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Vietnam Veterans to Lead Tours of Memorial and Museum
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
Holmdel, N.J.  – The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation is offering free tours of the Museum and Memorial led by... Read More...
Highlands Community Singers at Clamfest Saturday
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
HIGHLANDS, NJ - The Highlands Community Singers will kick off Saturday's entertainment at the annual Clam Festival with a performance at noon,... Read More...
Joint Presbyterian Service Sunday
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - The First Presbyterian Church of Atlantic Highlands and the Hope Presbyterian Church of Tinton Falls will conduct... Read More...
IMAGE Mayor Declares July 13 William Kennelly, Sr. Day
Monday, 28 July 2014
PHOTO: From left to right: Mayor Stephanie Murray,  Firefighter William Kennelly Sr., Fire Chief Peter Laimann, and 3rd Assistant Chief... Read More...
IMAGE 7 New Middletown Police Officers Take the Oath
Monday, 28 July 2014
PHOTO: Officer Erica Weeks is sworn in.  Her father, Timothy Weeks, is holding the Bible. MIDDLETOWN- The Middletown Township Police Department... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Adoption Involving Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
by Daniel J. Vance
Saturday, 26 July 2014
Laura Bloch adored his picture. “My husband and I had just been approved through an adoption agency and the agency sent out a letter with a picture... Read More...
IMAGE Is It The Shadow?
by Woody Zimmerman
Friday, 25 July 2014
“Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of man? (Hoo-hoo-hoo-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!) The Shadow...” Starting in the 1930s, and extending well into... Read More...
IMAGE Spectator’s Observations
by George Hancock-Stefan
Thursday, 24 July 2014
During the World Cup, I watched as many games as possible. I watched them here at home, I watched a couple of games in Turkey where they were... Read More...
IMAGE What Does the Fox Say?
by Anne Mikolay
Thursday, 24 July 2014
As a long-time Middletown resident and a nature lover, I have seen my share of backyard critters. We have mice, voles, squirrels, raccoons, skunks,... Read More...
IMAGE Skewed View - July 24, 2014
by Tom Brennan
Thursday, 24 July 2014
I created a page called "Fact Jack".  If you want, like it on Facebook http://bit.ly/FactJackFb or follow on... 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