Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: August 2015
Source: Borrowed from the Library
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.
This book seems to be getting great reviews and I am sad to say that even though I made my way through it, it was a struggle. This book was chosen for my book club by another member and voted as the book we should read and I think this book was just too far outside of my normal reading for me to really enjoy it. That being said, it was still an alright book.
The author uses wonderful detail to describe the island and the people to the point were I was impressed but also bored - there was a lot of detail. What I like to read most is interactions between characters and a lot of the book takes place as these descriptions or as someone's thoughts and feelings versus conversations. So the lack of dialogue really bothered me.
The book was very interesting, I really got into reading Rachel's point of view and right when I was the author decided it was time for a change and lead us into another POV, it felt disjointed at times. I understand the need for all the views but I had a number of chapters with one person then was surprised to realize that it would be changing. And because of these changes I found the overall story fairly slow. I ended up reading it in more than a few sittings but I felt bogged down as I read it and had trouble really feeling the urge to pick it up.
So overall this was not my cup of tea (so to speak). I think readers of this genre probably loved the historical aspects of it and all the detail and thought put into it but I was not really feeling it. On the bright side, I made it all the way through without tossing it, so thus the 'it as ok' rating versus a lower one. I am glad I am broadening my reading but I also am finding that I just really don't enjoy most books outside the YA/MG genres.