The Priscilla Book Club met April 10 at the Lincolnton home of Hazel Andrews. After a dessert course was served, President Kay Barefoot welcomed members. Program leader, Peggy Lafferty, reviewed the historical novel, “The Dovekeepers,” written by Alice Hoffman.
“The Dovekeepers” is about Masada, a mountain fortress in the Judean desert. It is set during the Roman siege in 70 A.D. and details the four courageous Jewish women who sought refuge there with 900 other Jews after the fall of Jerusalem and the Destruction of the Temple.
As recorded by the historian Josephus, the story is based on the actual event of the suicide pact of the Jewish rebels, who would rather die than be captured by the Romans. Only two women and five children survived.
Four segments constitute the novel, as it is told by the four women whose lives converge as keepers of the Dovecote at the fortress. All are dovekeepers, and all are keeping secrets — about who they are, where they came from, who fathered them and whom they love.
The first part is told by Yael, a political assassin’s daughter. Her mother died in childbirth and her father never forgave her for that. Revka, a baker’s wife, narrates part two. She watched the murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers. Part three comes from Aziza, a brave female warrior who was raised as a boy by her father. Shirah, a witch, relates part four. She is wise in ways of magic and medicine.
Suspicious of one another in the beginning, the women soon develop a bond so strong that they are willing to sacrifice everything for each other.
President Kay Barefoot continued the meeting with timely dates of historic significance in the American Revolution:
-April 18, 1775: Paul Revere’s ride to warn American colonists of a planned British raid on Concord, Mass., near Boston.
-May 20, 1775: Residents of Mecklenburg County declared themselves “…free and independent people.”
-April 12, 1776: The Halifax Resolves, the call for independence from Great Britain.
Hazel Andrews, a member of the Priscilla Book Club since 1993, surprised the club by announcing that this will be her last time to host the Priscillas. She requested her status be designated as “honorary member.”
In keeping with her patriotic theme, President Barefoot closed the meeting proudly stating that North Carolina was the first colony to vote for independence on April 12, 1776.
Elizabeth Leatherman will host the May business meeting.