Roses [NOOK Book]

Overview

Spanning the 20th century, the story of Roses takes place in a small East Texas town against the backdrop of the powerful timber and cotton industries, industries controlled by the scions of the town's founding families. Cotton tycoon Mary Toliver and timber magnate Percy Warwick should have married but unwisely did not, and now must deal with the deceit, secrets, and tragedies of their choice and the loss of what might have been--not just for themselves but for their children, and children's children. With ...
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Roses

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Overview

Spanning the 20th century, the story of Roses takes place in a small East Texas town against the backdrop of the powerful timber and cotton industries, industries controlled by the scions of the town's founding families. Cotton tycoon Mary Toliver and timber magnate Percy Warwick should have married but unwisely did not, and now must deal with the deceit, secrets, and tragedies of their choice and the loss of what might have been--not just for themselves but for their children, and children's children. With expert, unabashed, big-canvas storytelling, Roses covers a hundred years, three generations of Texans and the explosive combination of passion for work and longing for love.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This enthralling stunner, a good old-fashioned read, may herald the overdue return of those delicious doorstop epics from such writers as Barbara Taylor Bradford and Colleen McCullough. Meacham's multigenerational family saga, set in East Texas circa 1914–1985, charts the transformation of Mary Toliver, a wide-eyed 16-year-old heiress, into a calculating cotton plantation queen as hardheaded as Scarlett O'Hara. Her brother, Miles, goes off to WWI, returns home, but then goes back to France to marry Marietta, a French Communist, leaving Mary to deal with their plantation, Somerset, and Darla, their alcoholic mother (who later hangs herself ). Many years later, Mary, now an elderly, terminally ill widow, resolves to defeat the “Toliver Curse” and regrets “selling her soul for Somerset” and giving up her true love, Percy Warwick, the father of their secret child, to marry their friend Ollie DuMont, who helped her save Somerset when Percy refused. Meacham uses three well-balanced viewpoints: Mary's, Percy's and Rachel's, Mary's great-niece, who must confront Percy when she discovers some disquieting family information after Mary dies. A refreshingly nostalgic bouquet of family angst, undying love and “if onlys.” (Jan.)
Library Journal
It's been almost 30 years since the heyday of giant epics in the grand tradition of Edna Ferber and Barbara Taylor Bradford, but Meacham's debut might bring them back. This story of two founding families in a small East Texas town spans the 20th century. When Mary Toliver inherits her family's cotton plantation, Somerset, in 1916, it tears apart her family; her mother turns to alcohol, and her brother leaves. Mary's obsession with Somerset even causes her to lose the love of her life, timber magnate Percy Warwick. By the time she's 85, Mary is determined that the family curse will not continue and, despite her grandniece's love of Somerset, plans for the plantation to be sold after her death. Mary Toliver and Percy Warwick can't share anything more than friendship, but Mary's actions might allow Rachel to see past Somerset to the man who loves her. VERDICT Readers who like an old-fashioned saga will devour this sprawling novel of passion and revenge. Highly recommended.—Lesa Holstine, Glendale P.L., AZ
Kirkus Reviews
The Wars of the Roses relocate to America as a struggle between the Toliver and Warwick families, descended respectively from the houses of Lancaster and York. Emigrating to South Carolina in 1670, these proud clans provided a youngest son each to the 1836 Revolution in Texas, where generations of their offspring have been scrapping ever since. It had to happen that one of the Tolivers would start a-smooching with one of the Warwicks, and so Mary Toliver and Percy Warwick find themselves here in bodice-ripping contortions and secret pacts. Do such stories ever end happily? Meacham begins her saga in recent times, when elderly Mary decides to act on long-hidden feelings by tweaking the noses of her assembled heirs, who patiently await their cut of fortune and a big, beautiful estate in the piney woods, part of a genteel town that Mary has pretty well single-handedly put in the pages of Southern Living and Texas Monthly, which "extolled its Greek Revivalist charm, regional cuisine, and clean restrooms." There are worse places on earth, and worse people than the feuding Texans, though as dark secrets go, Mary and Percy's is less dark than most gothic-romance readers are used to. Still, there are plenty of broken hearts (and at least one broken organ). As San Antonio novelist Meacham (Crowning Design, 1984, etc.) writes of one such instance, "He would never lack for her affection, commitment, and respect, but she felt the part of her that had loved and been loved by the only man she could ever care for curl up in some remote, hidden corner of her being like an animal whose time has come to die." Cue the violins and tears, as Meacham's saga winds slowly to a foreseeable but satisfyingconclusion. A suitably long and intermittently engaging descendant of such Southern-fried epics as Gone with the Wind and Giant-just the thing for genre fans with time to spare.
USA Today
"Roses heralded as new Gone with the Wind."
Booklist
"As large, romantic, and American a tale as Texas itself."
People Magazine
Like Gone With the Wind, this 600-page multigenerational epic is as gloriously entertaining as it is vast.
People Magazine (four stars)
"Like Gone With the Wind, this 600-page multigenerational epic is as gloriously entertaining as it is vast."
From the Publisher
"A compelling East Texas saga with echoes of Gone With the Wind."—Publisher's Weekly

