The Dovekeepers- Alice Hoffman

Set against the backdrop of the siege of Masada, The Dovekeepers is a haunting tale of four women who fight to write their own stories in a society which expects that their men should speak for them. Yael, the assassin’s daughter, is a single mother who having committed the ultimate taboo finds solace and belonging with the other dovekeepers. Revka, the baker’s wife, serves justice to the men who stole her grandsons’ voices. Fearless Aziza, the warrior’s beloved, is lost in the girlish role she has been forced into since coming to Masada while her mother Shirah, the witch of Moab, begins to find that even the ancient powers handed down from mother to daughter aren’t enough to protect the ones she loves.

Beautifully researched and immaculately written, this book had me yearning to visit Jerusalem and Masada to visit the site. Seriously, I spent most of my Christmas looking for flights out and transport to the Dead Sea. Each character is beautifully constructed with an authentic voice. The lyrical prose and historic back drop really made me feel like I was listening to the voices of women who lived through the siege.

Numerous Guardian reviewers recommended this as one of their best books of 2011 and I cannot recommend this book highly enough, except to say that as soon as I read it I bought a copy for my sister as a Christmas present and insisted that Jon bought one for his mother as well.

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