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The Dovekeepers

Written by: Alice Hoffman, Heather Lind
Narrated by: Aya Cash, Jessica Hecht, Tovah Feldshuh
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Publisher's Summary

Over five years in the writing, Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing work 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 C.D., 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 comes 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.

©2011 Alice Hoffman (P)2011 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What the critics say

"Beautiful, harrowing, a major contribution to twenty-first century literature." (Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate in Literature)
"I am still reeling from The Dovekeepers - from the history Alice Hoffman illuminates, from the language she uses to bring these women to life. This novel is a testament to the human spirit and to love rising from the ashes of war. But most of all, this novel is one that will never be forgotten by a reader." (Jodi Picoult, author of Sing You Home)
“In her remarkable new novel, Alice Hoffman holds a mirror to our ancient past as she explores the contemporary themes of sexual desire, women's solidarity in the face of strife, and the magic that's quietly present in our day-to-day living. Put The Dovekeepers at the pinnacle of Hoffman's extraordinary body of work. I was blown away.” (Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed)

What listeners say about The Dovekeepers

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Good but triggering

This novel is very good and is especially engaging in regards to ancient Jewish history and religion. My main issue with the book was it's frequent depictions of rape and child abuse, including child rape. I know these things happen, and are depicted as sad, horrible things, but their constant mention was overwhelming. I wouldn't recommend it as it's too triggering, too difficult to be enjoyable.

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Couldn’t finish

A throughly depressing book masterfully written IF that’s what you’re looking for and what you want to invest your time in, but I wasn’t willing to fill my mind and my time with the brutality and suffering that filled each chapter. The book hits home on how these peoples lives were dictated by religion, superstition, magic, indoctrination and male domination.

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Hauntingly beautiful

Couldn’t stop listening to this story.. this is definitely one I will be revisiting and rereading/listening to. Every time the narration changed from character to character I was sad to leave that ‘person’ behind; yet the next character created the same fixated emotions in me. Definitely cried a few times. This is my 3rd book from this author and I will certainly be getting more. I’ve come to learn that Alice Hoffman novels are not for the faint of heart, they are depressing for sure. But to me, they are hauntingly beautiful.

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Best book I’ve read in years

Compelling storytelling. I haven’t read anything like this before and this is by far the best book I’ve read in over 10 years. Highly recommend to everyone.

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  • Bex
  • 2023-02-19

Haunting

This is a haunting story of the strength and power of women who had so little obvious power in their world and time. It is beautifully told with rich images and language.

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