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IMAGE Avon Man Facing Charges for Heroin Overdose of Rumson Resident
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Strict Liability Case Places Blame on Drug Dealer for Heroin Overdose Death FREEHOLD, NJ - An Avon-by-the-Sea man will be prosecuted under the... Read More...
Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce Announces its Name Change
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
MIDDLETOWN, NJ - The Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the changing of their name to the Monmouth County Chamber of... Read More...
IMAGE RBR Senior Spends Her Summer Vacation in the Service of Red Bank’s Oral History Project
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
PHOTO: RBR Senior and Red Bank resident Kayla Williams is pictured on the main street in her hometown where she is currently working on an oral... Read More...
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over in Atlantic Highlands
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - Chief Jerry Vasto reports the Atlantic Highlands Police Department has received a $ 5000.00 grant which was awarded by the... Read More...
IMAGE The Community YMCA Expands Programs to Offer a Fresh Start to Good Health
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Photo: Red Bank Health & Wellness member Michelle Battista stays healthy and strong at the Y. Red Bank, NJ – The Community YMCA is... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Sinsations or Sonsations
by George Hancock-Stefan
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Driving on Route 36, towards the Parkway, on the right side of the road, one sees the advertisement for a new club called Sinsations. One has to... Read More...
IMAGE Weird Looking Night Heron Offspring
by Joe Reynolds
Monday, 25 August 2014
Just before dusk, a stout, short-necked, and smoky colored bird glided past me and into the tidal wetlands near Raritan Bay. “What do we have... Read More...
IMAGE Multiple Sclerosis Becomes Counselor's Asset
by Daniel J. Vance
Sunday, 24 August 2014
During most of the '70s, Kathe Skinner, now a 65-year-old licensed marriage family therapist in Colorado Springs, Colorado, couldn't figure out what... Read More...
IMAGE Review - 100 Foot Journey
by David Prown
Sunday, 24 August 2014
I am quite sure I never saw a preview for the new movie "100 Foot Journey". However any movie starring Helen Mirren always gets my attention and a... Read More...
IMAGE Racial Unrest, Then and Now
by Woody Zimmerman
Friday, 22 August 2014
In the fall of 1957, while walking my newspaper-route, I read about the drama playing out at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Following... 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