with a little magic sprinkled within for good measure. THE DOVEKEEPERS by Alice Hoffman is a novel steeped in the history of the Jews during time when they were cast out of Jerusalem and had nowhere to go. Four women find themselves at Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert, and Hoffman uses them to tell her story. I had the pleasure of listening to this book in audio form thanks to Simon Audio.
The four woman who narrate this story have varied paths and none of their lives before Masada are easy nor after they arrive. And Simon Audio brilliantly chose to give each of the four characters a different narrator: Yael (narrated by: Aya Cash), Revka (narrated by: Tovah Feldshuh), Aziza (narrated by: Jessica Hecht) and Shirah (narrated by: Heather Lind). This I really liked and thought worked well here.
Yael’s grows up without her mother who died in childbirth. Her father an assassin never forgives her for this. She has a brother that she is close to that follows into his father’s footsteps. When they are forced to flee from their home they settle in the desert where many things occur to shape the woman who Yael becomes. Eventually Yael and her father arrive in Masada and she works in the dove cove where she meets the other woman leads in this book. Yael has special abilities regarding animals and the doves are no exception.
Revka is a woman who was forced to flee her home with her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren following the death of her husband the baker. While traveling in the desert the daughter looses her life in a manner that causes her two boys to stop speaking. This broken family travels to Masada where Revka works in the dove cove. Revka and Yael form a special bond when Yael has no where else to turn. Revka has special abilities regarding shadows.
Aziza is the daughter of Shirah, she was born a girl but assumed the role of a boy to protect herself and that side of her it turns out is her gift. She has a step sister and a step brother and grew up raised by their father a Moab warrior. Aziza resumes being a girl when they live in Masada but is always frustrated. After her brother is hurt physcially and mentally after taking up the sword she again disguises herself and takes his place among the warriors.
The last story is Shirah’s and this was my least favorite but to be fair it was the toughest story of the four coupled with that fact I did not care for Heather Lind’s voice in this role. Although, I do love Lind in BOARDWALK EMPIRE. Shirah posseses ancient magic and medicinal knowledge and for that she was always treated differently. She was striking and followed the path that was foreseen for her that would in the end lead to her demise. So as much as she wanted alternate paths for her children she could not stop or alter these nor her own. Shirah was attracted to a man that was already someone else’s and that she was related to. He was Aziza’s father and when this became known they were cast off. Shirah met another man, a Moab warrior, that she married and had two more children with. She and the children arrived at Masada and like other Jews made it their home. She brought the doves to Masada. Shirah’s gift is her magical and medicinal powers, she is known at the Witch of Moab.
These women are strong, defiant, brave, spiritual. lean to feminism and love their own with a fierce determination that is challenged again and again. In every story the women are called on to do things they could never have imagined. In some cases their forbidden passions brought them children and danger that they were powerless to avoid. These women found a way to survive in the unrelenting chapters of their lives to join together in the dove cove to find true friendships that were stronger than anything the Romans had in store for them.
I am forever an admirer of Alice Hoffman and her smart writing but not always a fan of her books. Her works never fail to touch me in some well and the writing is intricate I never want to miss one. THE DOVEKEEPERS falls into the I am not a fan of pile, yet I was eager to listen to the discs or find excuses to be in the car to continue with the story. It felt like the 16 discs just flew by.
My favorite Alice Hoffman novel of recent years was THE THIRD ANGEL, the way the stories from different times were intertwined was simply brilliant. Hoffman has authored many books that dabble in many subjects it feels like there is one or two out there for every reader, do visit her site: Alice Hoffman.