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The Marriage of Opposites

“But I was not a mouse. In the fields where I walked, I was much more interested in the actions of the hawks”

The Marriage of Opposites ~ Alice Hoffman

I believe what this book is truly about is life in a full circle; more specifically the relationship between children and parents through generations. The story and the relationships described in the book reminded me of how quick we are to overlook that our parents were once independent individuals with their own stories to tell and how perhaps parents seem to forget their youth. An imaginative fiction, the story is based on true events of the life of the famous Camille Pissarro, considered by many to be the father of Impressionist painting and his fiercely feminist mother Rachel. Set mostly in the tropical island of St. Thomas (now a part of the U.S. Virgin Islands), Hoffman is able to paint a magical picture seen through the eyes of Rachel who defied her family and the small Jewish community that she belonged to by falling in love with a man seven years her junior. The story shifts soon to her youngest son (Camille) who similar to his mother’s nature, refused to live by the rules and ironically had to endure her wrath.

Why you should read it:

  • Vivid descriptions of colours and West Indian folklore
  • Nearly unrealistic aspirational true love
  • You will begin to yearn for the scent of molasses in the air and other such tropical loveliness

Why you shouldn’t read it:

  • You might develop a fear of loss of a loved one and the magical powers of lavender (if you are as easily impressionable as I am by what you read in a story)

Note ~ I was provided with a pre-published copy of the book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.