"Roses heralded as new Gone with the Wind."
USA Today

"As large, romantic, and American a tale as Texas itself."—Booklist

"It's been almost 30 years since the heyday of giant epics...but Meacham's debut might bring them back. Readers who like an old-fashioned saga will devour this sprawling novel of passion and revenge."—Library Journal

"Like Gone With the Wind, this 600-page multigenerational epic is as gloriously entertaining as it is vast."—People Magazine (four stars)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446558105
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/6/2010
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 8,571
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Leila Meacham

Leila Meacham is a writer and former teacher who lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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First Chapter

Roses


By Meacham, Leila

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2010 Meacham, Leila
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780446550000

PART I

Chapter One

HOWBUTKER, TEXAS, AUGUST 1985

At his desk, Amos Hines turned over the last sheet of the two-page legal document he’d been instructed to read. His mouth had gone dry as wheat chaff, and for a moment he could only blink in dazed disbelief at his client and longtime friend seated before his desk, a woman he had admired—revered—for forty years and had thought he knew. He searched her expression for indications that age had finally affected her faculties, but she stared back with all the clear-eyed acuity for which she was renowned. Working saliva into his mouth, he asked, “Is this codicil for real, Mary? You’ve sold the farms and changed your will?”

Mary Toliver DuMont nodded, the waves of her coiffed white head catching the light from the French windows. “Yes to both, Amos. I know you’re shocked, and this isn’t a nice way to repay all your years of service and devotion, but you’d have been deeply hurt if I’d put this business in the hands of another attorney.”

“Indeed I would have,” he said. “Another attorney would not have tried to talk you into rethinking this codicil—at least the part that can be revised.” There was no rescuing Toliver Farms, Mary’s enormous cotton holdings that she’d sold in secret negotiations the past month, a fact concealed from her great-niece sitting in ignorance out in Lubbock, Texas, as manager of Toliver Farms West.

“There’s nothing to revise, Amos,” Mary said with a trace of asperity. “What’s done is done, and there’s no changing my mind. You’d waste your time and mine by trying.”

“Has Rachel done something to offend you?” he asked evenly, swiveling his chair around to a credenza. He reached for a carafe and noticed his hand shook as he poured two glasses of water. He would have preferred something stronger, but Mary never touched alcohol. “Is that why you sold the farms and amended your will?”

“Oh, good Lord, no,” Mary said, sounding horrified. “You must never believe that. My great-niece has done nothing but be who she is—a Toliver through and through.”

He found beverage napkins and rotated to hand Mary her glass. She’d lost weight, he decided. Her couture suit hung on her somewhat, and her coddled face—still striking at eighty-five—looked thinner. “This business” had taken a toll on her, as it damn well should, he thought, a shaft of anger shooting through him. How could she do this to her great-niece—dispossess her of everything she’d expected to inherit—the land and house of her forebears, her right to live in the town they’d helped to found? He took a long swallow of the water and tried to keep the outrage from his voice when he observed, “You make that sound like a flaw.”

