The Dovekeepers: A Novel Hardcover – Oct 4 2011
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"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
"Beautiful, harrowing, a major contribution to twenty-first century literature."—Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate in Literature
“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
About the Author
Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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. 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 solider. 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 Alice Hoffman's masterpiece.
I have read a lot of novels about ancient Jerusalem during this era but I must begin this particular review with one word - WOW!! I was completely entranced with Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers which took place during the Roman siege during the first century abbreviated as C.E. which stands for Common Era.Read more ›
Set on the plains of Masada, four women of varied backgrounds find themselves at a crossroad in history. Two survive, two do not. The two women and five children are the only survivors of the massacre at Masada.
What started out as a personal look at history through the eyes of the women soon became bogged down with too much history. Yes, it was realistic. Yes, I did feel like I was present. But in this case I believe the writer's adage of "Show, Don't Tell" should have been more literally followed. For me there was not enough dialogue to move the story forward at a quicker pace. I felt the story was bogged down with weighty explanations of history. While I am a firm believer that history should be honored, I also believe that sometimes too much history can be a bad thing. After all, this is a work of fiction.
Having said that, I do honor the amount of research and preparation that went into this book. I'm sure the author lived the lives of her characters as she researched them. Well done on that score!
For my tastes, the book was drawn-out and tended to slow down in too many places. I found myself being distracted by outside forces too much. Not the kind of book I couldn't put down.
I look forward, however, to Ms. Hoffman's next offering.
The four women bring the novel even more to life in the individualized life adventures however it is their inner lives, the secrets they keep, their individual passion leanings that drew me in the more. As well I found the correlations of these woman's lives in our modern times is insightful and deepening.
Not looking forward to not being on the journey of life with these women as they have been a delight to get to know.
It is clear in the rhythm of the story that Alice Hoffman has done her homework on this novel and I look forward to reading more from her.
Best novel I have read in my life that educates, inspires, connects and supports the birthing of my faith and those early days of the whys and how.
Most recent customer reviews
I loved the book. Full of history, adventure, mysticism & love. The characters were wonderful & their stories intertwined and kept me wanting to read more. Read morePublished 1 month ago by debbie beaver
Not quite what I expected but what a great novel! I had a difficult time putting it down. It was quite empowering!Published 9 months ago by C. Forcier
While our group found the names of all involved confusing , we (our book club) found the novel complex and compelling.Published 13 months ago by Aileen Dancey
Very interesting story: well written and with fascinating and strong women. Amazing what hardships they had to deal with, without losing their spirit and their resilience. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Juliette D'Costa
Very slow start - I was hoping it would be more historical in nature, but the romantic interactions took over a great deal of the novel. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Deb
Interesting read about Masada and the people who we under siege there. Good character development. Each section almost reads like a short story but each chapter is neatly tied into... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Klyn