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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 trag 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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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 trag 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.

30 review for Roses

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    This book and I had a love/hate relationship. At times I felt ready to pull my hair out, and other times I was searching for the nearest tissue. The story was about deciding what is most important in your life, and living with the consequences of those choices. It also showed how our posterity is affected by our actions. Leila Meacham did a great job creating a story that pulls the reader in. Her characters were well developed (although so many of them were selfish, blind idiots-argh, I'm still m This book and I had a love/hate relationship. At times I felt ready to pull my hair out, and other times I was searching for the nearest tissue. The story was about deciding what is most important in your life, and living with the consequences of those choices. It also showed how our posterity is affected by our actions. Leila Meacham did a great job creating a story that pulls the reader in. Her characters were well developed (although so many of them were selfish, blind idiots-argh, I'm still mad at the cycle of idiocy). As a reader, I appreciate names that flow as well as the rest of the story. I hated the name of the town. Howbutker halted my progress each of the times it was mentioned over the 609 pages of the novel. I also really disliked Lucy's crude manner. It did help build up dislike for her character, which I'm sure was the point, but I wish it had been toned down. That and the use of certain profanity. There are other ways for certain points to be made. But, overall, I did enjoy the story. The last section wasn't as captivating for me as the rest of the book, but the ending was pretty satisfying.

  2. 4 out of 5

    tara garcia

    i thought this book was the cause of so many butterflies. and also...so many outbursts! i enjoyed every character, every paragraph, every chapter, ... such a great read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    So my friend called me a book snob and I think she is right! I really tried with this book - I read it all the way through when there were more interesting books calling out my name, but I could not really find anything in it that I liked. A big, sweeping, overly dramatic saga straight out of the Gone With the Wind playbook, Roses is the story of Texas tycoons, plantations, birthrights, love, and secrets. Everything you would expect to find in this genre of book is there, and more. All the charac So my friend called me a book snob and I think she is right! I really tried with this book - I read it all the way through when there were more interesting books calling out my name, but I could not really find anything in it that I liked. A big, sweeping, overly dramatic saga straight out of the Gone With the Wind playbook, Roses is the story of Texas tycoons, plantations, birthrights, love, and secrets. Everything you would expect to find in this genre of book is there, and more. All the characters are cardboard cut-outs, the dialogue is full of cliches, and the story is completely predictable. I folded down a page which had an example of the overblown writing and to my surprise, found that the very same paragraph is on the back cover of the book! Here is a small sample: "No way in tarnation would she sacrifice Somerset for the sake of male pride! But...she loved Percy. He was a thorn in her side she couldn't pull out, no matter how hard she tried."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Helene Jeppesen

    This book was okay, as long as you overlook all of the bad decisions the characters make throughout :) “Roses” has definitely got its share of intrigues, but compared to “Somerset” it felt a little bit too dragging and too convenient to me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Wow, This book was infuriating, It was sheer stubbornness (and my book club) that had me sticking it out to the end. The characters were just not believable. I find it hard to fathom that after Somerset cost Mary the love of her mother and brother, she not only allow it, but encourage it, to cost her the love of her life. That she would then groom her grand-niece to inherit it, only to pull it out from underneath her. The her niece would make all the same mistakes. The only likeable characters w Wow, This book was infuriating, It was sheer stubbornness (and my book club) that had me sticking it out to the end. The characters were just not believable. I find it hard to fathom that after Somerset cost Mary the love of her mother and brother, she not only allow it, but encourage it, to cost her the love of her life. That she would then groom her grand-niece to inherit it, only to pull it out from underneath her. The her niece would make all the same mistakes. The only likeable characters were Percy and Matt, and even they were not credible. Ollie was completely one-dimensional and unbelievable. No one is that saintly and selfless - he was ridiculous. And her mother? Totally over the top, and not in a good way. I can't believe anyone could compare this to Gone with the Wind - comparable to the movie version maybe, but it is nowhere the quality of the book. It is no Gone with the Wind. Not even a Thornbirds. I would compare it to a Harlequin romance. A good editor would have helped too. The conversations were repetitive, and the book did not need to be 600+ pages long. If you like long, epic pointless melodramas with unlikable, unrelatable characters, then this is the book for you.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Arielle

