Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Beginnings and Friday 56: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

This one's coming out on October 4, and I feel lucky to have it on hand because Hoffman's one of those authors I know I can count on for an entertaining read voiced by a master storyteller.

The Opener...
We came like doves across the desert.  In a time when there was nothing but death, we were grateful for anything, and most grateful of all when we awoke to another day.
See what I mean about the clean cadences, the repetition so reminiscent of oral traditions?  And page fifty-six offers us more of this straight-forward yet graceful prose, couched in old-world diction reminiscent of stories passed down over centuries:
People said there were trees filled with beautiful fruit, but once plucked the fruit turned to smoke and ash in your hand.  In the daylight hours our every breath burned.
What's the context for these intriguing sentences?  Here's the publisher's blurb.

The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.

In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.

The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.

I probably won't get to The Dovekeepers until I close the cover on War & Peace, so I'll be able to review it just in time for its publication on October 4.  I included it today because it's at the top of my TBR pile, staring up at me each day when I sit down to read.  You can pre-order it at Amazon or Indiebound today.

If you're ready to take a peek at more fabulous sentences and perhaps find your next blazing TBR, check out Book Beginnings for more tantalizing openers and at Freda's Voice for the Friday 56 .

MFB,
L

8 comments:

fredamans said...

Very intriguing indeed! Thanks for participating!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Oh, I love this author, and this one is on my wish list. Thanks for sharing.

Here's MY FRIDAY MEMES POST

Vicki said...

This is the second time I've seen this book today. Maybe I need to see about getting a copy. The blurb sounds fascinating!
Here's Mine

SquirrelQueen said...

This sounds really good. Both the story and the writing style are intriguing.

Bev Hankins said...

Those are lovely excepts. I really enjoy the writing.

Here's my Friday Memes: http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2011/08/friday-memes_19.html

thebookstop said...

How exciting to have this one in advance! I love Alice Hoffman and this one sounds fascinating.

Laurie said...

Thanks for hosting this hop, Freda!
Laurel-Rain, Vicki, SQ, Bev, & TBS - I'll find out if I'm allowed to pass it along. If so, I'll toss a coin and contact the lucky winner!
Off to see what y'all posted...

Indian Pharmacy said...

Thanks for this information, I didn't know it was coming soon I hope it being perfect like the other readings, I'd like to keep reading your blog because it's so good.

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