The Dovekeepers Book Summary - The Dovekeepers Book explained in key points

The Dovekeepers summary

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The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman is a historical novel that tells the captivating story of four extraordinary women during the siege of Masada. Their fates become intertwined as they struggle to survive in a world filled with love, loss, and betrayal.

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    The Dovekeepers
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    The Setting and Characters

    In The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, we are transported to the ancient fortress of Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. The story is set in 70 CE, during the Roman siege of the fortress. The novel is narrated by four women, each with a unique perspective and a different story to tell.

    The first narrator is Yael, a young girl who has grown up in the desert with her father, a skilled assassin. Yael's mother died while giving birth to her, and her father has always blamed her for her mother's death. The second narrator is Revka, a baker's wife who has witnessed the brutal murder of her daughter and the disfigurement of her grandsons by Roman soldiers. The third narrator is Aziza, a fierce and independent young woman who disguises herself as a man to fight alongside the Jewish rebels. The final narrator is Shirah, a wise and enigmatic woman who practices ancient magic and medicine.

    The Women of Masada

    As the story unfolds, we learn about the lives of these women and their struggles to survive in the harsh and unforgiving environment of Masada. Yael, Revka, Aziza, and Shirah are all dovekeepers, responsible for caring for the doves that provide food and fertilizer for the community. Despite their different backgrounds and personalities, the women form a strong bond, relying on each other for support and survival.

    Yael, who has always felt unloved and unwanted, finds solace in caring for the doves and forms a deep connection with a mysterious man named Ben Simon. Revka, who has lost almost everything she holds dear, finds comfort in her role as a grandmother and in her friendship with Shirah. Aziza, who has always felt constrained by her gender, revels in the freedom and power she experiences while disguised as a man. Shirah, the most enigmatic of the women, is a source of wisdom and guidance for the others.

    The Siege of Masada

    As the Roman siege intensifies, the women's lives become increasingly precarious. Food and water supplies dwindle, and the community is torn apart by fear and desperation. Despite the overwhelming odds, the women show remarkable resilience and courage. Yael, in particular, takes on a daring mission to save her people, while Aziza fights fiercely alongside the men.

    Revka, who has lost so much, finds a new purpose in caring for the children of the fortress, while Shirah continues to provide guidance and support to the others. As the situation becomes increasingly dire, the women must draw on all their strength and resourcefulness to survive.

    The Tragic End

    Ultimately, the story of Masada ends in tragedy. Faced with certain defeat and capture by the Romans, the Jewish rebels make a devastating decision. Rather than surrender, they choose mass suicide, with the men killing their families before turning on each other. In the aftermath, only a few women and children survive, including the four narrators.

    Despite the overwhelming grief and loss, the women of Masada continue to show remarkable resilience. They choose to live, to carry on the memory of their loved ones, and to tell their stories. In the end, The Dovekeepers is a haunting and powerful testament to the strength and endurance of women in the face of unimaginable hardship.

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    What is The Dovekeepers about?

    The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman is a historical novel set in ancient Israel. It tells the story of four extraordinary women who come together at the fortress of Masada, where they become dovekeepers. As they struggle to survive during a time of war and religious persecution, they form a bond that will change their lives forever. This beautifully written book explores themes of love, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit.

    The Dovekeepers Review

    The Dovekeepers (2011) by Alice Hoffman is a captivating historical novel set in ancient Israel. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • The book is a powerful portrayal of four extraordinary women, their resilience, and their connection to each other amidst the siege of Masada.
    • Rich in historical detail, it transports readers to a bygone era and offers a unique perspective on the lives of women during that time.
    • Through its riveting storytelling and vivid descriptions, the book brings to life the struggles, sacrifices, and courage of the characters, keeping readers engaged till the very end.

    Who should read The Dovekeepers?

    • Readers who enjoy historical fiction and stories set in ancient times
    • Those interested in exploring the lives and experiences of women in a male-dominated society
    • Individuals who appreciate beautifully written and emotionally impactful narratives

    About the Author

    Alice Hoffman is a renowned American author known for her captivating storytelling and magical realism. With a career spanning over four decades, Hoffman has written numerous bestsellers, including Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic. Her works often explore themes of love, loss, and the supernatural, and she has a unique ability to transport readers to enchanting worlds. Hoffman's writing has garnered critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base, solidifying her place as a masterful storyteller.

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    The Dovekeepers FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Dovekeepers?

    The main message of The Dovekeepers is about resilience and hope in the face of adversity.

    How long does it take to read The Dovekeepers?

    The reading time for The Dovekeepers varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Dovekeepers a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Dovekeepers is worth reading for its powerful storytelling and emotional depth.

    Who is the author of The Dovekeepers?

    The author of The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman.

    What to read after The Dovekeepers?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Dovekeepers, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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