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Regrettably, we do not have chapter by chapter summaries for Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers. However, since this topic is listed in Enotes, we may have a summary shortly. The narrative of this novel that is based upon a true incident of 70 B.C. involves nine hundred Jews who have fought against Roman armies; amazingly, they are able to hold out for months against the Romans on a Judean mountain located in the Masada desert. Finally, however, only two women and five children survive. Hoffman introduces this struggle,
The Romans....came to us as they swarmed upon so many lands with their immense legions wanting not just to conquer but to humiliate, claiming not just our land and our gold, but our humanity.
Against the panoply of this historical background, Hoffman creates a tale of six courageous and bold women who come from four different paths to Masada, "giving voice," as Hoffman expresses it, to the women who participated in the Jewish struggle. It is these women, five of whom tend Masad's dovecotes-- "dovekeepers,"-- who have secrets about their true identities and about who they love. They form a small community within the larger one. The illustrious writer, Toni Morrison, refers to this novel as a testament to the human spirit that gives rise to love even in the turmoil of war.
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