    Leila Meacham's novel centers around two rival farming families, and their offspring and the loves and losses of their offspring. Though the plot is a heartbreaking one, Meacham goes into so much detail that she leaves very little room for the reader to use his or her own imagination. At the same time, she seems to tell the reader how to feel about certain characters and their situations, rather than letting the feelings come naturally. She needs to show the interactions of her characters a bit Leila Meacham's novel centers around two rival farming families, and their offspring and the loves and losses of their offspring. Though the plot is a heartbreaking one, Meacham goes into so much detail that she leaves very little room for the reader to use his or her own imagination. At the same time, she seems to tell the reader how to feel about certain characters and their situations, rather than letting the feelings come naturally. She needs to show the interactions of her characters a bit more, rather than tell. She seems to become so caught up in making sure we know what to think about these characters, that it becomes almost repetitive. It is hard to truly get to know them and their personalities. The storyline is imaginative, yet in a lot of ways it is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet: two landowning, warring families of influence and power, whose offspring fall for one another. Yet, the love for their respective homesteads keeps them apart; a tragic decision, amongst many others, which each will regret for the rest of their lives. The book opens with Mary Toliver selling her beloved plantation, and digresses back to years before, as she remembers the mistakes she has made over the course of her waning life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach

    Let me start off by saying I love Gone With the Wind. It's my favorite book, I've read it countless times, and it was the book that really ignited my love of reading. That being said, I was pretty hesitant to read a book that was being hailed as the "new Gone With the Wind." I put it out there to my fellow bookworms and everyone said it was great, so I decided to give it a shot... and that cover, gorgeous right?? I actually really ended up liking the book. It started to drag a little towards the Let me start off by saying I love Gone With the Wind. It's my favorite book, I've read it countless times, and it was the book that really ignited my love of reading. That being said, I was pretty hesitant to read a book that was being hailed as the "new Gone With the Wind." I put it out there to my fellow bookworms and everyone said it was great, so I decided to give it a shot... and that cover, gorgeous right?? I actually really ended up liking the book. It started to drag a little towards the end, but I'm really glad I gave it a chance. I liked how the story spanned over different generations, I liked the characters, overall I really enjoyed the book. Here's my complaint though... it shouldn't have tried to mirror GWTW so much! The main character is a strong woman with black hair, green eyes, a dimple, who is obsessed with her family land over everything else. SOUND FAMILIAR?! Man alive, couldn't she have at least looked different than Scarlett?? Still a solid 4 stars, but c'mon

  8. 5 out of 5

    Abish

    I really liked this book. There were only a few similarities to Gone with the Wind, such as, the main character lives on a cotton farm and has black hair and green eyes. That's pretty much it. The book is divided into three parts telling the stories of three different characters, Mary, Percy and Rachel. After Mary's father dies leaving her the family cotton plantation and almost nothing to her mother and brother, her family is torn apart by resentment. Her father knew that if he left the plantati I really liked this book. There were only a few similarities to Gone with the Wind, such as, the main character lives on a cotton farm and has black hair and green eyes. That's pretty much it. The book is divided into three parts telling the stories of three different characters, Mary, Percy and Rachel. After Mary's father dies leaving her the family cotton plantation and almost nothing to her mother and brother, her family is torn apart by resentment. Her father knew that if he left the plantation that had been in the family for over a century to his wife or son, it would be sold. Since Mary refused to go against her father's wishes, her mother and brother hated and resented her for it. Mary falls in love with her brother's friend Percy but due to crazy circumstances, ends up marrying their other friend Ollie. I won't say what happened since I don't want to give the story away. The theme of the book basically tells about the family obsession with their land and the willingness to give up everything else in life in order to keep it. Because of this, the family has been cursed for over a century. Rachel is Mary's great niece who has been raised to take over the family plantation. In the first chapter of the book, you find out that Mary decides at the last minute to change her will and not leave it to Rachel in order to spare her from the family curse. Before Mary can relate the reasons why she did it, she dies. Throughout the book you find out what happened to Mary, what the family curse is, and the aftermath of Mary's death as Rachel and her family find out that she doesn't inherit the plantation.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Misfit

