The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Published 2011 by Simon & Schuster, 504 pages

Found on the Adult Fiction shelves under HOFFMAN

Plot Summary from Fantastic Fiction : The lives of four sensuous, bold and remarkable women intersect in the year 70AD, in the desperate days of the siege of Masada, when supplies are dwindling and the Romans are drawing near. All are dovekeepers, and all are keepers of secrets – about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. There is Yael, the assassin’s daughter whose heartbreak leads to her true path in the ruins of the desert; Revka, the baker’s wife who loses her dearest treasure on earth and yet finds the strength to protect her family; Aziza, the warrior’s beloved who leads a secret life not even those closest to her could imagine; and Marit, beautiful witch of Moab, a woman as loyal as she is dangerous. 

Only two women and five children of more than 900 people survived the Roman siege of Masada in the year 73 C.E. after the suicide pact of the Jewish rebels there, according to the historian Josephus. In this well-researched novel, Hoffman (The Red Garden) vividly brings this tragedy to life, as four women who take care of the dovecote at the fortress tell their stories.

Review : This is a powerful and gripping novel about survival and endurance and I enjoyed it as it was so different from what I usually read. It is told in four parts and  is a feminist tale, a story of strong and intelligent women wedded to destiny by love and sacrifice. 

Reviewed by : Carolyn

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