Somerset

( 24 )

Overview

One hundred fifty years of Roses' Tolivers, Warwicks, and DuMonts! We begin in the antebellum South on Plantation Alley in South Carolina, where Silas Toliver, deprived of his inheritance, joins up with his best friend Jeremy Warwick to plan a wagon train expedition to the "black waxy" promise of a new territory called Texas. Slavery, westward expansion, abolition, the Civil War, love, marriage, friendship, tragedy and triumph-all the ingredients (and much more) that made so many love Roses so much-are here in ...

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Somerset

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Overview

One hundred fifty years of Roses' Tolivers, Warwicks, and DuMonts! We begin in the antebellum South on Plantation Alley in South Carolina, where Silas Toliver, deprived of his inheritance, joins up with his best friend Jeremy Warwick to plan a wagon train expedition to the "black waxy" promise of a new territory called Texas. Slavery, westward expansion, abolition, the Civil War, love, marriage, friendship, tragedy and triumph-all the ingredients (and much more) that made so many love Roses so much-are here in abundance.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/16/2013
Bestselling author Meacham is back with a prequel to Roses that stands on its own as a sweeping historical saga, spanning the 19th century. This time Meacham delves into the backstory of the Tolivers and Warwicks before they settled in Howbutker, Tex. The son of a plantation owner in South Carolina, young Silas Toliver has big plans to join his best friend Jeremy Warwick on a wagon train to the new territory of Texas with his true love, Lettie. The only problem is that his father has died and left him with nothing, so he has no funds to pursue his dream—that is, until a neighboring plantation owner, Mr. Carson Wyndham, offers him an unorthodox deal: he’ll fund Toliver’s trip to Texas, and set him up with a plantation there, if Toliver will marry his daughter, Jessica Wyndham. Jessica helped free a slave and could cause scandal for the family if she stays in South Carolina. After much inner turmoil, Toliver agrees. And so begins a tangled love story, and a curse that follows the Toliver family through multiple generations. Rich with American history and pitch-perfect storytelling, fans and new readers alike will find themselves absorbed in the family saga that Meacham has proven—once again—talented in telling. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
Of teary eyes and torn crinoline: an appropriately big Texas saga by homegrown romance maven Meacham (Tumbleweeds, 2012, etc.). The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children. Or maybe the other way around, since this book covers the generations before the Warwicks and Tolivers donned Ralph Lauren, before their Dallas dust-ups in Roses (2010). Meacham's steamy prequel opens in Tidewater country, where young Jessica is pitching a wobbly because--well, because the pressure is on to do right by the paterfamilias and marry well onto some rich plantation, the ethical niceties of human bondage notwithstanding. Quoth she, in language befitting a coarser but more modern version of Gone with the Wind, "I'd rather copulate with a mule than a slave owner." It takes many pages before Miss Jessica bestirs herself for the westward movement and Manifest Destiny, for a vast landscape fussed and feuded over by stalwart Jeremy Warwick and Silas Toliver. Well, you can't settle a frontier or found an empire without breaking eggs, and Meacham's latest is littered with broken shells--most of them broken at just the right moment and not haphazardly, but always with the opportunity for bosoms to heave into view. Meacham writes skillfully, if never stretching the bounds of the historical romance genre; readers expecting a yarn of the Lonesome Dove school will find that they're in Barbara Cartland territory instead. (Miss Jessie, after all, belongs not to the local chapter of the Texas Rangers auxiliary but to a book club.) Still, Meacham writes competently, if without much flair, and her tale delivers what it sets out to do: Namely, it's a historical oater with oodles of emotion, rent hearts, sundered friendships and fierce Comanches. And does Ms. Jessie ever get around to bedding down with an anti-abolitionist? There's the question. Meacham's fans--and she has many--will be glad for this prequel.
From the Publisher
"Roses heralded as new Gone with the Wind."—USA Today (praise for Roses)

"As large, romantic, and American a tale as Texas itself."—Booklist (praise for Roses)

"An enthralling stunner....A compelling saga with echoes of Gone with the
Wind."—Publishers Weekly (praise for Roses)

"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 (praise for Roses)

Booklist (praise for Roses)
"As large, romantic, and American a tale as Texas itself."
USA Today (praise for Roses)
"Roses heralded as new Gone with the Wind."
Library Journal
09/01/2013
In this prequel to Meacham's best-selling debut, Roses, Simon Toliver leaves South Carolina's Plantation Alley and strikes out with friend Jeremy Warwick for a new territory: Texas. With a 100,000-copy first printing; pushed back from November.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455547388
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 20,144
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Leila Meacham

Leila Meacham is a writer and former teacher who lives in San Antonio, Texas. She is the author of the bestselling novels Roses and Tumbleweeds.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Great Read! Enjoy!