    Three families migrated west to eastern Texas and founded the small town of Howbutker (“how about here” they said) - the Tolivers (descended from the Lancasters), the Warwicks (descended from the House of York) as well as the DuMonts of French descent. Friends for generations, most disagreements were settled by the offering of a red rose to offer apology and a white to acknowledge forgiveness. As the story begins, Mary Toliver Dumont has only weeks to live and reflects back on her life and how i Three families migrated west to eastern Texas and founded the small town of Howbutker (“how about here” they said) - the Tolivers (descended from the Lancasters), the Warwicks (descended from the House of York) as well as the DuMonts of French descent. Friends for generations, most disagreements were settled by the offering of a red rose to offer apology and a white to acknowledge forgiveness. As the story begins, Mary Toliver Dumont has only weeks to live and reflects back on her life and how it was irrevocably changed when her father left their cotton farm, Somerset, to a very young Mary instead of her mother and brother. Mary loves the farm with the same passion her father had - but is there room in her life for both Somerset and the devilishly handsome Percy Warwick? Misunderstandings are front and center and the worst one of all comes when Mary is left between a rock and a hard place forcing her to a decision that will have ramifications on all three families for several generations to come. The secrets continue after Mary's death (no spoilers here, we know this will happen in the first few chapters) as an unexpected codicil to Mary’s will sends her great-niece Rachel spiraling in shock and anger that only increases when she finds the secret that Mary has kept all these years. Now hell-bent for revenge against the Warwicks, Rachel is willing to risk it all even though it could cost her the only man she will ever love and her last chance at happiness. I liked this book a lot and had a hard time putting it down, and blew through it in two days. Yes it’s big, it’s sprawling (sometimes it sprawls too much) and very soap opera-ish, but I love those kind of books. I didn’t connect as much with Rachel’s story as I did with Mary and Percy (sigh…..what a man) and I felt the last third of the book suffered a bit because of that. My only other quibble and it’s probably just me, but when I heard the “Wars of the Roses” connections of the families I was hoping for a good parallel between the two as Susan Howatch has done with the Plantagenets in Cashelmara and Penmarric. That book would have rocked my socks off. As it is, it’s a very enjoyable and very readable novel. Four stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    RNOCEAN

    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 ma 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. *****Rate this 5/5. I loved this book and even though it was over 600 pages, I found it very difficult to put down. The generational theme of love and extreme loss was mesmerizing. I loved the characters, the rich setting in Texas, the whole theme of the book. I will be looking for other books by this author.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I would compare this family saga to Gone with the Wind only on a smaller scale!!! I was totally entrenched in the first 3/4s of the book... nearing the end I started feeling a lil disappointment!!! I found myself missing Mary's voice in the story... If not for that it would've gotten a strong 5 star rating from me!!! Still highly recommend!!! I would compare this family saga to Gone with the Wind only on a smaller scale!!! I was totally entrenched in the first 3/4s of the book... nearing the end I started feeling a lil disappointment!!! I found myself missing Mary's voice in the story... If not for that it would've gotten a strong 5 star rating from me!!! Still highly recommend!!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I fear this one is probably a 2 1/2, rather than a 3 star. I wanted to like it; the family stories sounded interesting and the beginning (Mary changing her will) hooked me. But, and it's a big "but", I just couldn't believe in the characters. Maybe my prejudice of the idea of "the land" goes back to the disillusioning classic, The Good Earth, but I had a hard time buying the idea that this land meant more to Mary (and then Rachel) than anything. It was said often enough, but this trait was defin I fear this one is probably a 2 1/2, rather than a 3 star. I wanted to like it; the family stories sounded interesting and the beginning (Mary changing her will) hooked me. But, and it's a big "but", I just couldn't believe in the characters. Maybe my prejudice of the idea of "the land" goes back to the disillusioning classic, The Good Earth, but I had a hard time buying the idea that this land meant more to Mary (and then Rachel) than anything. It was said often enough, but this trait was definitely more of the telling variety than of the showing. I wanted them to stop telling me how much the land was important to them! Getting past the whole Mary issue, the other characters seemed to be more of a set piece. Only Percy was three dimensional. The character of Ollie was way too good to be true, and Lucy, Alice, and Darla were practically the same person, just different generations. Finally, my last pet peeve was that people died at rather convenient times as far as the plot was concerned. It's a 3 because I made it to the end.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dzenana Brkic

    A great book about love, forgiveness, and the importance of your decisions and how they impact your life and lives of people you care about. Well-written, with great feature of switching between the past and the present that doesn't let you put it down till you finish. And I love these type of books! A big recommendation from me to everyone! A great book about love, forgiveness, and the importance of your decisions and how they impact your life and lives of people you care about. Well-written, with great feature of switching between the past and the present that doesn't let you put it down till you finish. And I love these type of books! A big recommendation from me to everyone!

