Book Review: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Dovekeepers
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: October 4th, 2011
Page count: 504 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Summary:
Blends mythology, magic, archaeology and women. Traces four women, their path to the Masada massacre. In 70 CE, 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. 

Four bold, resourceful, and sensuous women come 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 four lives 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.

 *The Chef's Review*
     My rating: 4/5 stars

I first found out about this book in a library displayed as "librarians top choices". It caught my eye and I was looking for something new to read so I purchased it and decided to give it a try. It started slow at first, but it quickly raised interest. 

I found it amazing that this story is based in real background history. It just gives me goosebumps that it might have happened even if it's not entirely true. This book is so full of details that I actually felt the despair, the moods and the weathers that the author describes.
The main characters are intense. Everything that each of them had to go through is just unspeakable. You find yourself thinking that their choices are preposterous, but then in those times there weren't many choices, especially for women.

What drew most of my attention was the every day life back in those days. Of course you know that they didn't have a lot of comodities, but it's interesting to read how they got by. Everyone had to get a job, do chores, the clothing, the preparation of food, hygiene, etc. and there was even time for gossip although the main characters weren't too much up for it.

I really liked the story. It was amazing how the story developed giving you little by little as to why and how things happen. I was nearing to the end and I had no idea as to how the story could end for it to not leave me in a mess of emotions. I cannot talk about the ending except that it was bittersweet and harsh.

There were some very few aspects that existed that prevented me from giving it five stars, but all in all the story was very good. In fact, it did inspire me a little and I did some digging around as to how to do Jerusalem sesame bread or bagels (Ka3ek bel semsem) since they mentioned it a lot. I did my own version with the ingredients I had at hand. 

They came out pretty good! And paired off with strawberry jam = perfection!
What do you guys think? 


  1. I've never heard about this book before. It sounds really interesting and different from what I read.
    So glad you enjoy it!

  2. This does have an intriguing concept but it's not something that I'd pick up. Glad you enjoyed it and pass on the eats! :)