The Marriage of Opposites

Hoffman, Alice “The Marriage of Opposites”

Set on the tropical island of St. Tropez in the early 1800’s, Rachel dreams of a life in faraway Paris. Rachel’s mother, a pillar of the small community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven Rachel for being such a difficult strong-willed child. In order to save her father’s business Rachel is married off to a rich widower with three children. When her husband dies suddenly his nephew Frederick arrives from Paris to settle the estate. Rachel seizes the opportunity to begin a passionate love affair that starts a scandal that affects her family including her favorite son,  the artist Camille Pissarro, the Father of Impressionism.

Collision: a Novel

Cohen, William S. “Collision: a Novel”

Sean Falcone, former Naval Security Adviser to the president attacks a gunman during a mass shooting at a prominent Washington D.C. law firm, but a second perpetrator escapes with a laptop containing information about an asteroid being mined by an American billionaire and his Russian partner. The incident catapults Falcone into a Washington mystery involving the White House, NASA, corrupt politicians, and an international crime lord that could ultimately destroy mankind.

One Way or Another: a Novel

Adler, Elizabeth. “One Way or Another: a Novel”

Angie Morse is spending a beautiful evening at a party on the deck of a luxury yacht when suddenly she feels a stunning blow to her head and then a push into the water. She can see people on the yacht but they don’t seem to notice that she is gone as the yacht pulls slowly away. Her friends and her lover are onboard as well as two who had reason for getting rid of her. Revenge burns brightly inside her and she knows that she will survive – one way or another.

Slow West

Slow West

This film is a great addition to the western genre but not in the traditional sense of conflict between cultures or survival.  A young man, Jay, is in search of the woman he’s in love with who has fled Scotland to the American west with her father.  On his journey west, Jay meets Silas and realizing he is out of his depth contracts Silas to guide him through this wild and dangerous territory.  Unknown to Jay there is a bounty on his sweetheart and her father, dead or alive, and Silas is after the $2000 reward among other interested parties.  Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee provide excellent performances as well as Ben Mendelsohn who plays an eccentric outlaw.  There are lots of fortunate and misfortunate events that provide humor and further the characters on their journey which is filmed beautifully in an atmospheric landscape.

Woman in Gold

Woman in Gold

Helen Mirren has another perfect performance in this historical drama based on actual events.  Mirren portrays, Maria Altman, a woman in her later life attempting to regain ownership of a famous painting of her aunt, created by world famous artist Gustav Klimt, which was illegally seized from her family by the Nazis during WWII in Austria.  The film has flashbacks to her time as a young child and young adult in Austria and her escape from the Nazis occupation.  A fascinating look at one woman’s personal struggle to revisit her past, with the help and sacrifices of a young attorney, and address the injustice done to her family.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

The classic story by Thomas Hardy is of an independent and headstrong woman, Bathsheba, who has three very different men pursue her.  Carey Mulligan is perfect as Bathsheba giving her all the qualities you expect with passion and strong emotions.  Matthias Schoenaerts along with Tom Sturridge and Michael Sheen portray her various suitors equally well.  The drama is filmed in Dorset England which is the location in Hardy’s story and is the perfect setting for this Victorian tale of relationships and adversity.

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