  14. 4 out of 5

    AmyFlo

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. While this book was epic and more enjoyable than Tumbleweeds, it, too suffered from being way too long. By the last four discs, I was just impatient for the story to end. Mary and Percy were interesting enough, but I was annoyed by everyone's (including Mary's) unhappiness with the passion Mary had with Somerset. Who cares if she loved it? Who cares if she wanted to run herself into the ground with it? If it's what she loved, then others should have been happy for her. Well, Ollie was happy to le While this book was epic and more enjoyable than Tumbleweeds, it, too suffered from being way too long. By the last four discs, I was just impatient for the story to end. Mary and Percy were interesting enough, but I was annoyed by everyone's (including Mary's) unhappiness with the passion Mary had with Somerset. Who cares if she loved it? Who cares if she wanted to run herself into the ground with it? If it's what she loved, then others should have been happy for her. Well, Ollie was happy to let her be her, but he was so one dimensional, he hardly counted as a character. I didn't like that the author kept saying over and over again that Mary couldn't have both. She couldn't have Percy and Somerset. That Percy didn't want to be second best in Mary's affection made him unworthy of her in the first place. Of course they only realized what they wanted when it was too late. And of course, only too late by a day. Such is the plot of melodrama. I wasn't sure which other one dimensional character I wanted to smack the hardest: self-absorbed, spoiled, pathetic.. oh, what was her name? Mary's mother, or the joke of a character in Lucy (so, she barely meets Percy and loves him despite the fact he barely acknowledges her? get some self-respect), or hypocritical Alice, who praised her husband's efforts to not let Mary define him yet forced her daughter to be something she's not only because she (Alice) felt left out? And what was the point of William, Alice's, and (what was her brother's name?) deaths? It came out of nowhere, and seemed completely pointless. It felt like the author didn't know what to do with them after the reading of Mary's will and then Rachel's threatening lawsuit, so she just got rid of them. Lazy writing. Finally, Rachel "suffered" from the same love of Somerset (or obsession as everyone else seemed to call it) and she's forced to give up her entire dream and love of farming when she married Matt. Well, we assume she's going to marry Matt since they're such precious soul mates. So, she can only farm on Toliver land? What made her fall in love with farming in the first place? Nothing to do with Somerset at all, but a shoot in the ground in her own home. Is the moral of the story this: a woman cannot have her dream if she wants to have the passionate love of her life? No thanks. If someone really loves someone, he'll find a way for her to have both.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I won this book as a giveaway - and I was impressed when I received it; beautiful cover, nice solid hardback book. I was even more impressed when I started reading it. It's got a fair resemblance to Gone With the Wind - I've never read the book but I've seen the movie and Mary is just about as close to Scarlett O'Hara as they come - her obsession with Somerset (the cotton plantation) being the same driving force. This "Scarlett" though is a much more likeable person - driven, yes, but still lovin I won this book as a giveaway - and I was impressed when I received it; beautiful cover, nice solid hardback book. I was even more impressed when I started reading it. It's got a fair resemblance to Gone With the Wind - I've never read the book but I've seen the movie and Mary is just about as close to Scarlett O'Hara as they come - her obsession with Somerset (the cotton plantation) being the same driving force. This "Scarlett" though is a much more likeable person - driven, yes, but still loving, giving, and emotionally vested in others. Roses delves through three generations of families - the DuMonts, the Warwicks, and the Tolivers. DuMonts sell retail/dry goods, Warwicks sell lumber, and the Tolivers are a slave to their cotton. The whole storyline centers on the love affair between Percy Warwick and Mary Toliver - and like Scarlett O'Hara Mary is to stubborn to see what is right in front of her face. If I were to give this book a theme it would be regret - and I often wished through the book for things to come right, for relationships to work out, misunderstandings be forgiven and put past. But Roses paints human emotion with a realistic hand, which I liked. Many times I will read a book and wish that something was different, or the ending were changed, all the while knowing that it would change the character of the book and I wouldn't be as stirred by it. I would enthusiastically recommend this book (I finished it and immediately gave it to a friend to read) and I can't wait to see what Meacham turns out next. Bravo!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    My husband said I needed to start this review with the statement, "Don't judge a book by its beautiful cover." That after hearing me moan and groan about its length and cheesiness. Actually, the concept is nice, 3 families (Tolivers, Dumonts and Warwicks)settle in a corner of East Texas. The Tolivers bring a tradition from England of giving a red rose to ask for forgiveness and a white rose to offer forgiveness. This tradition gets plenty of use throughout the book. Its also the story of how the My husband said I needed to start this review with the statement, "Don't judge a book by its beautiful cover." That after hearing me moan and groan about its length and cheesiness. Actually, the concept is nice, 3 families (Tolivers, Dumonts and Warwicks)settle in a corner of East Texas. The Tolivers bring a tradition from England of giving a red rose to ask for forgiveness and a white rose to offer forgiveness. This tradition gets plenty of use throughout the book. Its also the story of how the Tolivers obsession with their home, Somerset, and land creates a "curse" on their family and hurts the other families in the process. There is a nice story to be had, but IMO this author is not the one to write it. It is overly predictable, a little suspense would have done wonders to the plot. I hate using the word cheesy, but it is the word that kept coming to my mind as I read it, so I guess it is the one I'll have to use to describe some of the melodrama. I hate knocking a book, but short of the shell of a good story and the beautiful cover, there is little to recommend this one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Noeleen

