Genre: Historical Fiction
- How do parents’ lives and decisions impact their children?
- Is it possible to love someone too much?
Opening line: “I always left my window open at night, despite the warnings I’d been given.”
This book follows the life of Rachel Pomie (later Petit and Pizzarro), the mother of Camille Pissarro, a painter famous for his contributions to Impressionism. We meet Rachel as a willful young Jewish woman with a head for business. She lives in Charlotte Amalie, a small town on the island of St. Thomas, although her heritage is Dutch/French, and she dreams of one day going to Paris. Her father insists on educating her, despite her mother’s protests. At 18 she is married to Isaac Petit, a much older man, and becomes the mother to his children. Rachel is surprised to find that she takes to mothering naturally and falls in love with the children, though not their father. She soon has several more children of her own. Isaac is now managing her family’s business, but when he dies she discovers that he’s all but ruined them. She now is a single mother of seven children.Continue Reading