An extraordinary story.
And the foundation upon which Alice Hoffman has built an epic novel. An extraordinary novel.
She tells the stories of four women. Four very different women, who had very different lives, who came to Masada by very different paths.
Yael, Revka, Aziza and Shira.
They say so much about the relationships women have, the roles they play, what they give to the world …
Mothers. Daughters. Grandmothers. Wives. Lovers ….
Nurturers. Protectors. Negotiators. Healers. Warriors ….
Their stories set out their histories, their journeys, and their lives as they become dovekeepers at Masada. I was reluctant to let go when one story ended, but each time I found a new story that absorbed me, and then I found the women I had met before, living and working alongside the woman I had just met. Everything came together beautifully.
Because everything is right.
The prose is both beautiful and readable. And, more than that, I could hear each woman’s voice, and I came to know them, to understand them.
Four women. Complex, and utterly real.
And I came to know their world, seeing so many details richly painted. It was easy to turn the pages quickly but I knew that I needed to linger, to make sure that I took everything in. I was transported.
Years may pass, the world may change, but in essence the hopes, the fears, the dreams of women never change.
As the end approach the story could have lost its grip. I knew the history, I knew how it must play out. But I was involved, and I lived every moment.
Alice Hoffman has brought old, old history to life, and she has made it sing.
The dust jacket suggests that this is her masterpiece and I have to say, yes, it is.