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Written by Timothy Sexton
Brother Juniper is the Spanish friar so committed to his concept of religious belief in the wisdom of God that he spends the entire trying to convince all that the collapse of the Bridge of San Luis Rey was a benevolent act of God. Those five souls who lost their lives as a result of the bridge collapse essentially got what was coming. Ultimately, his book espousing this view is condemned by the Church and Brother Juniper receives his just desserts while tied to a burning stake.
The framework of the book is that a narrator has discovered the book condemned by the Church and has made the attempt to reconstruct the narrative in an effort to learn more about the five victims of the collapse of the bridge.
Pepita is the maid to the Marquesas. She is there when the bridge collapses and falls to her death alongside her employer. It is the letter that Pepita writes and the Marquesas reads that ultimately leads to the Marquesas seeing the how her external ugliness reflects her internal lack of beauty.
Uncle Pio is an actor who one night discovers La Perichole singing in a bar and proceeds to transform her into a great talent. His love for her proves to be his downfall as he watches her marry a viceroy and become far too haughty even for him to take. He and her illegitimate child both perish when the bridge collapses.
Jaime is the illegitimate offspring of La Perichole and the viceroy who falls from the bridge alongside Uncle Pio.
Pride goeth before a fall. Or, in this case, smallpox cometh instead of a fall. La Perichole manages to avoid the ultimate agony of death that result from the bridge collapse, but she perhaps suffers even more from the ravages of the pox which destroys the source of her pride: her great beauty.
The twin brother of Esteban who loves La Perichole, but denies it so that he will not intrude upon his brother’s desires for the same. As death nears, Manuel gives into delirium and makes his confession of his love.
The brother of Manuel who was also raised as foundlings by the Abbess Madre Maria del Pilar. They both fall in love with La Perichole, but with the viceroy standing in the way, neither really has a shot with her. Esteban will be on the bridge when disaster strikes.
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