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Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite
The Bishop and the Rose: A Family Saga by Victor A. Wilkie is the fictional account of the Bishop family, starting with the patriarch, John Shelby Bishop, and culminating in the life of his grandson, Jefferson Bishop. As the story goes, John Shelby Bishop was kicked out of Virginia for opposing slavery on his family’s plantation. However, undeterred, he begins a new life with his wife, Miranda, who he stole away after his leanings had been revealed in South Carolina. There, they had seven children, six of whom lived to adulthood. Jefferson Bishop was born to Samuel, the wild child of the bunch, after he had successfully courted his wife, Virginia. The story continues through love and tragedy as Jefferson grows up and fights for the Confederacy, all the while seeking to get back to his own bride, Rose.
Beautifully written through prose and letters, The Bishop and the Rose: A Family Saga by Victor A. Wilkie almost tricks you into thinking you’re reading the true story of a family in the 1800s. I was very much drawn in by the characters and I appreciated Mr. Wilkie’s attention to historical detail. As an author who writes during the Civil War era myself, I know it can be tricky to make sense of the battles and movements of the troops. I loved how he focused on a Confederate soldier, even though he had Unionist leanings. It made for a very interesting ethical conundrum for Jefferson. I will certainly be looking for other books by this author. He encapsulated a tumultuous time period in America’s history with impeccable skill and attention to detail. I highly recommend this book to lovers of American historical fiction, especially surrounding the Civil War.