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The Marriage of Opposites
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May 2018: Family Drama > The Marriage of Opposites; 5 Stars

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message 1: by Hahtoolah (last edited May 09, 2018 05:41AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hahtoolah | 447 comments The Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman is the fictionalized account of the life of Rachel Monsanto PomiéPetit Pizzarro, the mother of Camille Pissarro, one of the Fathers of Impressionism. Rachel was born in the Jewish community on the island of St. Thomas in 1795. Her first husband was a widower many years older the Rachel. At the time of her marriage, she immediately became step-mother to his three children. Before she was 30 years old, she was widowed with seven children ~ three step-children and four of her own. Soon Abraham Gabriel Frédéric Pizzarro (known as Frédéric), a nephew of Rachel’s dead husband, moved to St. Thomas to run the family business. As a woman, Rachel had no rights to manage the business.

Rachel and Frédéric almost immediately fell in love, but due to religious reasons, were not permitted to marry. They were ostracized, but lived as husband and wife for years, before the religious community recognized their marriage. Together, Rachel and Frédéric had three children, bringing their household to 12. Their youngest child was named Jacobo Abraham Camille Pizzarro. (He changed the spelling of his name when he moved to France.)

The novel describes life in the paradise of St. Thomas during the early 1800s. Rachel’s best friend, Jestine, was the beautiful mixed-race daughter of the family’s cook. The novel touches on the life of slavery on the Islands. Jestine falls in love with Aaron, a distant relative of Rachel’s family. The love is mutual, but any marriage is forbidden for a host of reasons, which ultimately harbor a deep family secret.

The novel also weaves the myths and superstitions of the Islands into the everyday life of the Pizzarro family.

A beautiful read.


message 2: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5203 comments This sounds interesting!


Magdalena | 414 comments Fantastic review! It really is a beautiful read I loved it the story is fascinating!


Susie I really enjoyed this book. The audio was very well done too. It was my first Hoffman, and I will definitely read more of her work. I picked it up as Amy speaks so highly of her.


message 5: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 9663 comments You guys know! Favorite author, favorite book!


Jgrace | 3156 comments I haven't read much Hoffman, but this is definitely on the TBR. Thanks for this review. I'm moving this book up the pile.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Great review. How have I not heard of this author? This story sounds amazing.


message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 9663 comments You’ve heard of her now!


message 9: by JoLene (new) - added it

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments Yeah, I bought this a while back since I know that Hoffman is a fav of Amy’s and we have similar HF tastes.


Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2324 comments A Hoffman I have yet to read. I'm with Amy, one of my favorite authors. It's already on my TBR. I loved your review.


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