Review: The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Marriage of Opposites
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
ISBN: 9781451693591
Number of Pages: 384
How I Got It: Book of the Month Club
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Description:
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.

My Review:
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. ***


Carmen said...

I would love to read this one. I love art, historical fiction and lush settings. I am glad you liked this one, Rhiannon.

Judy Krueger said...

I loved some of Hoffman's early novels but then she seemed to become too lightweight or something. Perhaps I should give her another try because it sounds like she has kicked it up a notch in these historicals. The title reminds me of Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff which I finished about 19 days ago. It is also about marriage and the different views a man and wife can have of their relationship.

Becca Lostinbooks said...

I'm reading this right now and I was thinking this would be more historical fiction and not so much magical realism. I loved Practical Magic, which was all magical realism. I just started this but I like Rachel and I'm intrigued by her story as well as her son. Impressionism is one of my favorite art movements.

Rhiannon Johnson said...

I'm about to start Fates and Furies, Judy.
Carmen, you should check TMOO out if you like lush settings. Hoffman's descriptions of St. Thomas are delicious.
Becca, I wonder if Hoffman will do anything like PM ever again since it was so successful? I hope so, but maybe she's worried it just won't stand up?

Judy Krueger said...

I wrote my full review of Fates and Furies and hope to post it on the blog today or tomorrow. Enjoy your read!!

Carmen said...

Rhiannon, I nominated you at my blog for "One Lovely Blog Award" for which you have to post some answers to some questions and voila. Here is link:

Hope to see your answers if you decide to take part. Regards.