Set in a beautiful setting of St. Thomas in the 1800s Rachel is a different girl for her times. She is in her mother's opinion difficult, stubborn, spoilt by her father and always not wanting to conform. The family is Jewish and does not want to bring attention to themselves. Persecution is never far away and the stories reaching them are horrendous. The family are doing well and want it to continue like that. Adverse business forces Rachel's father to give her in marriage to a widower double her age with three children. The man is kind and Rachel accepts him as this is a business proposition.
Rachel however dreams of Paris and a way to go there seems to be just a dream. Having settled into family life with three children of her own, it may be that life just settles down. But, not for Rachel! the death of her husband and the appearance of the heir - a young man from France sets into motion Rachel's second life. One which is tumultuous, heart breaking and one which breaks all conventions and ostracizes not just Rachel but her entire family.
This was a family saga wonderfully told, beautifully descriptive not just of the location but also of the characters which formed the story. From Rachel's own mother and father to her husband, her friends from birth, the servants all form an integral part of the whole and all contributed to the success of this story.
The book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Simon & Schuster.