Tuesday, February 12, 2013


We had a little larger group than usual today and all said they enjoyed the book, some more enthusiastically than others.  Some breezed through it but a few of us felt that The Dovekeepers could have benefited from some tightening and perhaps less repetition of the magic, spells and incantations. 

 I wondered where the line was drawn between witchcraft, which was clearly an abomination in the Old Testament, and where the superstition and spells were accepted.  Joanne reminded us that in that time the Kabbalah was used to as a source of explanations, and it had it roots in Jewish mysticism.  As Mary said, either it was God's will, or it was not. 

Kareen is on vacation but wrote - "Funny, usually I can place myself into the book, as one of the characters or at least a bystander.  I couldn't in this book so never got emotionally involved."  She has been to Masada and said that the ramp built by the Romans was spectacular.  "One could tell they they were very determined to get into that fortress." 

We appreciated the tremendous research that Hoffman invested into writing this book, a five-year project.  She led us into the heart of a violent past with the personal and intimate interactions between the characters that would have made it impossible to feel immersed in the history otherwise.

Told in four parts, I think we favored the last one, though I agree with Carolyn that it was maybe too convenient that Shirah was Yael's nursemaid in the beginning.  Jennifer said the same about the ending, when it came to a surprisingly happy-ever-after conclusion .

The final discussion centered around the relationships between the mothers and daughters and why they made the decisions that they did, because secondary to the story of the zealots holed up in Masada is story of the women.  From there we digressed to the complex mother/daughter relationships and really didn't return to the book.  And a good time was had by all :)