Friday, August 7, 2015

Roses - Leila Meacham

Roses by Leila Meacham
Publisher - Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date - 1/6/10
Genre - Southern Fiction
Buy on Amazon

It’s no secret that the bookstore is one of my favorite places to go and hang out. I could walk up and down the aisles for hours just browsing and sipping on a coffee. My favorite place IN the bookstore though? THE BARGAIN TABLE. I love this table more than I can even properly express in words. It is the best place to find amazing reads for, of course, a BARGAIN!

Roses is one of those books that I found on the bargain table. I was immediately drawn to it because on the cover it says “Like Gone With the Wind, as gloriously entertaining as it is vast. ROSES transports.” Now, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but Gone With the Wind is pretty much my most favorite book of ALL TIME. When I saw this reference to it, I was immediately skeptical. How could any other book even come close to the masterpiece that is GWTW. I thought it impossible, so obviously, I had to read it.
I usually save my personal opinions for the end of my posts but this time, I just can’t. This book was AWESOME.

Roses is a Southern Fiction family saga novel at its finest. I love me some Southern Fiction. I like to think that I lived in some big mansion and sipped lemonade on a porch swing in the Southern summer heat in a past life. You never know, right?

This novel takes place deep in the heart of Texas and spans the entire 20th century. It follows the lives of 3 prominent Texas land-owning families – the Tolivers, the Warwicks and the DuMonts. Mary Toliver is a wealthy cotton Tycoon and her story is the heart of this novel. Mary’s story begins at age 85 as the dying widow to Ollie DuMont. She has spent her entire life devoted to her cotton plantation, Somerset. Mary’s niece Rachel expects to inherit Somerset and carry on her Aunt’s legacy. We discover early on that Mary has other plans for Somerset. As she reflects on how her life at Somerset came to be, all of the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place.

Mary and the equally wealthy Percy Warwick have many secrets, including a love story that has been hidden away in their hearts for decades. No one in the family knew of their story, their deceit and lies until after Mary’s death. The novel jumps back and forth between Mary and Rachel’s points of view and we learn all of Somerset’s secrets. Using flashbacks to tell us Mary’s story, we are introduced to the 3 founding families of Howbutker, Texas and all of their struggles, heartaches, mistakes and triumphs that eventually bring us to the present day.

Roses truly took me back in time and every page made me feel like I was right there in Texas and a part of these family’s lives. You laugh with them, cry with them and scream out in frustration as their inevitable ending becomes more and more clear. Meacham’s words build a fascinating world inside your mind as you read. Every time I put the book down, I found that I missed the characters and wanted to go back to their world and their story.

The world was a different place back in the early 20th century and Roses truly captures the essence of humanity and what it meant to live on and run a true Southern plantation. Meacham’s characters capture your heart and take you effortlessly along their journey to discover what it truly means to love and how to live with the consequences of your life decisions.

I honestly can’t believe that Roses is Meacham’s debut historical novel. The story is so complete and so epic, it’s as if this were a well-seasoned author’s tenth novel. If you love historical fiction, and especially time spanning, family saga Southern novels, you will love this book. It is quite long and captures a vast amount of time so you need to be committed. I flew through it in about a week because once I started, I just couldn’t get enough.

I’ve already gone and picked up the prequel to Roses – Somerset – which tells the story of the founding of Howbutker, Texas but was written after Roses. That review to come soon!

PAIR THIS WITH - Vina Rubican Rosado Navarra

This wine comes from the Navarra region of Spain and made with 100% Garnacha grapes. Spanish wines are among my favorites in the world. Even though this is a Rosé wine, it is not sweet. It is fresh and fruity with cherry and berry flavors with a clean finish. And as with all of my picks, it’s super affordable!


  1. Ok so I'm gonna download this tonight!!! This sounds right up my alley, and to get such a raving review from you it must be good! What's next on your list?

    1. Yes you will love it!!! Up next are some books I've received from authors. I've got 5 other reviews already done!

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  2. Loved Somerset, so I am excited to read Roses, even if it is out of sequence as the author wrote them. I had no idea Meacham was a new novelist, her writing is superb.