Susan's Reviews > The Dovekeepers

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
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's review
Jun 23, 2012

Read from June 16 to 23, 2012

Historical, Biblical fiction. Although the story of Masada is not written in any of the Jewish writing. There was someone named Josephus that wrote it down about a few survivors that survived the mass suicide of Masada. You will have to do your own research. There is info on Wikpedia. But, don't know how reliable it is.

The story opens in 60 BCE. The Romans have taken over the city of Jerusalem. The Jews are tired of being terribly by over taxation and other things. A rebellion ensues, and the Romans defile the second temple. There a revolt has started, killing many Jews. Many Jews were able to flee to other parts of the country. There were other fortresses that Jews were held up. The one that I only knew about was Masada. Many Jews fled Jerusalem and went to Herod's fortress called Masada.

70 BCE, Jerusalem, this is the story of four women during the siege of Jerusalem until the four years later after Rome was able to finally capture the Jews at Masada. There is Ya'el, her mother died giving birth to her. Her father blames her for her death. Then there is Revkah, the wife of a baker,and killed during the siege of Jerusalem. Her daughter is raped, and killed in front of her children. Revkah's grandchildren are left without speech. Then Azizah, is born a girl, but acts like a boy warrior. Then Shirah, is a sorcerer, and learns the magic, and the medicinal treatments to help her. These four women connect with each other because of the doves.

In the last days of Masada, it is the story that Alice Hoffman has been wanted to tell for years. She decided to tell the story of the women's perspective when she learned Josephus wrote that a few women and children did survive.

The book was interesting about the life during ancient Israel. How the Jews were treated by Romans, and then women treated badly by Romans, but also by the Jewish men. Women honor their place in Jewish society. We know what happens to Masada, and the mass suicide. The Jews were not going to be taken, and become slaves, and treated even worse.

The ending was powerful, and hard to stomach at times. The story was about, herbalogy, forgiveness,survival, and redemption. I loved the magic that is typical in Alice Hoffman's novels.

There was a lot of distractions while I was reading Dovekeepers. Our book club is inviting outsiders to our book discussion. We have invited, our friend, and Rabbi Debbie to join and discuss Masada, and the book. There has been some confusion about this event, so I have been a bit nervous how everything will pan out. I have been wanting to make this a yearly event, for book lovers in our Jewish community. But, like something when things are planned not everything goes that way.

The one thing, I will never do again, is speed read. This novel, I read in less than a week. Not a good idea. This novel, is heavy, and should be read, and savored. I am going to slow down. I try to read book club books last minute because I can't remember, or have the emotion I had while reading. But, when reading a book club book last minute, I can't enjoy it. I learned that the last time. For now on, I am going to read slowly. From other readers on goodreads everyone enjoyed it. Don't take my recommendation, since I had distractions.


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06/16/2012 page 20
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