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The Dovekeepers: A Novel Paperback – April 3, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781451617481
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451617481
  • ASIN: 1451617488
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2011: Yael was born of a dead mother and father who knows how to become invisible. Revka learned silence when her grandsons lost their voices after witnessing their mother’s brutal murder. Aziza became a boy to protect herself, and hates being forced to turn back into a woman. And Shirah will do anything to protect those she loves from the horrors of the world. The power and violence of these women is evident in every word of The Dovekeepers. Hoffman’s prose is vivid and unforgettable, scorching like the desert heat, and will stay with you long after you finish the last page. A story of sacrifice, endurance, and above all, survival, The Dovekeepers is homage to anyone who’s ever held fast to their beliefs in the face of nearly insurmountable adversity. --Malissa Kent --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


USA Today
Alice Hoffman weaves fiction and fact in The Dovekeepers, a thrilling, passionate saga of four women who come together to tend the doves in Masada. 
Hoffman's fiction is always compelling, but the history within The Dovekeepers
 makes this novel haunting.

The Boston Globe

Alice Hoffman's "The Dovekeepers'' is a splendid entertainment, a harrowing, thrilling, feminist historical novel fueled to fever pitch by a rich imagination... a combination of good writing, affecting themes, and dramatic storytelling. It's an enthralling tale that lingers in the mind.

St. Louis Dispatch
If a world of strong women and their complex relationships with one another doesn't draw you into Alice Hoffman's brilliant new novel, "The Dovekeepers," read it for Hoffman's fine sense of narrative, history and detail as she shares the story of four women who come by various paths to Masada.

Entertainment Weekly

The women in The Dovekeepers are physically and spiritually strong, they have elemental female desires when it comes to love, sex, and children...the author grounds her expansive, intricately woven and deepest new novel in biblical history, with a devotion and seriousness of purpose that may surprise even her most constant fans.

"I am still reeling from The Dovekeepers--from the history Alice Hoffman illuminates, from the language she uses to bring these women to life. This novel is a testament to the human spirit and to love rising from the ashes of war. But most of all, this novel is one that will never be forgotten by a reader." --Jodi Picoult, author of Sing You Home

"Beautiful, harrowing, a major contribution to twenty-first century literature."—Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate in Literature

“In her remarkable new novel, Alice Hoffman holds a mirror to our ancient past as she explores the contemporary themes of sexual desire, women's solidarity in the face of strife, and the magic that's quietly present in our day-to-day living. Put The Dovekeepers at the pinnacle of Hoffman's extraordinary body of work. I was blown away.” —Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Well written, the characters are interesting.
D Shmukler
This book, which was based on real events, was beautifully written - like all of Alice Hoffman's works - and the characters were fascinating.
Every page of this book was enjoyable to read and the story was one I thought about long after I finished it.
J. B. Perkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

618 of 634 people found the following review helpful By Jason Golomb VINE VOICE on September 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Dovekeepers" is the first book I've read of Alice Hoffmans'. In fact, one evening my wife looked at the book while I was reading in bed and said: "You're reading Alice Hoffman? I've read Alice Hoffman. But you don't read Alice Hoffman!"

And so I DID read Alice Hoffman and I liked Alice Hoffman. This is a very good book. It's real deep and very weighty.

"Dovekeepers" orbits around the real life events of the early 70s A.D. in ancient Judea. Rome was large and in charge and in the midst of shattering a Judean rebellion (seen commemorated in the famous Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum only a few hundred yards from the Colosseum in Italy). Several hundred Jews fled Jerusalem to the desert near the Dead Sea and moved into the former mountain fortress of King Herod at Masada. While the proud Jewish rebels held off a Roman legion for several years, Rome ultimately prevailed and all but two women and five children killed themselves rather than allow themselves to be overrun.

Hoffman's novel follows the lives of four women who all find themselves on Masada. Each woman has a dedicated 100-150 pages that weave in and out of each other's stories with the collective whole building a comprehensive picture of their mutual plight. The stories connect the women together in ways that are obvious and follow the primary arc of the novel, but also in ways that are surprising and poignantly fulfilling. The connections build and develop on many levels: physically, emotionally, and symbolically.

