By Alice Hoffman
Scribner, 2011. 504 pgs. Historical Fiction
Two thousand years ago, in the mountain fortress of Masada, 900 Jews tried to escape the Roman armies that eventually besieged them. The historian Josephus recorded that only two women and five children survived a mass suicide that appeared to be the group’s only avenue to avoiding slavery or worse at the hands of the Romans. This tragic story is the basis of Alice Hoffman’s beautifully crafted novel, “The Dovekeepers.” Four women tell their stories and those of their people. The stories these women share are filled with love, loss, and hope. Their fates are intricately connected to each other and their people.
“The Dovekeepers” is perfect for readers who enjoyed Anita Diamant’s “The RedTent.” Both the country and peoples of ancient Israel are described in amazing detail. And while this book does deviate form Hoffman’s usual magical reality, fans will still enjoy her strong female characters and dramatic storytelling.