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Alice Hoffman’s historical fiction novel “The Dovekeepers” has been captivating readers for years, and now with its recent paperback release, it’s available for everyone to enjoy. However, for those who prefer to listen instead of read, the audiobook edition of “The Dovekeepers” has been garnering attention for its riveting narration and powerful storytelling. In this audiobook review, we’ll take a closer look at Alice Hoffman’s writing, the audiobook performance, and the themes of “The Dovekeepers” to determine whether it’s worth adding to your reading or listening list.

Key Takeaways

  • The audiobook edition of “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman offers a captivating listening experience.
  • The unique writing style, memorable characters, and historical accuracy make “The Dovekeepers” an engaging work of historical fiction.
  • While the pacing and structure of the audiobook may not be for everyone, it effectively captures the intense and emotional moments of the story.
  • Overall, “The Dovekeepers” is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and audiobooks alike.

Overview of “The Dovekeepers”

In “The Dovekeepers,” Alice Hoffman weaves a mesmerizing tale of love, loss, and survival that transports listeners to ancient Israel. The audiobook follows the lives of four extraordinary women, each with their own unique story, whose lives intersect in a fight against Roman tyranny. The story is a poignant reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of faith amidst great adversity.

Author Alice Hoffman
Genre Historical Fiction
Duration 19 hours and 1 minute
Narrator Tavia Gilbert

The story begins in 70 CE, as the Roman Empire invades Jerusalem, killing and enslaving its people. Amidst this turmoil, four women take refuge in a mountain stronghold known as Masada, where they begin to form a bond that will change their lives forever.

The first woman, Yael, is the daughter of an assassin and one of the most skilled marksmen in Judea. After her father’s death, she vows to use her skills to bring down the Romans and avenge her family.

The second woman, Revka, is a baker’s wife who witnessed the brutal murder of her daughter and grandchildren at the hands of Roman soldiers. She finds solace in caring for doves and in the young orphan girl, Aziza.

The third woman, Shirah, is a wise woman and a witch whose knowledge of herbs and healing is unmatched. She has dedicated her life to preserving the secrets of her ancestors and protecting her people from harm.

The fourth woman, Aziza, is a young girl who becomes Revka’s adopted daughter and Yael’s protégé. Despite her tender age, she is a fierce fighter and a source of hope and inspiration for those around her.

“The Dovekeepers” is a breathtaking story of courage and sacrifice that will leave listeners captivated until the very end.

Alice Hoffman’s Writing Style

Alice Hoffman is an acclaimed author known for her unique writing style, often incorporating magical realism and elements of folklore in her works. In her audiobook, The Dovekeepers, Hoffman also showcases her mastery of narrative techniques, drawing readers in with vivid descriptions and emotionally-charged storytelling.

One of Hoffman’s strengths is her ability to develop complex characters that readers can connect with on a deeper level. In The Dovekeepers, she presents a diverse cast of women, each with their own distinct voice and personal journey. This allows readers to fully immerse themselves in the story and empathize with the struggles and triumphs of the characters.

Hoffman’s writing style is also characterized by her attention to detail and ability to create rich, atmospheric settings. She conducts extensive research to ensure historical accuracy and immerse readers in the context of her stories. This attention to detail is particularly evident in The Dovekeepers, which takes place during the Siege of Masada in ancient Israel.

“Hoffman’s writing is immersive and emotionally charged, drawing the reader into each character’s experience. Her attention to detail and character development make for a captivating audiobook experience.”

Themes Explored in “The Dovekeepers”

As a work of historical fiction, “The Dovekeepers” captures the essence of a time and place far removed from our own. Central to the audiobook are themes of love, survival, and faith, all set against the backdrop of the Roman siege of Masada. Alice Hoffman deftly weaves together personal stories of courage and loss with a vivid portrayal of the political and social realities of ancient Judea.

One theme that stands out in “The Dovekeepers” is the way in which it highlights the power of female resilience and sisterhood. Hoffman’s female characters are multifaceted and complex, defying stereotypes and portraying the lives and experiences of women during this tumultuous period in history with depth and nuance.

Another theme is the significance of historical events shaping the course of individuals’ lives. “The Dovekeepers” invites reflection upon how much the historical context of a time can shape and determine people’s beliefs, actions, and destinies.

“The stories of the women are all different, but they share a common thread of strength and perseverance that speaks to something universal in the human experience.” – Alice Hoffman

The exploration of these themes makes “The Dovekeepers” not only an engaging read but also a thought-provoking one that resonates with readers across generations.

Audiobook Performance and Narration

One of the key strengths of “The Dovekeepers” audiobook is the exceptional audiobook performance and narration. The production quality is top-notch, with clear voice recordings that capture the depth and intensity of the story.