The book is full of characters who are broken and hurt; affected by some deep trauma catalyzed by the Roman attacks on Jerusalem; driving each, by their own will or otherwise, to the fortress in the desert.
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178 of 192 people found the following review helpful By Annie B VINE VOICE on September 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First I admit to being a huge Alice Hoffman fan. This book, however, is not Hoffman's typical book. It is as the book description says very ambitious. For me, Hoffman's ambitions succeeded beyond my imagination. I loved this book, the characters, the setting, the debates it caused in my own mind over faith and religion.

Still, I think this book requires a lot of patience to read. It isn't a genre fiction novel and is long because it was designed to be that way in order to give the characters and the history involved as much space as possible. This is not a book to sit down with and try to read during commercials while watching television. It's a book that requires time and effort--but that time and effor will be well worth it! Just don't expect an average Alice Hoffman book and read it for what it is--a great literary fiction novel. Few writers could bring off this book at all and certainly not with Hoffman's writing expertise. Parts of the book are just brilliantly written and worth reading just for that beauty alone.

Overall, fantastic read. Already wishing there was a new Alice Hoffman book on the horizon!
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72 of 77 people found the following review helpful By JoanOH VINE VOICE on September 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am actually quite humbled to offer up a review on Alice Hoffman's THE DOVEKEEPERS because I am not so sure any words I use to review it will do it justice. This book is not to be missed. The story is based on history brought to life through the amazing writing talents of the author. I don't believe I've read a work of fiction that so seamlessly brings together the very essence of a period in history by integrating characters, environment, historical setting and emotions in such a way that the reader can feel, smell, hear and breathe in the same environment in which the characters live. The level of detail is extraordinary, and blended so well with the daily lives of the main characters that the reader is just swept away and creates a world as real as the one in which the reader sits while reading. I enjoyed the way Hoffman brought her female characters to life one by one, then threaded their stories together to reveal little nuances about each one.

Prior to reading THE DOVEKEEPERS, I knew nothing about the story of Jews who held out against the Roman army at Masada in 70 C.E., but this story made it easy to become immersed in that period of history, as well as in the lives of the four female main characters. Hoffman's research in this period in history is evident in almost every sentence, yet she presents it in such a beautifully blended manner that the reader does not feel as if they are being beaten up with historical facts. It is a story of treachery, cruelty, dysfunctional families, sex, love, debauchery, friendship, loyalty, and above all else, strong women enduring a traumatic and difficult period in history. But it is written with such superb, lyrical prose that the reader can't help but be drawn in and live front and center with each main character.

THE DOVEKEEPERS makes me want to take back every 5 star review of a book I've given on Amazon because this is truly the title that deserves it the most. Don't hesitate to buy this one!
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78 of 86 people found the following review helpful By JJ VINE VOICE on September 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I first read the synopsis of this book, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it. The subject matter pertained to a time in history that I know very little about. The book just didn't seem like the Alice Hoffman books that I have read and loved. However, I was hooked from the very first page; The Dovekeepers is a combination of history and fiction beautifully written. I should never have doubted Alice Hoffman's ability to take any subject matter and create a spellbinding book! She tells her story through the voices of four different women. The change between the women's stories flowed effortlessly. I was quickly caught up in the lives of each individual woman. Alice Hoffman manages to convey human anger, joy, sorrow and love with eloquent and memorable metaphorical phrasing. I even found myself rereading paragraphs over again; I didn't want it to end. It would be wonderful if Alice Hoffman could continue this story, even if purely fictional, with the characters who managed to survive the seige of Masada. This is simply a must read & deserves 5 stars!
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More About the Author

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York.

Hoffman's first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become Property Of, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff's magazine, American Review.

Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published a total of eighteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte's masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her novel, At Risk, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools. Her advance from Local Girls, a collection of inter-related fictions about love and loss on Long Island, was donated to help create the Hoffman (Women's Cancer) Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. Blackbird House is a book of stories centering around an old farm on Cape Cod. Hoffman's recent books include Aquamarine and Indigo, novels for pre-teens, and The New York Times bestsellers The River King, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, and The Ice Queen. Green Angel, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale about loss and love, was published by Scholastic and The Foretelling, a book about an Amazon girl in the Bronze Age, was published by Little Brown. In 2007 Little Brown published the teen novel Incantation, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which Publishers Weekly has chosen as one of the best books of the year. In January 2007, Skylight Confessions, a novel about one family's secret history, was released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of Her first novel. Her most recent novel is The Story Sisters (2009), published by Shaye Areheart Books.

Hoffman's work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay "Independence Day" a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Wiest. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel Aquamarine was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.

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The Dovekeepers: A Novel
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