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IMAGE Enjoy a Relaxing August in Monmouth County
Saturday, 19 July 2014
PHOTO: Keyport Spanish American Festival is August 9 at Beach Park. (facebook image) The best of summer is on its way FREEHOLD, NJ – Warm... Read More...
Help Your Community Exercise Their Right to Vote
Saturday, 19 July 2014
Become a Monmouth County election poll worker FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Elections is seeking poll workers for upcoming elections.... Read More...
National Park Tourism in New Jersey Creates $159.5 Million in Economic Benefit
Saturday, 19 July 2014
New report shows visitor spending supports 2,328 jobs in New Jersey PHILADELPHIA, PA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that... Read More...
IMAGE COA: Obama Administration’s Final Decision Declares Open Season on the Atlantic by Big Oil
Saturday, 19 July 2014
Coalition Responds to Administration’s Hypocritical Ocean Policy--- Adds Insult to Injury off Jersey Shore SANDY HOOK, NJ - Today, the Bureau of... Read More...
AAA Mid-Atlantic: Pump Prices in a Mid-Summer Slide
Saturday, 19 July 2014
The Week As predicted by AAA, the retail price at the pump continued to tick lower following the Independence Day holiday due primarily to lower... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Review - Tammy
by David Prown
Sunday, 20 July 2014
It's amazing to me how lame the movie selection was this week. I'm not even sure if there was anything new out...amazing. Have you noticed how I'm... Read More...
IMAGE The Importance of the Small Things, such as Commas
by George Hancock-Stefan
Sunday, 20 July 2014
I came back from a two week trip through Romania and Turkey.  It was a great trip visiting old and new churches and monasteries, and meeting in... Read More...
IMAGE Traumatic Brain Injury Was Devastating
by Daniel J. Vance
Saturday, 19 July 2014
Four days after getting his driver's license at age 16 in 1975, Todd Bode was coaxed into joining his big brother on a road trip. The hook was that... Read More...
IMAGE Skewed View - July 18, 2014
by Tom Brennan
Friday, 18 July 2014
Edward Snowden says Dropbox is "hostile to privacy". That and Condoleezza Rice has been on their board since April: http://bit.ly/1rmen1c Why... Read More...
IMAGE How Many Divisions does the Court Have?
by Woody Zimmerman
Friday, 18 July 2014
“How many divisions does the Pope have?” This was Josef Stalin’s famous rhetorical question to an advisor concerned about the Pope’s... Read More...

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lindsey_stefanThe Dovekeepers tells the story of four women whose lives intersect when they tend to the doves at the desert fortress of Masada. In 70 CE, Jerusalem has fallen to the Romans and the Jews have fled, searching for refuge. Yael comes with her father, a famed assassin, to reunite with her brother. Revka arrives with her young grandsons, who have not spoken since witnessing the brutal murder of their mother. Shirah comes to meet a man with whom she has a long and complicated past. She brings with her the knowledge of ancient magic and her children. Her oldest daughter, Aziza was raised as a boy and may find use for her knowledge of horsemanship and archery as the Romans approach the fortress – the final stronghold of the Jewish people.

This book is a beautifully written, masterfully presented story. The strength of the story and the poetry of the writing combine seamlessly to bring the reader the horrors and triumphs of the lives of the women. “Everything I might have been had disappeared. The girl who walked to the oasis on the night the Temple burned no longer left footprints. She, who had ashes in her long, red hair and wept for the loss of her city and her home, had been left behind where the citron tree had grown.”

Parts of this novel reflect the extensive research Ms. Hoffman conducted about the fortress, the Jewish exiles and the Roman brutality. The rest is speculation since, as Hoffman notes, we don’t have an abundance of women’s accounts from this time period. While we get the story of each woman from her own words, the point of view does not rapidly switch. Instead, the reader has a hundred pages or so to immerse themselves in each character.

Each of the four women is intricately created and it’s impossible to choose a favorite because each one is fascinating. The author does an excellent job of balancing the women. Yael and Aziza are young women, while Shirah and Revka are of the generation before them. The difference in age does not prevent them from facing the same issues – the desertion of family, questions of faith, the responsibility of motherhood, and the joy and pain of love. This novel gives us insight into how women relate to men and to each other. It reminds us that in the midst of unimaginable crisis, everyday life continues and that joy, hope, and magic prevail in the most unlikely of places. There is so much going on within the fortress itself that it is easy to forget that the Romans are determined to conquer Masada  and leave no survivors within it. These women and their incredible stories will not soon be forgotten. 

The Dovekeepers
By Alice Hoffman
Scribner October 2011
ISBN 145161747X