Thursday, 13 August 2015

Review: The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffmann

While many readers will already be aware of the great artist Camille Pissarro, known affectionately as "The Father of Impressionism," few will know of the beautiful story of the artist's mother, Rachel and of her defiant and passionate love affair with his father, Frederick. In The Marriage of Opposites accomplished American author Alice Hoffman (The Dovekeepers, The Museum of Extraordinary Things,) beautifully brings the story of Rachel to life, portraying her as a strong, capable and loving woman who triumphs time and time again over adversity and against the odds.

I loved reading this one from start to finish, reading the account of Rachel's childhood on the island of St Thomas, her arranged marriage to a much older widower and her eventual love affair with the young and quiet Frederick which sees her banished from the close-knit and incredibly fundamentalist Jewish community on the island, of which she had been a lifelong member. As little as known about her life, Hoffmann adds some fictional, but utterly compelling, details that fit in perfectly with the novel's narrative and setting. 

Highly, highly recommended.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my review copy.