    Although this is a long read I really enjoyed every part of it. It's very well written with good characters and a good story line. It's the type of book that you just get caught up in the story, a story of choices, repercussions of those choices, obsession with land ownership, family secrets mixed with tragedies along the way and just enough twists and turns throughout Although this is a long read I really enjoyed every part of it. It's very well written with good characters and a good story line. It's the type of book that you just get caught up in the story, a story of choices, repercussions of those choices, obsession with land ownership, family secrets mixed with tragedies along the way and just enough twists and turns throughout

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kamryn Koble

    Is there a loftier goal for a book than being compared to Gone With the Wind right on the front cover? That is a tall, tall order for anything, and sets the reader up for disappointment if this book doesn't match right up to Mitchell's timeless and immaculately executed story. Roses was good. But perhaps its biggest detriment was attempting to compare itself to one of the most iconic books ever written in the United States. Covering the story of three families over three generations in East Texas Is there a loftier goal for a book than being compared to Gone With the Wind right on the front cover? That is a tall, tall order for anything, and sets the reader up for disappointment if this book doesn't match right up to Mitchell's timeless and immaculately executed story. Roses was good. But perhaps its biggest detriment was attempting to compare itself to one of the most iconic books ever written in the United States. Covering the story of three families over three generations in East Texas, Roses by Leila Meacham is written in a cozy and nostalgic style, themes of loss, choice, and forgiveness retold time and time again. I also have to mention that this is the single solitary book where a specific idea said in dialogue has haunted my mind constantly - "I want to be loved because of my flaws, not in spite of them." I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a patient reader. I can't indulge authors for paragraphs of frothy descriptions and pages just detailing everyday life for no other purpose than to be there. This book was hard for me, as I sailed through three hundred pages in one sitting for a part of it, and then for others it dragged and I found myself skimming shamelessly. I can't call it captivating with how much I wanted to breeze through, but I can't call it boring when I was glued to the page in other parts. The way the plot was organized almost makes me wish it was an ARC copy, because the idea is wonderful and the writing truly is good; however, some cutting down still needs done. One of my favorite hobbies is reading negative reviews for books I enjoyed, and I saw many complaints of cheesey/cliche dialogue and characters. Maybe I just read historical fiction too much, but I did not see this as a problem. The characters seemed infuriating time and time again (I'm looking at you, Mary), but they were consistent and fleshed-out. Others complained of them being predictable - they seemed like real people to me. The motifs over generations made it drag a bit as we saw mistakes being made over and over again, but it seemed like something real regardless if it didn't make for action-packed, exciting reading. The families were families that very well could have existed over the span of the twentieth century. Ah, and she used a tactic that can be quite dangerous. Roses begins with the story of the "main" character as an old woman before going back to her youth, so we immediately know everything that works out and everything that doesn't. It cheapens the relationships and the struggles, as there's no suspense for the reader; although, it almost makes it more tragic to see all the trauma only to know it's all for nothing in the end. And can I say that all the classic names were a little difficult? I don't know how many Williams and Matthews and Johns we could endure, but the teenage boys put me through a wringer. I couldn't keep track of anyone, or who in the world their parents and cousins and siblings and aunts and uncles were, in marriage or out of it. Not to mention that if any book needs family trees in the beginning, it's this one. This book is confusing. You can't doze off or you'll miss a guy with an unremarkable name and all of a sudden, nothing makes sense and you have to backtrack across this huge book. All in all, I still give this a four stars because it was good. Seems redundant, but after all my complaints I feel like it needs to be said. The writing style was wonderful, it was obviously a project that took the author quite some thought and time, and my eyes were definitely welling up a few times as I read. If you like expansive, domestic-feeling historical fiction/romance, this is the book for you.