Christie Goldenberg reviews The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
This is my first book by Alice Hoffman but certainly will not be my last. The story chronicles the struggle and the plight of the Jews in 70 CE when their temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and they were forced out of their homes and into the desert.
The Dovekeepers is a rich gorgeous tapestry divinely woven together by four unforgettable heroines.
In the first section of the book we are introduced to Yael, a young woman whose life was over before it had even begun. Considered a murderer by her father because of her mothers death during her birth, Yael and her father come upon a mountain village where she is reunited with her beloved brother. Here they find a group of people who have made it their mission not only to survive but to rebuild their lives. Yael is given a job as a Dovekeeper and it is here that she meets and befriends Revka, Aziza and Shirah. As Yael struggles to make peace with her past she also learns about friendship, love and forgiveness.
Revka, a baker’s wife, is still reeling after witnessing the brutal murder of her daughter years ago. As she struggles to raise her two grandsons on her own, she discovers that secrets and guilt are the true enemies that must be conquered in order to begin to heal herself and those that she loves.
Aziza is a warrior’s daughter whose strife is to figure out her true identity and not who others want or need her to be. On her journey she will realize that the only person she can save ultimately is herself.
Shirah, it is believed, is a witch whose spells and potions can heal the sick or destroy her enemies. But even as a small child she realized that there are forces in this world which no amount of insight or power can change or control.
These four strong independent women have all had very different lives and paths that have led them to Massada. As we learn more about each woman and her past we are left to cherish the belief that even as individuals our lives and fates are all somehow intertwined. At the end of this book I was left feeling deeply gratified but yet a bit melancholy due to the fact that literary gems such as The Dovekeepers are a rare find.