Thursday, December 08, 2011
THE DOVEKEEPERS by Alice Hoffman
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.
THE DOVEKEEPERS follows the lives of several women living in the last Zealot stronghold in the Judean desert in 70 C.E. In the history written by Josephus, two women and five children survived the fall of this stronghold. Hoffman relates her version of why these individuals survived in THE DOVEKEEPERS. The story begins with Yael whose mother died in childbirth and whose father and brother are both assassins for the Zealots. When they must escape into the desert, Yael's life truly begins. When they reach the Zealot desert stronghold, Yael meets a wonderful assortment of women each of whom have a profound story to relate.
I don't want give away too much by revealing each woman's story. I won't even share a little bit because part of the beauty of this book is how each woman's tale unfolds. The characters are so well- drawn and interesting. These women find unique sources of power and ingenuity not only in the midst of a siege but also within a deeply patriarchal society. Their strength and sisterhood are very powerful.
I loved this book. I thought the story was fascinating and imaginative and I love that Hoffman based it on true historical accounts. It is a sad book but an incredibly moving one as well. I think it would make a terrific book club read.
BOTTOM LINE: A wonderful woman-centered historical tale about an historical event that is not often spoken about. One of my favorites this year!