obviously fantastical story, especially one that speculates about real historical figures or attributes anachronistic values to major players, cannot overcome the weaknesses of a book seemingly written not to edify or entertain but to make the author look clever.

  • Tania
    2019-04-01 13:07

    The desire for Jerusalem was a fire that could not be quenched. There was a spark inside that holiest of holy places that made people want to possess it, and what men yearn for they often destroy.I've realized that when I rate a book on GR, four stars mean that it's a really good book and that I would highly recommend it to most people, but when I rate a book five stars it mostly means that there was a personal connection with the book. This was definitely the case with The Dovekeepers, although it touched me deeply, I can't explain exactly why and I'm not sure who I would recommend it to. There's many reasons why I should not have loved this book as I did. Although the writing is exquisitely beautiful, it is not an easy-read. The story is told using a first-person point of view, so it focuses more on observation than on action. It's more about the character's thoughts than anything else. The characters are complex, and with the exception of Revka, they are not always easy to like. The author mixes religion with sorcery, which is also not everyone's cup of tea. But despite, or maybe because of all of the above reasons I fell in love this book. I am so glad I got to know these four characters and this bit of history. It will stay with me for a long time, and joins my other top reads which includes The Poisonwood Bible and The Sandcastle Girls.The Story: A tale inspired by the tragic first-century massacre of hundreds of Jewish people on the Masada mountain presents the stories of a hated daughter, a baker's wife, a girl disguised as a warrior and a medicine woman who keep doves and secrets while Roman soldiers draw near.

  • Kathleen
    2019-04-22 08:24

    Wow! Fantastic! Excellent! Beautiful but brutal story! I just finished and need to catch my breath! THE DOVEKEEPERS is Alice Hoffman's most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel. This book was over five years on the writing. 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 passions 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 said to be Alice Hoffman's masterpiece.Although this book is historical fiction, I learned so much about this time in history. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this unabridged audio version read by Aya Cash, Tovah Feldshuh, Jessica Hecht, and Heather Lind. Each voice seemed to be a perfect match for the character. Since it is a long book, I appreciated being read to and being able to visualize the surroundings, the setting, the people, their clothing, their work, the interactions, their lives and thoughts. Thanks to Emily, a librarian, for recommending that I listen to this audiobook of THE DOVEKEEPERS. I wholeheartedly second her recommendation. I loved this book and will most likely listen to it again at a later date. 5 stars

  • Ben Kane
    2019-04-17 07:17

    Every December, I trawl through the newspaper articles 'Best Books of the Year', noting down any titles that appeal to me. I'm picky, so it's usually only a few. In December 2011, The Dovekeepers was one of two titles that I wrote down. I'm usually pleased by these choices, recommended by other authors or academics, but rarely am I transported the way that I was upon reading this magical book.Other reviewers have ably described the plotline, so I won't go into it here. Suffice it to say that the novel concerns four women who find themselves in the fortress of Masada after the sack of Jerusalem by the Romans. Through the eyes of these four women, Hoffman weaves an extraordinarily luminous tale, breathing life into ancient Judaea and its people, their customs, religion and habits. We learn much about the Jewish religion, the practices of witchcraft and herblore, the tending of crops and livestock, and the claustrophobia of living in an isolated fortress in the desert.As most of you know, the story of Masada was a tragic one. As such, this book is full of harrowing and haunting images - particularly the final pages, which constantly had me in tears. Yet it is also full of the love that mothers have for their children, lovers have for each other, and of the deep bonds of comradeship that bring men to fight together to the end. I was entranced from the first page by Hoffman's wonderful writing. As the pages flew by, I found myself counting how many I had left until the end - because I desperately did not want to finish it. For me, that is a rare occurrence, and the mark of a great book and a great writer. Bravo, Alice Hoffman!Although this novel was published in 2011, I read it in 2012. It's currently the best book I've read this year. It will be very hard for another to knock it off that position.

  • Gary
    2019-03-22 06:25

    Masada was a historic Jewish fortress that stood on huge rock in Judea (now southern Israel) In 73 CE 960 Jewish patriots killed themselves as Masada rather then surrender to Roman forces. For many Israelis their devotion to liberty is a national symbol called the spirit of Masada. This is a fictional story of four women who may have lived there.I was thoroughly entranced by this tour de force-a definite masterpiece of 21st century literature. This brilliant novel takes us back to Ancient Israel in the first century CE and the lives of four beautiful, sensual, strong and valiant women. Each of whose story interwines with that of the other, and how they came to the fortress of Masada in Israel, commanded by the courageous warrior and remarkable leader of men, Yair Ben Eliezer. I fell in love with all the four women featured in the novel. The strength, courage and wisdom of these women was brilliant and inspirational. A historic novel, a novel of magic, mystery and the spiritual, and sensually written piece of literature about women and exploring the time in history from the viewpoint of women but never a Novel only for women.Yael the daughter of an assassin who'se father treats her with unforgivable cruelty and whose passions and great capacity for love stay with usRevka who survives the horrific rape and murder of her daughter at the hands of Roman soldiers and lives to refind meaning in her lifeAziza the girl warrior, brought up as a son, lithe , athletic and beautiful, her fate is to fall in love with a fellow warriorandShirah, the enchanting , beautiful sorceress, cast out because of bigotry and religious dogma, her fate is to be the great love of the commander of Masada, the great Yair Ben eliezer and who does all she can to save her doomed children.A book of great emotion and haunting as it is exquisitely erotic and evocative of the Land and people of Israel. It teaches something of the time and the place but never lingers on the teaching. Whatever genre you enjoy if good writing and an unforgettable spellbinding narrative is what you are looking for, this book is a must read. I finished it in three days.

  • Tracey
    2019-04-16 13:09

    Omy goodness ! I don't think I've ever read a book with such strong female characters, not just 1 but 4 , all of whom I loved and routed for. Yael a young woman with red hair who is 'touched' by a lion and has an affinity with the doves she comes to take care of. Revka a bakers wife who escapes with her grandchildren after witnessing horrors so terrible that I wondered how she continued.Aziza is a warrior, the first born daughter of a woman who's wise ways and old magic will touch them all.Shirah beautiful, wise, The witch of Moab , she has insight and can summon the rain, the women of Masada come to her for help , be it love potions, births, protection charms. This story of a moment in history is maybe more poignant to me as my parents visited Masada and they told me how spiritual the place was.41/2 wonderful stars from me.

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-28 05:23

    Over two thousand years ago a group of approximately 900 Jewish rebels fled Jerusalem and settled in the ancient fortress called Masada. Set high in the desert mountains, the fortress had been constructed for King Herod and was considered to be impenetrable. In this novel, Alice Hoffman traces the paths of four fictional women whose intertwined lives become apparent when they arrive at Masada seeking refuge. Hoffman weaves a tale of friendship, love, loyalty and sorrow set against the background of Masada. She gives the reader a close up view of daily life, and the hardships the women endured. As the Roman Tenth Legion prepares to attack the fortress, the tension builds. The resulting climax provides the reader with a view of what might actually have taken place at Masada during the siege and its aftermath. Hoffman’s meticulous research sheds light on this period in history.