“It is, and I’m correcting it.” She turned up her glass and drank thirstily, patting the napkin to her lips afterward. “That’s the purpose of the codicil. I don’t expect you to have a clue as to what that purpose is, Amos, but Percy will when the time comes. So will Rachel once I’ve explained it.”

“And when do you plan to do that?”

“I’m flying to Lubbock tomorrow in the company plane to meet with her. She doesn’t know I’m coming. I’ll tell her about the sale and the codicil then and hope that my arguments convince her I’ve done what’s best for her.”

Best for her? Amos peered over his glasses at her in incredulous wonder. Mary would have better luck selling celibacy to a sailor. Rachel would never forgive her for what she’d done, of that he was certain. He leaned forward and held her with a determined eye. “How about trying your arguments on me first, Mary? Why would you sell Toliver Farms, which you’ve worked most of your life to build? Why leave Somerset to Percy Warwick, of all people? What use is a cotton plantation to him? Percy is a lumberman, for God’s sake. He’s ninety years old! And bequeathing the Toliver mansion to the Conservation Society is… well, it’s the final slap. You know that Rachel has always regarded that house as her home. She’s planning on spending the rest of her life in it.”

“I know. That’s why I’ve deprived her of it.” She appeared unmoved, sitting ramrod straight with her hand curved over the crook of her anchored cane, looking for all the world like a queen on her throne and the cane her scepter. “I want her to make her own home somewhere else, start over on new ground,” she said. “I don’t want her staying here and living out her life according to the gospel of the Tolivers.”

“But… but I don’t understand.” Amos spread his hands in frustration. “I thought that’s what you’d prepared her for all these years.”

“It was a mistake—a very selfish mistake. Thank God I realized the tragedy of my error before it was too late and had the gumption and… wisdom to correct it.” She waved a dismissive hand. “Save your energy and mine in trying to convince me to explain, Amos. It’s a puzzle, I know, but keep your faith in me. My motives could not be purer.”

Bewildered, he tried another tack. “You haven’t done this out of some misguided notion of what you feel you owe her father, William, have you?”

“Absolutely not!” A spark of temper flashed in her eyes. They were known as the “Toliver eyes”—green as rare emeralds, a feature inherited from her father’s side of the family along with her once black hair and the dimple in the center of her chin. “I’m sure my nephew might see it that way—or rather, that wife of his will,” she said. “To her mind, I’ve done what’s right and proper by giving William what has justly been his all along.” She gave a little snort. “Let Alice Toliver have her illusion that I sold the farms out of guilt over what I owe her husband. I didn’t do any of this for him, but for his daughter. I believe he’ll realize that.” She paused, her finely lined face pensive, doubtful, and added in a less confident tone, “I wish I could be as sure of Rachel….”

“Mary…” Amos strove for his most persuasive timbre. “Rachel’s a swatch from the same cloth as you. Do you think that you would have understood if your father had deprived you of your legacy—the plantation, the house, the town that owes its birth to your family—no matter how justified his reasons?”

Her jaw tightened beneath the slight droop of her jowls. “No, but I wish he had. I wish to God he’d never left me Somerset.”

He gaped at her, truly shocked. “But why? You’ve had a marvelous life—a life that I thought you wished to bequeath to Rachel to perpetuate your family’s heritage. This codicil is so”—he swept the back of his hand over the document—“averse to everything I thought you’d hoped for her—that you led her to believe you wanted for her.”

She slackened in her chair, a proud schooner with the wind suddenly sucked from her sails. She laid the cane across her lap. “Oh, Amos, it’s such a long story, far too long to go into here. Percy will have to explain it all to you someday.”

“Explain what, Mary? What’s there to explain?” And why someday, and why Percy? He would not be put off by a stab of concern for her. The lines about her eyes and mouth had deepened, and her flawless complexion had paled beneath its olive skin tone. Insistently, he leaned farther over the desk. “What story don’t I know, Mary? I’ve read everything ever printed about the Tolivers and Warwicks and DuMonts, not to mention having lived among you for forty years. I’ve been privy to everything affecting each of you since I came to Howbutker. Whatever secrets you may have harbored would have come out. I know you.”

