Title: The Marriage of Opposites
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Number of Pages: 384
How I Got It: Book of the Month Club
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, Fréderick, 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 Fréderick is a story that is as unforgettable as it is remarkable.
I was thrilled to receive this novel as a selection in the Book of the Month Club. It is similar to The Dovekeepers in that it is multigenerational and filled with dreamy settings, but I was wanting more of the magic realism Hoffman gave me in her previous novels. Hoffman did transport me to St. Thomas; full of exotic birds and unspoken caste systems, and Paris; full of gardens, art salons, and modern thinking. I love a book with a female protagonist and Rachel does not disappoint. She is stubborn and pushes the boundaries of acceptable behavior in her community. I would recommend this book to anyone loving lush settings and strong women in historical fiction.
***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***