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Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel's mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel's salvation is their maid Adelle's belief in her strengths and her deep, lifelong friendship with Jestine, Adelle's daughter. But Rachel's life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father's business. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Frédérick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.
Building on the triumphs of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things, set in a world of almost unimaginable beauty, The Marriage of Opposites showcases the beloved, best-selling Alice Hoffman at the height of her considerable powers. Once forgotten to history, the marriage of Rachel and Frédérick is a story that is as unforgettable as it is remarkable.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By TV on 09-27-15
Much as in The Dovekeepers, Hoffman's lyrical prose captures the lives of women and their families set in a world very different from our own. Here, the evocative tropical setting of Colonial St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies comes to life with lush description and mystical stories drawn from island lore. The wind, sea, skies, flowers, and birds take on magical qualities in a manner reminiscent of Marquez.
The central character is Rachel Pomie Petit Pissaro, who was the mother of Impressionist master, Camile Pissaro. The story spans three generations of her family and their struggle andconflict dealing with issues surrounding gender, race, religion, morality and ethics during the Colonial Era. Wonderful insight and new appreciation for Pissaro's gift are added benefits of this lovely book.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
By Katnat on 03-09-17
Overwrought but enjoyable
A little melodramatic. I kept wanting to give up on it but still found it compelling. Also couldn't they have found a narrator that didn't mangle French pronunciation given that the characters are French origins? Still the story was colorful and an interesting look at a time and place that I knew nothing about.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful