I guess I will try to stay caught up from here forward, because I finished a FABULOUS book today. I can't really explain the emotions that this book made well up inside of me. It was just so beautiful.
The book is The Dovekeepers. I borrowed it from a friend in book club and have been staring at it in my pile for a few months. I finally decided to read it and am so glad that I did. The story is set 70 years after the fall of Jerusalem. The narration is from the vantage point of four women and how their lives are now intertwined as they live in a zealot encampment of about 900 "refugees" from Jerusalem and attempt to survive the harshness of the desert and the encroaching Romans.
This story is amazing and beautiful and so poignant. I was about 100 pages from finishing when I was checking to see what the last page number was. I got drawn in by the first paragraph of the acknowledgements and found out that there is truth to the story of Masada and the survivors of this event. While the characters are fictitious, the actual event happened. It made reading the last 100 pages even that much more moving.
If you like historical fiction, you have got to read this book. It is so worth it and will be a story that stays with me forever. I may have to go buy my own copy just to have it.
The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of research and imagination. Nearly two thousand years ago, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily 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, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, 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. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love.