the next good book

The Marriage Of Opposites

By Alice Hoffman


365 pages

What’s it about? This book begins in the early to mid 1800’s on the island of St. Thomas.  It follows the life of Rachel Pomie and her family.  It is a work of historical fiction based loosely on the life of Rachel Monsanto Pomie Petit Pizzarro.   In real life, Camille Pissarro is a famous painter and the son of Rachel Pizzarro.   He begins painting in his youth in St. Thomas and eventually makes his way to Europe where he is a contemporary of Cezanne, Degas and Renoir, among others.   This is the imagined story of his family.
What did I think? I loved “The Dovekeepers” and think Alice Hoffman is a gifted writer.  This novel does not disappoint.  It was less complex and easier to read than “The Dovekeepers”.   I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I learned so much about the island of St. Thomas- its’ customs and traditions.  Her descriptions of the island were enchanting.  The Pizzarro family is Jewish, and that fact played a significant role in the book.  This just adds another layer as the story progresses.
Should you read it? This is a great book for those of you who like historical fiction.  Alice Hoffman is so well thought of, that on the cover of my book her name is 5 times as big as the actual title of the book.   For an author this must be the ultimate compliment.
Quote- “I no longer cared if my mother disliked me.  I didn’t understand that when I closed myself to her, I took a part of her bitterness inside me.  It was green and unforgiving, and as it grew it made me more like her.  It gave me my strength, but it gave me my weakness as well.”

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