The voice actors are equally impressive, each bringing a unique approach to their characters and delivering their lines with precision and emotion. The result is a captivating listening experience that fully immerses the listener in the world of “The Dovekeepers.”

Moreover, the voices of the different characters are easily distinguishable, making it easy to follow the story. This is especially useful for those who may struggle with following storylines when reading. The overall product is a top-tier audiobook that leaves nothing to be desired in terms of delivery quality.

“The audiobook’s production quality is top-notch, with clear voice recordings that capture the depth and intensity of the story.”

Memorable Characters in “The Dovekeepers”

Alice Hoffman is a master of character development, skillfully crafting individuals who leave a lasting impact on readers. In “The Dovekeepers,” this is evident in the numerous captivating characters who bring the story to life.

One of the most memorable characters is Yael, a fierce and determined woman who has faced unimaginable tragedy but refuses to be defeated. Her resilience and strength make her a force to be reckoned with, and her story is a testament to the power of the human spirit.

Another standout character is Revka, a widowed baker who has lost everyone she loves but finds solace in her baking. Despite her suffering, she remains kind and compassionate, offering friendship and support to those around her.

The character of Shirah, a wise woman and mystic, is also particularly memorable. Her knowledge of herbs and healing, coupled with her ability to foresee the future, make her a powerful figure in the community of Masada.

Overall, the characters in “The Dovekeepers” are complex, nuanced, and unforgettable. Their individual stories intertwine to create a powerful and emotional narrative that is sure to leave an impact on listeners.

Historical Accuracy and Background Research

One of the significant aspects of “The Dovekeepers” is its historical accuracy. Alice Hoffman conducted extensive research about the backdrop of the story, which takes place during the Roman siege of Masada in 70 CE. The author’s attention to historical detail enables readers to gain a deeper understanding of the events that occurred during this period and the people who experienced them.

Hoffman’s research included visits to Masada and the surrounding areas and consulting with historians and archaeologists. She also studied ancient Jewish texts and artifacts to ensure the accuracy of the characters, customs, and practices that she portrayed.

historical accuracy

The level of research conducted by Hoffman adds depth and authenticity to the story. It immerses readers in the world of the characters and brings the historical setting to life.

Pacing and Structure of the Audiobook

One of the standout features of “The Dovekeepers” audiobook is its impeccable pacing and structure. The story is divided into four parts, each highlighting the perspectives of different characters and their unique experiences in Masada. While this could potentially lead to a disjointed narrative, the audiobook seamlessly weaves each character’s story together, creating a cohesive and compelling listening experience.

Furthermore, the pacing of the audiobook is expertly crafted to capture the intensity of the story. As tension builds throughout the novel, the narration becomes more urgent and clipped, reflecting the urgency of the characters’ situation. Conversely, during moments of reflection and introspection, the narrator’s cadence slows, allowing listeners to fully absorb the weight of the characters’ emotional journeys.

Overall, the pacing and structure of “The Dovekeepers” audiobook set a high bar for historical fiction narration, immersing listeners in a richly detailed world with complex characters and harrowing events.

Emotional Impact and Reader Response

“The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman has an impressive emotional impact on readers. Hoffman’s masterful storytelling skills are on display with vivid imagery and descriptive language that brings the characters and setting to life. As readers follow the intertwined stories of the four women in the novel, they become invested in their lives and fates, empathizing with their struggles and triumphs.

Many readers have expressed their admiration for “The Dovekeepers” and its ability to build an emotional connection with its characters. In fact, the audiobook has received widespread praise among audiobook enthusiasts, with some describing it as a “powerful” and “moving” rendition of the novel.

“The Dovekeepers” is a story about love, loss, and survival. I was completely engrossed in the characters and their stories. This audiobook is a must-listen for anyone who loves historical fiction.

Overall, “The Dovekeepers” is a touching and engrossing audiobook that leaves a lasting impression on its listeners. Hoffman’s poignant storytelling and heartfelt characters are sure to tug at the heartstrings of any reader or listener.

Comparison to the Book Version

Those who have read the book version of “The Dovekeepers” may be curious about how the audiobook adaptation compares. While both formats offer the same gripping story, there are key differences to consider.

One benefit of the audiobook is the added dimension of narration. The talented voice actors bring the characters to life, adding emotion and nuance to the story. The audiobook also allows for a more immersive experience as listeners can close their eyes and be transported to the ancient world of Masada.

On the other hand, the book version offers a different kind of immersion. Readers can take their time with the text, rereading passages and savoring the language. In addition, the book provides maps and other visuals that enhance the reader’s understanding of the historical backdrop.

Ultimately, whether to choose the audiobook or the book version depends on personal preference. Both offer a unique experience and are worth exploring.

“I loved both the book and the audiobook of “The Dovekeepers.” The audiobook has amazing voice actors, while the book allows for a deeper dive into the setting and language.” – Sarah J.