She lowered her lids briefly, fatigue clearly evident in their sepia-tinged folds. When she raised them again, her gaze was soft with affection. “Amos, dear, you came into our lives when our stories were done. You have known us at our best, when all our sad and tragic deeds were behind us and we were living with their consequences. Well, I want to spare Rachel from making the same mistakes I made and suffering the same, inevitable consequences. I don’t intend to leave her under the Toliver curse.”

“The Toliver curse?” Amos blinked in alarm. Such eccentric language was unlike her. He wondered if age had affected her brain. “I never heard of or read anything about a Toliver curse.”

“My point exactly,” she said, giving him her typical smile, a mere lifting of the lips over teeth that remarkably—unlike those of her contemporaries, unlike his—had not yellowed to the hue of old piano keys.

He refused to be dismissed. “Well, what about these consequences?” he demanded. “You owned—or did—a cotton empire stretching across the country. Your husband, Ollie DuMont, possessed one of the finest department stores in Texas, and Percy Warwick’s company has been in the Fortune 500 for decades. What ‘sad and tragic deeds’ led to consequences like those, I’d like to know.”

“You must believe me,” she said, straightening her shoulders. “There is a Toliver curse, and it has affected us all. Percy is well aware of it. Rachel will be, too, when I show her evidence of its indisputable existence.”

“You’ve left her a ton of money,” he pursued, unwilling to give up. “Suppose she buys land somewhere else, builds another Somerset, roots a new dynasty of Tolivers all over again. Wouldn’t this… curse you speak of still hold?”

Her eyes flashed with something indecipherable. Her lip curled with a secret bitterness. “Dynasty implies sons and daughters to pass on the ancestral torch. In that respect, the Tolivers have never been a dynasty, a point you may have missed in your history books.” Her drawl was heavy with irony. “No, the curse won’t hold. Once the umbilical cord is cut to the plantation, the curse will die. No land anywhere else will have the power to extract from us what Somerset has. Rachel will never sell her soul as I have for the sake of family soil.”

“You sold your soul for Somerset?”

“Yes, many times. Rachel has, too. I’m breaking her of that tendency.”

He slumped in defeat. He was beginning to think that indeed he’d missed a few chapters in the history books. He attempted one final argument. “Mary, this codicil represents your last regards to those you love. Think of how its provisions might affect not only Rachel’s memory of you, but also the relationship between her and Percy when he’s in possession of her birthright. Are those the regards by which you wish to be remembered?”

“I’ll risk their misinterpretation,” she said, but her look mellowed. “I know how very fond you are of Rachel and that you think I’ve betrayed her. I haven’t, Amos. I’ve saved her. I wish there were time today to explain what I mean by that, but there simply isn’t. You must trust that I know what I’m doing.”

He laced his hands over the codicil. “I have the rest of the day. Susan has rescheduled my afternoon appointments. I have all the time in the world for you to explain to me what this is all about.”

She reached over the desk and covered the gnarl of his rawboned hands with her slim, blue-veined one. “You may have, my dear, but I do not. I believe now would be a good time for you to read the letter in the other envelope.”

He glanced at the white envelope he’d withdrawn facedown from the one containing the codicil. “Save that one for last to read,” she’d instructed, and suddenly—with a sharp flash of intuition—he understood why. His heartbeat arrested, he turned over the envelope and read the sender’s address. “A medical clinic in Dallas,” he muttered, aware that Mary had turned her head away and was fingering the famed string of pearls around her neck that her husband, Ollie, had presented her, one pearl on each of their wedding anniversaries until the year of his death. There were fifty-two of them now, large as hummingbird eggs, the strand falling perfectly in the collarless opening of her green linen suit. It was on these pearls that he fastened his eyes when he’d finished reading the letter, unable to bring them to her face.

“Metastatic renal cancer,” he croaked, his prominent Adam’s apple jouncing. “And there’s nothing to be done?”

