Over five years in the writing, Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing work ever, a triumph of imagination and research set in ancient Israel.
The author of such iconic bestsellers as Illumination Night, Practical Magic, Fortune’s Daughter, and Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman is one of the most popular and memorable writers of her generation. Now, in The Dovekeepers, Hoffman delivers her most masterful work yet - one that draws on her passion for mythology, magic, and archaeology and her inimitable understanding of women.
In 70 C.D., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic historical event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary, bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom comes to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father 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 twin grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman, who finds passion with another soldier. Shirah 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, as the Romans draw near. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets - about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love.
This novel is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.
©2011 Alice Hoffman (P)2011 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
"Beautiful, harrowing, a major contribution to twenty-first century literature." (Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate in Literature)
"I am still reeling from The Dovekeepers - from the history Alice Hoffman illuminates, from the language she uses to bring these women to life. This novel is a testament to the human spirit and to love rising from the ashes of war. But most of all, this novel is one that will never be forgotten by a reader." (Jodi Picoult, author of Sing You Home)
“In her remarkable new novel, Alice Hoffman holds a mirror to our ancient past as she explores the contemporary themes of sexual desire, women's solidarity in the face of strife, and the magic that's quietly present in our day-to-day living. Put The Dovekeepers at the pinnacle of Hoffman's extraordinary body of work. I was blown away.” (Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed)
The setting of the story gives a rare and intriguing glimpse of history from a women's point of view true to Alice Hoffman's style. The characters are richly developed and you can't help but fall in love with them.
Alice Hoffman has not just written an amazing story but her words bring you straight to the heart of Masada. Four very different yet bonded women give tell of their journey, creating this life for readers, placing their heart and souls in our hands. There are few books that I read over and over....this will be one of them.
Yes - don't ever miss out one of Alice Hoffmans books. It's even better as audiobook!!
Yes, yes, yes. I love books about Jewish history and the story of these 4 women is compelling. It helps you remember that these are not necessarily the worst of times and that the worst of times seems current to all generations.
Loved them all.
It's a long book and was totally worth the time. I may listen to it again.
A smidge confusing until you figure out what time period they are talking about. Again, for historical fiction lovers it's a must read!
The narrators were fine, but the writing was long, tedious and sophomoric. I usually love historic novels because I find myself effortlessly learning so much about the time and place. Not with this book. I learned more about this time in history by spending a half hour on Google rather than endless hours listening to this audiobook. I would recommend that anyone considering this book to read the NY Times book review of it.
The performances were fine.
That it was a waste of my time.
I've learned from historical literature that, once they've established themselves as a monotheistic nation, it took the average people of Israel ages to drop all of their pagan habits and worship. But in this book we're talking about the year 70, that's centuries past their existence as non-idol worshipers. To base an entire historical book on magic seeking Israelis is a bit odd. Those people did not go to Massada because they've put their trust in God. They went there because it was a fortress, which they thought was impenetrable.
I was also disappointed that the writers failed to find narrators who could pronounce the natives' words correctly. Their narrotors hesitation, when time came to pronounce any of these words, is terribly detectable.
The back stories of all the women.
The heart-wrenching emotion and the climax.
All the women were strong. No favorites.
I cried more often than I might have liked since I was painting the spare room! ;-)
A beautiful book. Well worth the time and the slow start. One of my all-time favorites.
Whiny, depressing, every sentence full of negative words. I very rarely drop a book midway through, but I've had enough!
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