The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

The Marriage of Opposites

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 Inquis...

Details The Marriage of Opposites

TitleThe Marriage of Opposites
Release DateAug 4th, 2015
PublisherSimon & Schuster
Number of pages371 pages
GenreHistorical Fiction, Fiction, Historical, Romance, Art

Reviews The Marriage of Opposites

  • Elyse
    I thought the "Dovekeepers" was absolutely a fantastic book.....Yet... For some reason...I thought "The Marriage of Opposites", was going to be a much more straight forward simple story, one that was even familiar to me. Simple.. Sweet historical love story. I was wrong... nothing was 'simple'. There was 'love'... but I was reminded ... How complicated love can be. It's been a very long time since I've cried --bawling-- after completing a book. I...
  • Jen
    No doubt about it, Hoffman is a talented author. She's got a unique style and her stories are always so diverse. This one is no different. It is lavishly lyrical in spirits, visions and superstitions. She spins a story that is culturally rich with texture and history. It takes place in St. Thomas in the late 1800's and is split into 3 stories: Rachel, Jacobo and Lyddie. I adored Rachel’s story - her 1st marriage, arranged to a man significantly...
  • Iris P
    WARNING MY REVIEW CONTAINS PLENTY OF SPOILERS!The Marriage of Oppositesop·po·site ˈäpəzət/noun plural noun: oppositesa person or thing that is totally different from or the reverse of someone or something else. "My father had told me that no matter how comfortable we might feel, we must live like fish, unattached to any land. Wherever there was water, we would survive. Some fish could stay in the mud for months, even years, and when at last...
  • Angela M
    A work of historical fiction written by Alice Hoffman was all I needed to know and I was immediately interested in reading this book . I loved the Dovekeepers and while they are very different stories , Hoffman's lyrical writing and story telling had me fully engaged in this family saga. I have to admit that I did not know much at all about the artist , Camille Pissaro, and certainly nothing about his mother or his early life in St. Thomas or lat...
  • Diane S ☔
    Reading about a place I have been is always special. Of course, I wasn't in St. Thomas in the mid nineteenth century but some of the plant life and wildlife remains the same. Hoffman and her new passion for writing about historical characters takes on the mother and her son, Camille, many thought to be the father of impressionism. She also seems to gravitate to strong women and Rachel certainly was that and more. Her ability to bring to life char...
  • Michael
    This family saga about the life of Camille Pissarro’s mother evokes a great sense of place for the West Indies island of St. Thomas as a site of intersection of race, culture, class, and religion in the early 19th century. In the tradition of the line of Hoffman novels I have sampled so far, she excels here in storytelling and character development. It is unusual for her to focus on breathing life into historical figures, achieved with much ima...
  • Jenna
    4.5 StarsI’ve been approved twice for early copies of Alice Hoffman’s books and both times I nearly did cartwheels around my house. I am a fairly new fan of Hoffman’s but what I have read swept me away into new dimensions. I honestly lose my bearings once I open the pages of her books- it’s as if a gentle hand lifts from the pages and guides me into a new and magical world.“The Marriage of Opposites” was no exception. Although it took...
  • Cathrine ☯
    4.5★This is a completely biased and prejudicial review from an avowed Alice Hoffman fan.She describes “purple air smelling of hyacinths”, a blue eyed woman “whose soul was as quiet as snow”, and a dress made from dyes of heron and midnight blues, with pale lilac so flowerlike “that bees rumbled nearby” then sewn from threads "spun in China, carried overland through the desert on the backs of camels and then sailed across the ocean f...
  • Phrynne
    A slight degree of disappointment that this was not as great as the reviews led me to expect! Nevertheless it was an enjoyable read albeit a little slow in parts. Rachel was an interesting main character. She turned out to be quite unlikable but things certainly happened to her. I lost count of how many children she had and also how many of them died. Like many biographies, real and fictional, the story seemed to falter slightly towards the end a...
  • Chrissie
    After 1/3:I am thoroughly enjoying myself! Vibrant colors, island life, folklore and history all rolled into one. Real life characters that draw you in. Physical attraction and love.In conclusion: I totally loved this book. Every aspect of it. Life on the island of St. Thomas (one of the American Virgin Islands) pulled me in and kept a tight grip on me, from the first page to the last, even the epilogue. I was engaged emotionally and intellectual...
  • Karen
    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, while reading it I did not know it was based on a true story.I loved Rachel and the parts of the story centered on her the most.I really enjoyed all the parts that took place on St Thomas, and the mysticism incorporated into this novel.
  • Jennifer
    Awash with as much color and depth as as Pissaro painting, Alice Hoffman's "The Marriage of Opposites" tells the story of three generations of a family living in St. Thomas, including the famous painter Camille Pissaro.With lyrical prose, Hoffman engages readers with multi-dimensional characters and a strong sense of place and time. While this historical fiction story includes a famous person, I loved that the real "star" of the novel is Rachel, ...
  • Jeannie
    4.5 What beautiful writing! This book is about the painter Camille Pissarro, I had never heard of him before. It sent me to google so that I could see the paintings he had done. I highly recommend this book to those who love historical fiction. The writing is almost poetic in parts. I loved it!I have to read more by Alice Hoffman.
  • Alena
    Because I'm not in the habit of reading book blurbs before I start a novel, I was half way through this book before I realized it's fiction based on true historical figures, in this case artist Camille Pissaro and his mother. Since I was already loving the beautiful language and setting of St. Thomas, the historical context only added depth.Another real winner from Alice Hoffman, whose work I love.
  • Connie
    The exotic Caribbean island of St Thomas in the early 1800s is the setting for "The Marriage of Opposites". The story centers on Rachel Pomie Petit Pizzarro, the headstrong and passionate mother of the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro (who changed the spelling of his last name). Her family was part of the Jewish community which formed in St Thomas as Jews fled from the Inquisition. Rachel's father arranged her first marriage, which was more...