“Oh, the usual,” she said, reaching for her water glass. “Surgery and chemo and radiation. But all that would simply prolong my days, not my life. I decided against treatment.”

Burning grief, like acid, spilled through him. He removed his glasses and squeezed his eyes shut, pinching the bridge of his nose to hold back tears. Mary did not like sloppy displays of emotion. Now he knew what she’d been about in Dallas last month besides arranging for the sale of Toliver Farms. They’d had no idea—not her great-niece or her longest friend, Percy, or Sassie, her housekeeper for over forty years, or her devoted old lawyer… all those who loved her. How like Mary to play her last cards so close to the vest.

He reset his glasses and forced himself to meet her eyes—eyes that still, despite their lined settings, reminded him of the color of spring leaves shimmering through raindrops. “How long?” he asked.

“They give me three more weeks… maybe.”

Losing the battle to his grief, Amos opened a drawer where he kept a supply of clean handkerchiefs. “I’m sorry, Mary,” he said, pressing the voluminous square of white lawn to his eyes, “but too much is coming at me all at once….”

“I know, Amos,” she said, and with surprising nimbleness, she hooked the cane on her chair and came around the desk to him. Gently, she drew his head against her linen front. “This day had to come, you know… when we had to say good-bye. After all, I’m fifteen years your senior….”

He pressed her hand, so thin and fragile-boned. When had it become an old woman’s hand? He remembered when it had been smooth and unblemished. “Do you know that I still remember the first time I saw you?” he said, keeping his eyes tightly closed. “It was in the DuMont Department Store. You came down the stairs in a royal blue dress, and your hair shone like black satin under the chandeliers.”

He could feel her smile above his bald pate. “I remember. You were still in your army serge. By then you’d learned who William was and had come to check on the sort of people who would cause a boy like him to run away from home. I must say you did seem rather dazzled.”

“I was bowled over.”

She kissed the top of his head and released him. “I’ve always been grateful for our friendship, Amos. I want you to know that,” she said, returning to her chair. “I’m not one to emote, as you know, but the day you wandered into our little East Texas community was one of the more fortunate ones of my life.”

Amos honked into his handkerchief. “Thank you, Mary. Now I must ask you, does Percy know about… your condition?”

“Not yet. I’ll tell him and Sassie when I get back from Lubbock. I’ll make my funeral arrangements at that time as well. If I’d planned them earlier, news of my coming demise would be all over town by the time I left the parking lot. Hospice has been engaged to come a week after I return. Until then, I’d like my illness to remain our secret.” She slipped the strap of her handbag over her shoulder. “And now I must be going.”

“No, no!” he protested, vaulting up from his chair. “It’s early yet.”

“No, Amos, it’s late.” She reached behind her neck and unclasped the pearls. “These are for Rachel,” she said, laying the strand on his desk. “I’d like you to give them to her for me. You’ll know the proper time.”

“Why not give them to her yourself when you see her?” he asked, his throat on fire. She seemed diminished without the pearls, her flesh old and exposed. Since Ollie’s death twelve years ago, she was rarely seen without them. She wore them everywhere, with everything.

“She may not accept them after our talk, Amos, and then what would I do with them? They mustn’t be left to the discretion of the docents. You keep them until she’s ready. They are all she will have from me of the life she was expecting.”

He bumped around the desk, his heart thudding. “Let me go with you to Lubbock,” he pleaded. “Let me be with you when you tell her.”

“No, dear friend. Your presence there might make things awkward for the two of you afterward if things go wrong. Rachel must believe you’re impartial. She’ll need you. Whatever happens, either way, she’ll need you.”

“I understand,” he said, his voice cracking. She held out her hand, and he understood that she wished them to express their farewells now. In the days to come, they might not be afforded this opportunity to say good-bye in private. He sandwiched her cool palm between his bony slabs, his eyes filling in spite of his determination to keep this moment on the dignified plane she’d lived all her life. “Good-bye, Mary,” he said.

She took up her cane. “Good-bye, Amos. See after Rachel and Percy for me.”

“You know I will.”

