The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
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. (alicehoffman.com)
I read The Marriage of Opposites over a week and a half. More and more these days, I find I binge-read. My life gets a bit hectic and whirlwind and I panic that I haven’t read enough lately, so I devour a book… reading for hours at a time.
I found The Marriage of Opposites had peaks and valleys of intrigue. The descriptive language in this novel was incredible. The way that Hoffman illustrated the landscape, culture and personality of the island, I felt as though I had been to St. Thomas. The character Rachel captured my attention from the start, her strong personality and stubbornness was very relatable for me (go figure). I also adored the storytelling of the beautiful friendship between Rachel and Jestine, which from the start alluded to something more.
The majority of the Marriage of Opposites takes place in St. Thomas, in the Caribbean
Without giving too much away, the description of love in this book is what really made me adore it. And not just one type of love. Hoffman hits home with the many different types of loves one can hope to experience in their life. Love for your parents. For your friends. For your children. For your culture. For your beliefs. All the Love, Actually (see what I did there?)
I would recommend The Marriage of Opposites for anyone who feels like they want to be reminded of the beauty in the world that can be found in so many different places. I would recommend it for hopeless romantics. I would recommend it for mothers and daughters. Push through the slower pieces to the heart of the story, where I guarantee you’ll find something to relate to.
“You couldn’t see love, or touch it, or taste it, yet it could destroy you and leave you in the dark, chasing after your own destiny.” – The Marriage of Opposites