    Leila Meacham is a wonderful writer. I was introduced to her first book ROSES by my hubby. It was a valentines gift and one that spread through friends and family. Leila wites about families from the old South! Such a great get away to be able to pick up this book and drift into her world of characters! Read all 3 of her books! You will love them all and await the next!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2014

    This isn't a book you read, this is a book you climb right into

    This isn't a book you read, this is a book you climb right into and live. Meacham is a gifted storyteller and nobody weaves a better family saga in the historical fiction genre.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    Great Family Saga - learn history too!

    Anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction and about generations of families will certainly enjoy Somerset. It takes the entertwined history of two Southern families who blaze the trail to unsettled Texas. Good historical facts, friendship, love, and adventure. I look forward to rereading the sequel Roses. Great for book clubs due to the many different themes that can be discussed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    This book was fantastic...could not put it down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    Excellent family saga

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Leila Meacham has a wonderful way of drawing you in to the family dynamic, with a pace that keeps the book moving. This is a prequel to her last two books. This is a perfect time for anyone who has not discovered her to enjoy this and read them in order. I couldn't put this book down, outstanding.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2014

    Roses is one of my favorite novels, and after reading its preque

    Roses is one of my favorite novels, and after reading its prequel, I can say that Somerset is another.  Both are great escapist novels with realistic, identifiable characters and descriptive portrayals of the land (which is actually a major protagonist itself).  The only bad thing about this book is that it ended too quickly!  I wish all the books I buy could be as good as this one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2014

    Highly recommended

    Another enchanting story by Ms. Meacham. I find myself enmeshed in her stories. Her other wonderful novel "Roses," was superb. I recommend reading both. She writes the kind of multi-generational books that keep the reader wanting more. I will buy any novel that she writes. If you need a great gift "Roses" is an excellent choice

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2014

      Somerset wasn't a bad book by any means. But I was entirely un

      Somerset wasn't a bad book by any means. But I was entirely uninterested the entire time I plowed through this chunky book. It took me over a month to read it. The story never caught my attention, and I squeezed in a few pages here and there until I was able to finish it. The plot is relatively predictable which always makes it harder to get drawn in.  

      I do feel like Leila Meacham is an excellent writer. I loved the way she developed her characters and their dialogue. But I think I would enjoy it if her writing reflected a sense of passion and enthusiasm. It almost felt as if she was just as bored writing Somerset as I was reading it.

    **I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.

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  • Posted July 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite In Somerset, the

    Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite

    In Somerset, the prequel to her New York Times best-selling Roses, Leila Meacham has crafted a sweeping, epic tale as vast and uncompromising as the Texas landscape in which the majority of narrative takes place. The events of Somerset unfold over four generations and six decades with enough twists and turns to delight even the most hard-to-please reader. Two powerful antebellum South Carolina families, the Tolivers and the Warwicks, descended from British nobility, endure lost inheritances, forced marriage, westward expansion, boll weevils, abolitionist activity, war, betrayal, rivalry and countless reversals of fortune in their efforts to put down roots in Texas. As Silas Toliver and his wife Jessica wend their way from a forced marriage to real love and struggle to establish and maintain the novel’s title plantation against inconceivable odds, the reader is drawn into a world rich with real history and cultural references - windows to a fascinating and brutal era that shaped America.

    Leila Meacham writes with a syrupy Southern lilt and a twinkle in the eye of her dialogue. Somerset’s narrative is utterly charming, shamelessly old school and spun to perfection. When combined with the fascinating stream of factual tidbits pertaining to actual history, bygone customs, and social graces, the overall effect is mesmerizing. Actor and teacher Teresa DeBerry conjures four generations of Tolivers, Warwicks and DuMonts with astonishing facility and breath-taking consistency. Her sensitive and crystalline portrayals are rendered with such precision that one can hear the characters age as the book progresses. The audio quality of this Hachette production is superlative in every aspect. The pristine sound quality makes it possible for the listener to descend fully into the world of Somerset. Somerset by Leila Meacham is an enormously entertaining and educational tale of an emerging America with all of its ideals and its growing pains intact. Venturing into the world of the Tolivers and Warwicks may be as close to time travel as we will get in our lifetimes. This is a book eminently worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Great read

    Wonderful book. Highly recommend it along with ROSES.

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    Posted July 18, 2014

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    Posted March 28, 2014

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    Posted March 28, 2014

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    Posted February 13, 2014

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