Carole's Reviews > The Dovekeepers

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
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Jul 18, 2012

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bookshelves: books-read-in-2012
Read in July, 2012

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.
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02/06/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Dav'ne  Stahley I agree wholeheartedly

Carm couldn't agree more!!

Dorie this is exactly how I'm feeling now! Enough of the religious rituals already, let the romans come!

Janis Harrington I agree. I did not care for her style of telling the story. However, maybe she wanted her readers to feel the same frustration as her characters. I felt under siege because I had to read it for a book club.

Liat I completely agree- but who was the narrator who was ready dead? In the last part I believe the narrator was Yael, who close the circle so to speak..

message 6: by Janis (last edited Mar 18, 2013 01:47PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Janis Harrington It was Yael. She told the leader of the Romans that she was the Witch of Moab and "that saved her." The ending was weak. If the Jewish feared that the men would become slaves and the women prostitutes, then why would he have let them leave and settle in Alexandria? Her dialogue didn't sound like the Yael in the rest of the book, but I am pretty sure that she assumed the Witch of Moab's identity.

Carole Okay, maybe it was Yael speaking at the end of the book but I was, by that point., semi-comatose!

Kristin Should have eliminated every third sentence.

Janis Harrington Kristin,
I agree.

Betty Ann I found it to be a difficult book which I think was Hoffman's intent. If you read for pure entertainment, skip this one.

Carole I do not read for pure entertainment. I like to learn when I read. But this book was not well written so it was difficult to either learn or be entertained.

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