  • Dianne
    Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster of an advance reader copy of this book.I am a big Alice Hoffman fan. I loved “The Dovekeepers” and “The Museum of Extraordinary Things,” so I was very excited to be granted early access to “The Marriage of Opposites.” It fits into the Alice Hoffman genre very nicely – historical figures brought to colorful life with just a touch of magical realism.“The Marriage of Opposites” recounts the ...
  • Amber
    This book is a multigenerational saga. We follow Rachel from a girl to a mother and then we follow one of her children, Camille Pissarro, who becomes a famous impressionist painter also from his childhood to his adult years. This story takes place on St. Thomas island in the early 1800’s. There is magical realism weaved all throughout the story, but it never is too overbearing to the realness that this story entails. This family endures many ha...
  • Susan Johnson
    I really wanted to like this book. I loved her " The Dovekeepers" and had high hopes that were not fulfilled. Here was the problem in a nutshell. The main character, Rachel, was the mother of the famed painter Camille Pissarro and one of the most unlikable characters around. She was obnoxious, rude , self-centered and annoying. Frankly, I was ready to give up after 100 pages because I dislike spending so much time with a disagreeable person but I...
  • Sue
    I won a copy of “The Marriage of Opposites” by Alice Hoffman, through the Goodreads Giveaway Contest. I have to admit that this is the first novel I have read by this author, and wasn’t sure what to expect.“The Marriage of Opposites” by Alice Hoffman is the story of Rachel, the mother of Camille Pissarro, an Impressionism/Post-Impressionism painter. Rachel, lived on the island of St. Thomas in the early 1800s. Rachel didn’t follow any...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    (I received a copy of this from the publisher through Edelweiss but this does not alter my review.)Most Alice Hoffman books I have read have been quick reads, rich with magic and relationship stories, more beach reads than deep reads. This was a departure from that trend (while recognizing I have not ready all of her novels) in a historical novel of the mother of Camille Pissarro. I was also excited to read it because it is difficult to find book...
  • Paige P
    The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman combines the factual history of Rachel Monsanto Pomie Petit Pizzarro, a Jewish woman, born in 1795 on the island of St. Thomas. True to Alice Hoffman's style, a hue of magical realism is blended into Rachel's unusual life story. Rachel's first marriage was arranged by her family to a much older man for the purpose of strengthening the family's merchant/shipping business on St. Thomas and to mother his ch...
  • Dana
    Richly layered like a Pissarro painting, The Marriage of Opposites is mesmerizing and hypnotic. I listened to the audio version and decided to download the Kindle version just to SEE the words. I felt as if I'd been transported to another time the entire time I was reading this book. I studied Pissarro's work in college and have always admired his 'revolutionary style', so I found it fascinating to read about his childhood and his mother's story....
  • Emma
    I came to this novel with no idea that it was based on bare bones facts about Camille Pissarro's mother, and Pissarro himself. If anything, I was pleased to discover this once I had finished as it added an extra layer of richness to an already outstanding story. To know that the characters who now feel so real to me were actually real people. They lived and loved. It might have been like this. The book is a wonder of colour. In Rachel's voice, th...
  • MaryannC.Book Fiend
    3.75 Stars. This was a lushly descriptive novel about Rachel, a headstrong young woman who marries an older man she doesn't love only later to fall in love with his nephew. The author did a lovely job of describing the island setting of where Rachel lives. It is a story filled with island superstitions and mysticism, the rich colors of the flowers, the greenness of a lizard darting through the dense foliage of trees. Alice Hoffman writes with an ...
  • Myrna
    Great historical fiction novel of Pissarro and his family. Liked the Caribbean setting, characters, friendships, and I learned a few thing too.
  • Cynthia
    In “The Marriage of Opposites” there’s a blending of the art world and the story of the island St. Thomas. In my opinion St. Thomas is one of the main characters because Hoffman does a great job of bringing her people and the natural environment alive. The Island shapes both a son and his mother. Rachel belongs to one of the few Jewish families who settle on St. Thomas in the 18th century in an attempt to escape persecution in other parts o...
  • Louise
    This is a fictional treatment of the story of Rachel Pomie Pettit Pizzaro, mother of the famed impressionist painter.It has a strong beginning as you get to know Rachel and the St. Thomas social structure. You get to know Rachel as an assertive girl and woman in an age when this was not accepted. You come to understand her dreams and how due to her family’s needs the dreams could not be realized. After one of the tension points is resolved, the...
  • LibraryReads
    “Exquisite…Alice Hoffman’s finest work to date. The Marriage of Opposites is a beautiful love story of a man and woman and a mother and child intricately woven together to capture the author’s true message: Love more, not less.”Marianne Colton, Lockport Public Library, Lockport, NY
  • Erica
    And this is why I love Alice Hoffman.Her writing can grab my entire inner being and wrench it along through time, through space, planting me firmly in her stories, immersing me in the richness of imaginary memories.This is not a story I recommend reading piecemeal. I made that unfortunate mistake, thanks to a resurgence in popularity for this particular title. This is a sweeping story spanning generations and an ocean and should be savored in one...
  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    Alice Hoffman has always charmed me with her writing, she just has a certain touch with people and their emotions. By far, she is one of my favorite writers and I find myself looking for anyone who can write like her- so naturally I greedily grab her latest as soon as I can. This one, while still a touch of magical realsim, is about one woman's strength regardless of where people feel her 'place' should be. Saying Rachael was independent is too w...