Book Review: Alice Hoffman deftly unites two worlds in the haunting Marriage Of Opposites

Readers of Alice Hoffman’s other novels—including last year’s Museum Of Extraordinary Things and 2011’s The Dovekeepers—will notice plenty of familiar themes in her latest work, The Marriage Of Opposites. There are strong women, persecuted Jews, defiant lovers, and a bit of mysticism, all set against the backdrop of a tumultuous historic period. But Hoffman can be forgiven for dipping in the same well so many times, because she uses those themes so masterfully.

The expansive novel starts in St. Thomas in the early 1800s but eventually spreads to Paris, providing glimpses along the way of Caribbean slave revolts, the U.S. Civil War, the reign of Napoleon III, and the dawn of the Impressionist artistic movement. Most of the action follows Rachel Pomie, part of a community of Sephardic Jews that found relative security in the Dutch colony. Rachel is a sharp-tongued girl constricted by …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *