a marriage of opposites

4 stars

A enjoyable historical fiction.

This is our April book club choice. I’m not a huge fan of Alice Hoffman’s writing, so was not necessarily looking forward to reading this book. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. Because I reluctantly started reading the book, I had no idea it was based on real people until the author’s notes in the back. So, that was a cool bonus. 🙂

The book starts in St. Thomas in the early 1800s. Rachel is a young Jewish girl, who has a rocky relationship with her mother who does not like her rebellious ways. Rachel’s salvation is her relationship with her family maid Adelle and her close friendship with Adelle’s daughter Jestine. When Rachel is a teenager she is married off to an older widower with 3 young children to save her father’s business. When her husband dies and his young nephew arrives on the island to run their business, he and Rachel fall in love. Despite her family and religious congregation refusing to acknowledge the couple or their children, they will not be deterred. They live happily together and have several children, including a boy who grows up to be Camille Pissarro; the Father of Impressionism.

The story follows Rachel’s life, as well as Camille’s, as he grows up and becomes a famous artist. The book is very well written. It’s historical fiction, so reads more like fiction than a biography. I recommend you read this book.