From the "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Dovekeepers" and "The Museum of Extraordinary Things" a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro the Father of Impressionism. Read more...
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J. R. Ward
From the "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Dovekeepers" and "The Museum of Extraordinary Things" a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro the Father of Impressionism.
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, life-long 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, Frederick, 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, bestselling Alice Hoffman at the height of her considerable powers. Once forgotten to history, the marriage of Rachel and Frederick is a story that is as unforgettable as it is remarkable."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-06-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Hoffman (The Museum of Extraordinary Things) finds inspiration for her particular brand of magical realism in the Caribbean island of St. Thomas and the personal history of a nonfictional woman named Rachel Pomié, who lived on the colony in the 19th century. Rachel begins the story as the headstrong daughter of a French merchant, whose Jewish ancestors came to the New World in pursuit of religious freedom and found refuge under the protection of the King of Denmark, a champion of civil rights who also outlawed slavery on the island. Rachel grows up with her best friend Jestine, the beautiful daughter of her family’s servant, Adelle, but upon adulthood, their paths separate. Rachel, caught up in the expectations set for her as a member of the small community, marries Isaac Petit, a widower nearly 30 years her senior with three small children, in order to help her father’s business interests. She puts away her dreams of moving to Paris and accepts the role of dutiful wife, producing more children and becoming distant from Jestine, who faces her own challenges finding her place in society. When Rachel’s husband dies and his nephew arrives to oversee the family business, Rachel is swept into an encompassing love that violates the community’s moral code and isolates her family—but produces a son, Camille, whose peculiar way of seeing foretells his role as a leader of French Impressionism. Hoffman’s subject matter and her evocative writing style are a wonderful fit for this moving story, which illuminates a historical period and women whose lives were colored by hardships, upheavals, and the subjugation of personal desires. (Aug.)