Book Review: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

The Dovekeepers
Author: Alice Hoffman
Pages: 504 Hardcover
Reading Level: Adult
Published: October 4th 2011
Review Source: Simon & Schuster
Available: Amazon

Summary: (from goodreads) Over five years in the writing, Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel ever, a triumph of imagination and research set in ancient Israel.

The author of such iconic bestsellers as Illumination Night, Practical Magic, Fortune’s Daughter, and Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman is one of the most popular and memorable writers of her generation. Now, in The Dovekeepers, Hoffman delivers her most masterful work yet—one that draws on her passion for mythology, magic, and archaeology and her inimitable understanding of women.

In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic historical event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary, 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 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 twin grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman, who finds passion with another soldier. Shirah 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, as the Romans draw near. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love.

This novel is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.

To say that this story was great is an understatement. “The Dovekeepers” is a captivating and utterly mesmerizing story that keeps you hooked from the very first page. it acquired sometime to get my review going on this story because i am at a lost of words on how to describe this masterpiece. i must say that when i first received this book i was apprehensive on how much i would like this story, especially since i am not familiar with this time in history. However, after the first page i was hooked and could not put the book down. The story is a mix beautifully written history and fiction that paints vivid and unforgettable story you will remember forever.

“The Dovekeepers” is about 4 women that survived the horrific event of 900 Jews who killed themselves rather than be overturned by the Romans in 71CE. it follows these 4 woman throughout the story and describes the sacrifice, endurance and survival tactics these women faced daily in order to survive and protect their children. The is nicely divided between all four women to describe each character’s past, but at the same time each story is overlapped to build a comprehension of the entire plot as one. This book does require time and effort to read and can not be read in between other things. You need to focus solely on this book in order to understand and appreciate it’s full potential. it is worth it. I highly recommend this book.


  1. I know two other women who did this book and raved about it as well. Saving this one for a time when I need a "really good book"!

  2. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one! I have a copy of this that I got a while ago, and I've been waiting for the mood to strike before starting it.

    I'm not very familiar with the istory of it either, but I love the idea behind it because it isn't a region or time period that's covered very often.

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

  3. I read and reviewed this myself recently and totally agree. It was amazing so much so that no words no review could do it justice.

  4. Oh this sounds just amazing. I'm adding this to my list for sure.

  5. Thanks for sharing your lovely review. This book has been on my radar for a while and I am wanting more and more to read it :)

  6. Wow, she seems like such an amazing person! I can't wait to get my hands on this book. I recently listened to an interview with her on The Book Report about this book and it has really made me want to read it even more.
    Check out in the archives section for the interview.


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