2.28.2014

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman has a new book coming out this month called The Museum of Extraordinary Things. It looks like a good read, and I added it to my list. However, when I saw her announcement I realized I hadn't read her earlier book The Dovekeepers.

I was attracted to The Dovekeepers because over the last year I've developed a relationship with two mourning doves nesting outside my window. We have a silent agreement that I feed them when the neighbor's cat is stuck indoors, and they hang out in the late afternoons, staring at me while I work in my bubble.

I love these doves, and I've never been particularly emotionally invested in birds, so I'm a bit surprised. I guess I saw birds as pretty and entertaining creatures to watch but not interact with. However, the more I relate to these doves the more I benefit from their gentle spirits.

In many ways, The Dovekeepers is a book about the symbolic spirit of doves. A group of women learning to survive and love in a desert fortress during a horrific period in Jewish history. The stories of each of these women is both heartbreaking and breathtaking because of the courage and strength of their love. However, each of them seems to embody some aspect of dove spirit: enduring love, faithfulness, fragile courage, and patience.

People say it reminds them of The Red Tent, and it does have that same sense of time and place, but I think The Dovekeepers haunts you more. I savored The Dovekeepers like a good meal that I didn't want to finish for Alice Hoffman makes you feel like you are living alongside these quietly powerful women, absorbing the pain of what it must have been like to be a refugee in your own homeland -- the ancient desert of Judea.



8 comments:

  1. Speaking of birds, I've got 3 feeders and you would not believe the finches, sparrows, pigeons, doves and yes a baby hawk... The pecking order is amazing... reminds me of the moms at the park w/their kids... Last year had a nest of quail eggs.. would u believe the Daddy keeps watch while Mama lays the eggs? Have u read Here on Earth? that was a great book and Red Tent touched me deeply... Birds don't seem to mourn the way dogs and cats might... One of the baby quail must of died and it was surprising to see the parents just walk w/the remaining across the yard..They abandoned the nest w/eggs still unhatched- unbelievable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the picture you're painting in my head! I never thought of it that way -- mothers at the park with kids. Too funny!! I haven't read Here on Earth. I'll have to check it out. How interesting about the quail. It fascinates me to watch their behavior too.

      Delete
  2. i am not reading the post, just in case you go into details - bc i am reading it right now! i just got to where she was chosen to work with the birds. how funny -

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love it! It's like we were in a book club together, but we didn't know it :)

      Delete
  3. Sounds like a great book! I read like 2 books a year and I will have to remember this, and the other one coming out. I read a good book in December called The Snow Child. I am still dreaming of that one! Enjoy the day, Miss Beth! Erin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'll like this one, Erin! Thanks for the reading suggestion. I love the title. I'm off to go pin it to my board :)

      Delete
    2. I just googled The Snow Child and its definitely added to my list... wow what an amazing story..

      Delete
    3. Cool! It looks both magical and haunting. I can't wait :)

      Delete

I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)