I miss doing book reviews, and with less time to dedicate to the blog these days, I’ve come up with a way to keep talking about books. This is my first “10 minute” book review. Basically, I’ve got 10 minutes to talk about whatever book I’ve just finished reading.
If anyone has tips for making the most of a short book review, please let me know! This is tough for someone who has a lot to say and far too little time to say it (read: rambles a lot).
10-Minute Book Review #1: The Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman
This book inspired me to get back into the book review business. It’s been one of the books I’ve enjoyed the most in the past couple years—highly captivating and hard to put down, with realistic characters and a sense of urgency, of life and death that keeps you reading. Plus, you learn a lot of very interesting history in the process.
It’s historical fiction, set in the years around the time of the destruction of the second Jewish temple (A.D. 70).
It’s the story of several women but told from the perspective of four women who lived during the final years of the stronghold of Masada in the wilderness of Israel.
Each woman has a journey to reach Masada, and their lives there become interwoven, as they all are given the job of taking care of the doves that fertilize the fields of Masada.
If you know much about history, you’ve probably heard about why Masada is famous, how things ended there. But even if you don’t know its history, you’ll be captivated by journeys and struggles for these women.
What intrigued me the most was its focus on the magical side of the Judaism of this era. This is the dark, forbidden magic practiced by women, but still acknowledging the Jewish God and traditions. We often hear the stories of men in this time, and it’s refreshing to hear what women were doing back then, even if some of them are practicing on the outskirts of orthodoxy.