This is a first Alice Hoffman read for me. It was one of the top picks at my local bookstore when it first came out. I don't normally gravitate towards this kind of fiction but something about the cover and the synopsis called out to me, and I'm glad I followed thru.
I don't know anything about this particular time of Jewish history, and Ms. Hoffman did indicate at the end of the book about the type/amount of research that went into this book. Even if she didn't, I probably wouldn't have cared the way she built this time and place in my head. The use of practical magic layered with their people's history and faith threw me off a bit in the beginning but I thought it further gave texture to the story.
I thought it was beautifully written. It revolved around 4 women, each strong in their own way. I love how each of these women's stories has woven to form this tapestry of a saga. I could so easily talk about each one of them in detail, and talk about how each of them came to be, the pivotal things in each of their lives that would forever change them, about love found and lost, but I might as well tell the whole story if that's the case so I won't:p
Heading towards the ending, there was no doubt what was to happen and all I could do was brace myself for the impact. It was heart-wrenching. After finishing this book, I had to decompress a little to let these women get out of my head. And seeing that I had to make a conscious effort to let these characters go, that's how I know how much I liked this book.