Monday, July 31, 2017
Review: The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman #HistoricalRomance
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, Fréderick, 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.
When I first started reading this book, admittedly, I thought I was going to hate it. In general, I do not like romance novels, except this was not a romance novel but a Historical Romance Novel. So, I delved in and boy, was I surprised.
Rachel was a truly rebellious woman who at the time, was a dangerous thing. Women had no say in anything nor could own anything. She also seemed to be a superstitious kind of person, which made her that more intriguing. Her friendships were few and she even was married into an arranged marriage but she never gave up her dreams. Eventually, she would give birth to many children including one who would change the world forever with his impressionistic paintings.
The book kept me interested with the weaving of many characters that Rachel new or would come to know. Many secrets were kept throughout the book and only over time, and during Rachel's adult years, would those secrets eventually be revealed. The book was woven quite well!
*slight spoiler* I did find in footnotes from the author that some of the characters personalities mentioned in the book were made up. These people were found in notes and letters but did not mention what their actual roles were or if they were truly someone close to Rachel and her family. That was the only thing that I found to be quite disappointing of a rather great novel.
I will be reading more Historical Romance Novels in the future.
Disclosure: I obtained a copy of this book from my local library. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. Hudson aka Naila Moon
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