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Reviewed by Peggy Jo Wipf for Readers' Favorite
J.P. Robinson begins Bride Tree with Pope Clement XIV commissioning twelve-year-old Fabio (aka Alexandre) to a life of deceit and destruction. His mission is to destroy the Bourbon rule of King Louis of France. All this so the Catholic church can step in and rule France. Shunned by the child bride, Marie-Antoinette, Maximilian is determined that she will be the instrument of the king’s destruction. Meanwhile, Philippe de Valence, also twelve, secretly visits a renowned preacher, John Wesley, in disguise and has a spiritual experience that the Catholic church would frown upon. This sets the plot for twenty years later when the characters are in place and the key person, Viviane de Lussan, enters Paris. Her near-death experience allows her to see the turmoil the working class faces as they struggle just to eat, while the queen is uncontrollable in her spending. Salome blames all aristocrats for the death of her brother and unites influential men who wish for a change in government. Will Viviane yield to spying on Queen Marie-Antoinette and whom will this information benefit?
I found Bride Tree by J.P. Robinson to be a fascinating historical story. I will never view France’s history the same way as the author forms an intriguing plot about their lives. The multiple characters give this novel depth and variety from many walks of life. Each person has a unique personality and goal which overlap in the destruction of the king and queen. The treatment of the poorer class is sad, while the upper class is vile and deceptive. Robinson gives a realistic view of what people in this time period would have faced and the need for change when those governing do not have the best interests of the people in mind. An enchanting romance woven with espionage, and a power struggle that will keep any historical fan charmed and mesmerized.