She nodded, and he watched her tap her way to the door, back straining for the regal posture so typically Mary. Opening it, she did not look back but gave him a small wave over her shoulder as she stepped out and closed the door behind her.



Continues...

Excerpted from Roses by Meacham, Leila Copyright © 2010 by Meacham, Leila. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 436 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(227)

4 Star

(92)

3 Star

(52)

2 Star

(37)

1 Star

(28)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 438 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    If I offer you a red rose...

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. Imagine my surprise when I received a 600 paged hardcover with a lovely cover.
    This book surpassed my expectations. I enjoyed the characters, and soaked up the drama. I am forever a fan of family sagas, and this was a good once. I connected with Mary's and Percy's stories more than Rachels. The book just seemed to repeat plot elements over again once it got to the end. Sometimes the pacing would be off, as is the problem with larger books. It would be very detailed in some parts, and it would mention other events in passing.
    Overall, a very enjoyable novel. Entertaining and time-consuming.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A SWEEPING, MULTI-GENERATIONAL SAGA...

    This is a huge book, a grand, sweeping multi-generational family saga, love, loyalty, inheritance, beginning in the 1800's, set in Texas. This is a completely engrossing novel of three powerful families with immense wealth and property, (the original settlers), and are greatly respected in town and that will transport the reader to another world, another place, another time. The secrets of these families are revealed in a convincing manner and there's plenty of suspense along the way. There is Mary Tolliver DuMont, Texas cotton farmer and heir to the Tolliver "curse". The reader is given a brief glimpse into the past and at the family mysteries which will be expanded upon throughout. Mary's family and friends are introduced and the reader learns the significance of red, white, and pink roses in the lives of the characters throughout the generations, hence "ROSES". There are unintended consequences of Mary's inheriting the family cotton farm that carry the storyline through. Percy and Mary, the ill-fated lovers, remain faithful to their respective spouses. Unrequited love is always so powerful! I was captivated by the storyline and the suspense until the last page, and I was never tempted to put the book down and not finish it. Keep tissues handy!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Review of Roses

    I pretty much devoured this book. With that said, there were a few things about it that disappointed me, but overall it was incredibly easy to read, very easy to follow and heart-breaking .. but not heart-warming as I had hoped it be.

    This is meant to be a sweeping story a la to Gone with the Wind about families in Texas and their plantations and businesses. There's broken romance, a secret offered at the start that will keep you reading, and some terribly twisted happenings.

    I loved Mary and Percy and Ollie. I adored these characters and could picture them easily. I loved Mary for her determination, loved Percy for his class and loved Ollie because..well.. he was loveable. A few other characters really spoke to me as well, Wyatt being one. But there were characters I really just did not connect with. I had a hard time feeling anything for Rachel and Matt, as much as I longed to. Instead, I found myself wishing they were both more like Percy and Mary instead of being.. well, annoying.

    The ending left me unsatisfied. Recently I've been stumbling across books that feel like they are just sort of haphazardly thrown together for an ending, as if the author thought, all of the sudden, "oh, I've passed my limit". That was my biggest complaint about this book. I felt as if reading 600ish pages was enough to merit me a more satisfactory ending and not a cop-out. But, alas, that's how it felt to me.

    Not Gone with the Wind caliber by any means, but still an entertaining enough read.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 10, 2010

    Fantastic read

    This is a three generational epic that captures the reader and when the last page is read, "I say, I am sorry I finished the book. I wish there was a volume 2." I recommend this book to all who like reading about love, families, small town life and values. It is exciting, emotional and sad. But worth the read.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved it!

    I grew up in east Texas so I thought I would give this book a try. And the comments that this was similar to Gone with the Wind peaked my interests. The beginning was a little slow and sometimes confusing with so many characters at once, but I kept on ready and I am so glad I did. Once it gets flowing I was hooked. The push and pull relationship between Mary and Percy pulled at my heartstrings and I really felt their struggles. The pain and anger that was in Mary's household was really well told. Like you were there feeling their pain. I related to this book on several levels and with several topics. I will recommend this book to all my friends!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Roses

    This book reminded me of a cross between Gone with the wind and the Thorn Birds. I loved the fact that it was an Epic novel. You don't find too many of those nowadays. I would highly recommend this book. It had a little bit of everything love, war, betrayal and redemption.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 11, 2010

    Great read!

