Friday, December 2, 2011

'The Dovekeepers'

"So these people died with this intention, that they would leave not so much as one soul among them all alive to be subject to the Romans."  

I put off reading 'The Red Tent' , by Anita Diamant, for a long time.  I was either not interested, or I wasn't sure about the author.  But, fortunately, I was wrong on both counts.  'The Rent Tent' is a fantastic story, and, although I live in the 21st century, I could relate to it.  Reading a novel written from a woman's perspective is challenging, yet comforting.  Challenging, because I wonder if I share the same perspective.  Comforting, because that same perspective is one which all women have shared down through the ages.

When Alice Hoffman's new novel, 'The Dovekeepers', landed on my desk, I eagerly read the brief synopsis and knew it was the book for me.  It shares the same historical perspective as 'The Red Tent', although the outcome is more...intense.  Based on the true story of Masada, 900 Jews are holding out against the Romans in the mountain stronghold which was once the refuge of Herod the Great.  It is the story of four women (some of whom survived the mass suicide), and is at once heartbreaking and ironic.  Hoffman's characters lead lives of surprising strength and tender vulnerability.  The author spent five years researching this story, and the result is magnificent.  

Alice Hoffman had enchanted me with her previous novels, but this one was a total surprise.  Her rendition of these women's lives is heartfelt and tragic.  

So, be touched.  You will feel their pain.  And you will appreciate your freedom and life so much more.

'The Dovekeepers' is a magnificent gift for Alice Hoffman fans, and even those who have an interest in Jewish history.  Although I love her previous novels, I consider 'The Dovekeepers' to be her masterpiece.  

I applaud her newest offering, and I'm sure you will, also.

Historical information and a glossary can be found on Hoffman's website:                                          

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