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Crescent Blues Book ViewsAtria Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0-671-01421-8
It makes me sad to give one of my favorite authors a less than four crescent review, but I write reviews for readers not authors. This book disappointed me -- with the editing more than the writing. The Mulberry Tree offers a strong plot (mostly because Deveraux rarely fails in that area), but the book managed to confuse me on more than one occasion. In some instances the transitions tangled my comprehension rather than eased me from one plot point to the next. I really hate having to go back and try to figure out what happened.

Book: Jude Deveraux, the mulberry treeIn the beginning, Lillian Manville, wife of a self-made billionaire, did everything possible to please her older husband. He liked her quiet, fat and subservient -- and she stayed that way. He died in a plane crash and left her nothing but $50,000.00 and an old farmhouse. His money and property went to his brother and sister whom he professed to hate, and these siblings plan to take it all, including Lillian's personal property, her clothes and jewelry.

To avoid her in-laws harassment, Lillian loses weight, changes her name and hires a man to renovate the farmhouse. When he moves in, odd and unusual things began to happen, turning the book into a romantic suspense novel that pairs a lot of "pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make things better for women" elements with a confused mystery rooted deep in the past.

Book: Jude Deveraux, an angel for emilyThe Mulberry Tree can be seen as a romance and possibly a coming of age story. But Lillian doesn't quite fit the image of a young girl discovering love, her own self-worth and her ability to order her own life.

Did I like the book? Yes and no. I liked the characters, quirky and otherwise, butů I think every reader will need to come to his or her own conclusions about The Mulberry Tree. Very honestly, I haven't made up my own mind completely.

Patricia Lucas White

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