Sunday, December 02, 2012

Capsule Review: The Dovekeepers

Written by Alice Hoffman
Simon & Schuster, 2011; 500 pages

Publisher's Description:
 Nearly two thousand years ago, 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 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 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.
I enjoyed The Dovekeepers much more than I expected I would. Before this, I'd only read one other book by Alice Hoffman -- Practical Magic.  I liked that one a lot, too, but it was a very different sort of work. I'm not usually attracted to historical fiction dealing with this period or subject matter, so I was surprised at how addictive this was. And even though it's something of a chunkster, I finished it in just a few days -- also unusual for me.  This is one I'd definitely recommend.


  1. I wasn't crazy about this book. The characters all felt the same to me and the pace of the book was way too slow.

  2. Yes, even though I thought the book was a good read, I do sort of agree about the characters. In fact, I have to admit I kept getting all those women mixed up and had to back-track more than a few times!


Welcome and thanks for leaving me a comment. I love to hear from visitors.

Also, please note that while I appreciate the thought, I don't play the blog awards game. I think you all deserve awards! But you might think about becoming a follower of my blog -- that would really be the best award.