    Just finished this book, only took me 5 days. It was a long read and honestly at times it did drag on especially near the end but it nevered swayed from the main storyline. I loved this book! Its a good love story taking you through 80-90 some odd years of a group of friends that went through war, deaths, and broken hearts. Explains why the main character doesn't end up with the love of her life. At first when looking at the title/cover I thought it was about roses (obviously). It does play an important part in the book but thats not what the main storyline is. Kind of has a Gone with the Wind feel to it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    What a gorgeous book cover!

    This is another book about the South, cotton plantation, a Texas Family saga about sacrifice, pride, secrets, tragedies, alcoholism, suicide, passion, revenge and about what COULD HAVE BEEN. There's a lot of drama and emotional pulls, all to keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. I really enjoyed it! I also reccommend THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN, EXPLOSION IN PARIS and THE GLASS CASTLE.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    One of my all time favorite books--JUST OUTSTANDING!!!!!

    I don't understand how anybody could not like this novel. Yes, it was long, however I found it a very hard book to put down. I absolutely felt like one of the characters...I was transported back into time. Mary made me angry, yet I understood why she felt the way she did. I could feel Percy's pain. I admired Ollie and the life he led. What an outstanding storyline. Many times upon reading a novel, I can imagine how it would play out on the theatrical screen--I feel this one will actually make it to the screen--it reminded me so very much of Gone With the Wind....I laughed and I cried. JUST OUTSTANDING!!!!!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2010

    An Enduring Love...

    In the rich tradition of fictional Southern authors ( Frank, Conroy, Siddons), the reader often can envision a strong sense of pride; a richness in Southern culture; a kind of tenacity of spirit among the characters. Leila Meacham's ROSES conveys a similar message to its reader.

    Meacham's protagonist, Mary Toliver, is spirited, opinionated, but a fiercely loyal Texas plantation owner; a deeply passionate woman. Mary conveys the quandary that many women are faced with, often in their lives : Will I be truly accepted and loved if I remain authentic, in my desires and dreams? More importantly, ROSES is a love story; one that keeps the reader emotionally riveted throughout the book, asking oneself, if the love between Mary Toliver and Percy Warwick will be an enduring love. The other characters in this book are wonderfully likeable, proud Southern business men and women, yet flawed. Maintaining family legacy is a vital component in the book.

    ROSES is a deeply engrossing book, one that a reader could curl up in an easy chair, and get lost in for days!

    Submitted by, ForeverCurious01

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Roses to Leila Meacham!

    As Director of our local Public Library, I preview most books before putting them out for public reading. This novel was not disappointing. At first it seemed a bit formidable with the 600+ pages, but I didn't miss any of them. Often I "skim read" books that lose my interest, but not this one. I had trouble putting it down until I had finished it. Someone had likened it to Gone With The Wind and I agree. It is a Texas Gone With The Wind.
    Five stars on the whole book. I can hardly wait for a sequel, but hope we don't have to wait another five years, such as this took for the author to write.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2010

    A thoroughly enjoyable, engaging read!

    Although this novel is over 500 pages I read it very easily. Ms Meacham engages the reader with her interesting characters. The families at the center of Roses are the Tollivers, the Dumonts and the Warwicks. Mary Tolliver is a grand woman who loves her plantation. Though she is young when her father dies, he leaves the plantatation to her in his will, effectively cutting out her mother and leaving a minor property to her brother. This presents many problems for Mary to overcome, especially since her mother "took to her room" and her brother escaped to Paris. Throughout her life Mary struggles to make the cotton plantation successful.

    Mary has a romantic relationship for which she has high hopes, but because of her love for Somerset (the plantation) she puts all else in second place and is not willing to meet her suitor's demands of giving it up when he makes these demands as part of his proposal. As a result of circumstances that arise, Mary marries another.

