I haven’t read a historical fiction in a while and I’ve heard a lot of good things about this author so I thought I would give it a try.
It is 70 A.D. Jews are being persecuted by the Romans and are desperately looking for a place of refuge. For them, this is in the form of a fortress in Masada, where rebel Jews are gathering in order to act as a fighting front against the Romans. This story is told in the voice of 4 extraordinary women, each who have struggled in their life and sought relief in Masada. Yael is a woman whose mother died in childbirth and whose father despises her; her brother, who is one of the rebel Jews, has sent for her and her father to make their way to the fortress. Revka is a baker’s wife who has witnessed her daughter’s brutal death at the hands of the Roman and is now trying to survive in Masada with her two grandsons. Aziza is a girl who was born to be a warrior and struggles to find her place with the rebels. And then there is Shirah, the Witch of Moab, with her knowledge of charms and spells who is doing all she can to keep her children alive in this last stronghold. Along with their struggle for survival, the intricate details of the life of these four women is revealed.
This book was beautiful. It was rich in detail and portrayed the strengths and weaknesses of each woman splendidly. There were definite parallels in the stories of each and sometimes I had to remind myself of whose perspective I was reading (at times the unique voice of the character wasn’t clearly distinguishable). All in all, it was terrific and I would recommend this to everyone looking for a solid, deep, powerful novel!