The Marriage Of Opposites

Alice Hoffman
Jul 31, 2018

I absolutely love this book and consider it one of my "top 10" favorites! I did not expect to like it when a friend lent me her copy to read, but it blew me away. 

Alice Hoffman's writing is so rich in detail that it's mesmerizing. The Marriage of Opposites is historical fiction set during the 19th century, based on the real life of Rachel Pomie', the mother of Camille Pissarro who became a famous artist and one of the fathers of impressionism. Most of the story is set on the island of St. Thomas, and then ultimately in Paris. Rachel Pomie' is a girl that does not like rules and is constantly at odds with her mother. As a woman, her actions for love create a scandal within her tight-knit Jewish community that affects her family for many years. As Rachel matures and her children become adults, her rebellious spirit becomes more duty- and tradition-bound. Her relationship with her non-conforming son Camille begins to mirror that of the tense relationship she had with her own mother. 

There are so many topics and themes in the book, creating a fascinating, enchanting story: love, family, friendship, religion, politics, history, death, secrets, dreams, spirits, nature, art, and more. This book is so beautifully written that it is best read slowly so every word can be savored. I have a whole new appreciation for art and artists after reading this book. Camille Pissarro has several paintings on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and I am very anxious to visit the museum to see his works in person.

Reviewed by Library Staff