Maggie and Steph are up next in the book club-hosting order and they’ve chosen Alice Hoffman’s The Dovekeepers as our selection. As I am about to start Dark at the Roots, The Dovekeepers has moved to the on-deck position. (Though, the on-deck circle is a bit crowded at the moment… and always).
While I’ve seen mention of The Dovekeepers on blogs and around town lately, I don’t actually know much about it. Thankfully there are publisher descriptions:
In 70 C.E., 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 horrifically brutal 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 an 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. The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.
It sounds a little dense, but those types of books are often the best choices for reading groups. If nothing else, there will probably be plenty to discuss.