Critical Reception of “The Dovekeepers”

Since its release, “The Dovekeepers” has received extensive critical acclaim, with many reviewers praising Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling and powerful prose. The audiobook has an average rating of 4.1 stars on Goodreads and is highly recommended by many readers.

The New York Times Book Review notes that “Hoffman’s telling is as suspenseful and vivid as the ancient text it fictionalizes” and calls it a “gripping tale of human survival.” The Washington Post hails the novel as “a major contribution to twenty-first-century literature” and commends Hoffman for creating a “stunningly beautiful and heartbreaking work of historical fiction.”

In her review for The Guardian, Sarah Churchwell writes, “Hoffman’s particular alchemy of fiction and history crackles with incandescent intensity.” The Los Angeles Times applauds Hoffman’s ability to “transmute history into literature” and deems the novel “a triumph of storytelling.”

Overall, the critical reception of “The Dovekeepers” has been overwhelmingly positive, solidifying its place as a modern classic of historical fiction.

Recommendation and Final Thoughts

After listening to “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman, we highly recommend this audiobook to anyone looking for a captivating historical fiction story filled with rich characters and well-researched details. The audiobook provides a unique and immersive experience, breathing new life into Hoffman’s remarkable novel.

The narration and voice acting are excellent, keeping the listener engaged from start to finish. The pacing and structure of the audiobook effectively capture the intensity and flow of the story, and the emotional impact it delivers is truly unforgettable.

“The Dovekeepers” is a brilliant and moving piece of literature that truly transports the reader to ancient times. Hoffman’s writing is captivating, and her characters are so vivid and well-drawn that it’s easy to become invested in their journey. This is a must-listen for anyone who loves historical fiction or a good story well told.

In conclusion, we believe that “The Dovekeepers” is a literary masterpiece that deserves a spot in any audiobook lover’s collection. It’s a poignant and powerful tale of love, loss, faith, and survival that will leave you thinking long after the narration has stopped.


Overall, “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman is a captivating audiobook that beautifully delivers a historical fiction story of love, survival, and faith. The audiobook performance and narration are top-notch, bringing the characters and settings to life in a mesmerizing way. Hoffman’s unique writing style, character development, and plot structure permit readers to immerse themselves in the narrative, feeling the profound emotional impact it creates. The historical accuracy and background research add to the authenticity of the story and create an immersive backdrop that readers can fully appreciate.

As an audiobook or a book, “The Dovekeepers” is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys historical fiction, as it offers a thought-provoking and emotional experience. The critical reception of the audiobook has been overwhelmingly positive, and it is easy to see why. There are very few criticisms to be leveled at this masterpiece of storytelling.

Overall, “The Dovekeepers” is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a gripping and brilliantly narrated audiobook that explores the various themes of historical fiction and offers an exceptional listening experience.


Is "The Dovekeepers" by Alice Hoffman available as a paperback?

Yes, “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman is now available in paperback.

What is "The Dovekeepers" about?

“The Dovekeepers” is a historical fiction audiobook that tells the story of four women who come together during a time of unrest and tragedy in ancient Israel.

What is Alice Hoffman’s writing style like?

Alice Hoffman is known for her captivating and poetic writing style, which combines rich imagery, lyrical prose, and deep emotional depth.

What are some of the themes explored in "The Dovekeepers"?

“The Dovekeepers” explores themes of love, survival, faith, resilience, and the power of hope in the face of adversity.

How is the audiobook performance and narration in "The Dovekeepers"?

The audiobook features exceptional narration by talented voice actors, who bring the characters and the story to life with their compelling delivery.

Who are the memorable characters in "The Dovekeepers"?

“The Dovekeepers” introduces readers to unforgettable characters, each with their own unique journeys, struggles, and contributions to the narrative.

How historically accurate is "The Dovekeepers"?

Alice Hoffman conducted thorough background research to ensure historical accuracy in “The Dovekeepers,” providing readers with an authentic portrayal of the time period.

How is the pacing and structure of the audiobook?

The audiobook maintains a captivating pace, seamlessly weaving together multiple storylines and perspectives to keep listeners engaged throughout.

What emotional impact does "The Dovekeepers" have?

“The Dovekeepers” is an emotionally impactful audiobook that elicits a range of emotions, from heartache and despair to hope and resilience.

How does the audiobook version compare to the book?

The audiobook version of “The Dovekeepers” offers a unique and immersive experience, enhancing the storytelling through the power of voice and expert narration.

What has been the critical reception of "The Dovekeepers"?

“The Dovekeepers” has received positive reviews from literary critics and readers alike, praising Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling and evocative prose.

Would you recommend "The Dovekeepers" as an audiobook?

Absolutely! “The Dovekeepers” is a highly recommended audiobook for those who enjoy beautiful writing, immersive storytelling, and compelling historical fiction.

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