Another intriguing novel from a fine author. The Marriage of Opposites deals with the life of Rachel Pomie, a member of a small Jewish community on St. Thomas in the early 1800's. A passionate woman, Rachel is constrained by her family and community but, following her heart when she is left a widow, makes a scandalous liason.
The descriptions of St. Thomas are lush and evocative; the tangled relationships between the races are compelling and bittersweet. Rachel's story is made all the more interesting as it is based on fact. Rachel Pomie became Rachel Pizzarro and her favorite son Camille, became Camille Pissarro -- 'the dean of the Impressionist painters,' and as much a rebel as his mother.
The latter part of the book focuses on Camille and his struggles to paint in the face of demands that he enter the family business.
Family relationships and expectations loom large in this story and it's ironic to see how each generation may repeat the mistakes of their parents.
This was a wonderful novel that sent me off in search of more information on Pissarro and St. Thomas and the Sephardim. I love books that expand my horizons like that.