The Marriage of Opposites (Hardcover)
August 2015 Indie Next List
“Hoffman's newest novel is based on the life of Rachel Pomie Petit Pissarro and her favorite son, Camille, who would become the famed 'Father of impressionism.' Growing up in a Jewish refugee community on tropical St. Thomas in the 1800s, strong-willed Rachel dreams of the cool, rainy streets of Paris. Raised by a stern mother and a kind-hearted father, Rachel is forced to marry a widower to save her family's business and later follows forbidden passions, creating a scandal that turns her community against her. Hoffman fills the pages with the island's magic and color in this unforgettable tale of what it means to walk the tightrope between tradition and independence, love and logic.”
— Julia Sinn, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
“[A] luminous, Marquez-esque tale.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
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, Frédérick, 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 Frédérick is a story that is as unforgettable as it is remarkable.
About the Author
Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.
“Lilting prose, beautifully meted out folklore and historical references, and Hoffman's deep conviction in her characters (especially those "willing to do anything for love") make reading this "contes du temps passé" a total pleasure.”
—Kirkus, starred review
"[A] rhapsodic blend of keenly observed historical elements and vibrantly fabulistic invention generates an entrancing saga of sacrifice, forbidden loves, betrayals, and family tragedies endured in a world fractured by religion, class, and race, and redeemed by art and by love. Hoffman is at her resplendent best in this trenchant and revelatory tale of a heroic woman and her world-altering artist son."
– Booklist, Starred Review
"Hoffman’s subject matter and her evocative writing style are a wonderful fit for this moving story, which illuminates a historical period and women whose lives were colored by hardships, upheavals, and the subjugation of personal desires."
“[A] luminous, Marquez-esque tale.”
— O, The Oprah Magazine
“A fresh tale of human error and achievement. This subject has found the right author at the right time, and no one who reads this story will forget it.”
“Hoffman’s lush, seductive prose and heart-pounding subject—a forbidden love affair on the island of Saint Thomas—make this latest skinny-dip in enchanted realism by the author of Practical Magic the Platonic ideal of the beach read.”
"Hoffman mixes fact and fiction to produce a richly imagined tapestry shot through with her signature blend of folklore, fairy dust and romantic passion."
- The Washington Post
·“For readers who would go anywhere Hoffman willtake you, this Marriage will only renew your commitment to herastonishing storytelling.”
“Rich with details that transport readers to a tropical paradise. The Marriage of Opposites invites comparisons to Gabriel García Marquez, but Hoffman follows her own star… Hoffman elevates what could have been little more than a summer getaway book to a work of art.”
-Dallas Morning News