    This tale covers three generations of the families who moved from the east and settled in Texas, establishing the town of Howbutker. Ms Meacham develops her characters very well, helping the reader to feel for them and understand their reactions. I read Roses with high interest and enjoyed it immensely. I don't want to say any more about the story line, because I don't want to give too much away. Needless to say, I truly feel it is an outstanding tale. I have recommended it to our book club and would highly recommend it to others.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2010

    Disappointed - Liked the book but didn't love it.

    I read a critic's review before I bought this book and it compared it with Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With The Wind." When I read this I had to have Roses because that's the type of book that's right up my alley. All I can say is I don't think that critic actually read GWTW. There is absolutely no similarity in these two books. Mitchell was a masterful author who developed original characters and plot lines and Roses was basically a cheap beach read at best. Meachem employed every creap trick and cliche in the book. Boy meets girl, they don't see eye to eye, he goes off in a huff, she finds out she's pregnant. He doesn't come back so she marries his best friend. Orignal boy comes to senses and comes back to girl to find she just left for honeymoon day before he arrives back home? Come on Leila darling. And that's only the first part of the book. Cliches abound til the very end. Again, fun beach read, but no masterpiece like GWTW. I think Meachem should focus writing shorter, better crafted stories rather than long predictable ones.

    3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    Best book I've read in a while

    I stumbled upon this book and bought it because of the multi-generational aspect which always gives depth to a book. I fell in love with the story from the very beginning. The plot was presented in an intriguing fashion. The characters were very well developed and the story was presented in a unique fashion. I was very impressed by the author. I kept wondering how she came up with such an interesting story. The constant twists, turns and surprise events kept me enthralled. Every page was interesting. There was no fluff here, no empty, wasted words. For me, this book had everything and I think it could/should be a best seller. There was so much to the story and the characters that the author could have separated it into two books. I have recommended this book to anyone who would listen - that is how much I enjoyed it! I will definately give this book as a gift to many people - no matter the occasion, I am sure it will be well received. Read it!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Family History

    Llia Meacham writes like Barbara Taylor Bradford which is an extreme high complement as it is the type of story she writes
    It is a saga of a family and it gets you from page one it is hard to put down and when you are done you wonder when the sequel will come
    It has love, sadness, secrets and passion and intertwines three different families from the original owners to the great grand children and there lives and secrets that have been kept and ruined families and how tragedy and lies become discovered and how the different families cope with them and how much is given up to keep secrets
    A great first book hope she has a follow up in mind

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved Gone With the Wind? "Roses" is the book for you!

    As a native Texan and a lover of great stories, I was taken with "Roses" from the first chapter, set in the fictional town of Howbutker, Texas in the summer of 1985. The story begins with Leila Meacham's protagonist, Mary Toliver, paying a final visit to her trusted lawyer and family friend to deliver the unexpected news that in the final days of her life, she's decided to redirect her will and the fate of her sweeping cotton empire, passed down from her forbears for generations.

    And so begins this sweeping Texas tale, which takes the reader on an emotional journey that follows three iconic families through three wars, the Great Depression, desperate love affairs, tragic deaths, and the love -- and revenge -- only a family can know.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2010

    Best book ever!!

    I thought that this book was wonderful!! I could not put it down; I read it in 6 days! I would defiantly recommend this book other people and I already have. I really hope there is a sequel or I would love to see this in a movie, I have never been able to not put a book down and this was a first! I loved the setting, the characters, and the plot. PLEASE MAKE A MOVIE OUT OF THIS!!!! :)

    I was also very hesitant to buy the book b/c it was a hardcover and more pricey but it was well worth it because I defiantly plan on reading it again someday!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Good Read

    it has been a while since I have a read a book that I did not want to end due to being wrapped up with the characters lives and their general likability - this book has it - so get it and enjoy your time with them

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Southern True Love Saga

    Incredible tale of several families woven together in a small Texas town. Each character's actions affecting those around them and those that come after them. A must read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Great Read!!

    This book was fantastic!! The whole story was engrossing, I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I felt everything the characters felt. Some of it was a little predictable, but not so much that I wasn't a little surprised.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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