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Really enjoyed this old-fashioned saga spanning three generations complete with timber magnate Percy Warwick and cotton tycoon Mary Toliver. Their love story, the relevance of the red, white and pink roses, the CURSE on the land and a few shocking developments make for a complicated, but interesting novel.A quote I really liked in the book: "Someday, someone will give a war and nobody will come." Really enjoyed this old-fashioned saga spanning three generations complete with timber magnate Percy Warwick and cotton tycoon Mary Toliver. Their love story, the relevance of the red, white and pink roses, the CURSE on the land and a few shocking developments make for a complicated, but interesting novel.A quote I really liked in the book: "Someday, someone will give a war and nobody will come."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    Roses By Leila Meacham When receiving a red rose the receiver will know the sender means to apologize for his or actions in life or in business. If the recipient of the red raised wishes to grant forgiveness and accept the apology he or she will send white rose. Such is the basis for this upcoming novel by Leila Meacham which expands many generations and more than one century to tell. Mary Tolliver DuMont has little time left and is determined to set the record straight before her death. Living Roses By Leila Meacham When receiving a red rose the receiver will know the sender means to apologize for his or actions in life or in business. If the recipient of the red raised wishes to grant forgiveness and accept the apology he or she will send white rose. Such is the basis for this upcoming novel by Leila Meacham which expands many generations and more than one century to tell. Mary Tolliver DuMont has little time left and is determined to set the record straight before her death. Living her entire life and devoting it to her cotton plantation she has decided to make sure that her niece Rachel does not fall prey to same life she was forced to live. The Tolliver Curse as she states is something that she wants her niece never to experience and in creating a special codicil to her will she makes sure that her niece will have to embark on a life much different from hers and no longer live in the Tolliver Mansion. But, Mary finds out that her brother Miles is the executor of the will and will preside over the funds and the administrative part of the plantation until she is 21 years of age. Thereby, making her life miserable by sending her to boarding school until he and his mother can come to grips with the will and its contents. Her mother Darla become a recluse and feels shunned by what her father wrote in the will and does not want to be taken care of by her daughter. Pretending to snap out of her depression, Darla plans a special surprise birthday party for Mary and knits a special gift for her. Knowing hidden meaning behind the red rose and the white, she creates a present of a bedcover all in pink along with pink ribbon strips. The meaning behind that is evident and the tragedy to follow only proves that she was not to be trusted and wanted to cast blame on Mary for her life and for what her father wrote in his will that caused her to cease wanting to live. There begins the story of Mary and how her life became intertwined on the plantation and how she became consumed with its success, as did her father and why she decided to prevent that from happening to her niece Rachel. Mary Tolliver and Percy Warwick were meant to be together. The terms of her agreeing to ever marry him were stiff. She would never give up her life on Somerset nor would she ever agree to grow anything but cotton. Percy, a lumberman realizing that she would never change agreed to her demands but insisted she agree that if her plantation went under she would not ask him to bail her out. Land, soil, something that you can cultivate and plant on or build on. Land, something that should not be all consuming that it engulfs you and sinks its teeth into you so deeply that you cannot live without its bounty and the fruits that it yields. Then, the unthinkable happens and Mary realizes that she is about to lose Somerset due to an over abundance of rain, hail and bad weather which not only ruined her crop but that of many others too. Going to ask Percy to cosign a loan for her, and going back on their agreement was the beginning of the end. Knowing that she promised to be his wife and succeed own her and not ask him to bail her out for any reason, it was difficult for her to ask this one request. This request would change both of their lives and destinies forever. Percy’s story: After getting close with Percy, she realized that she was having his child and needed to do something fast in order to protect not only herself but the child too. Marrying his best friend Ollie and pretending that the child was his, would be one more secret that she hoped Percy would never find out. But secrets have a way of sneaking through just when you least expect them to reveal themselves. But, outcomes are not always what you want them to be. After years of marriage to Ollie, Mary has to make another decision that would lead to more lies, more resentment and family closest to her never finding out the true reasons behind them. Her family gone, losing her son to a dreaded illness, Percy’s son hating her and his father for their feelings for her son Matthew and soon finding out the truth, the web of deception grows like spider whose web of deceit is never ending and always expanding. When Mary succumbs to a heart attack and her family is called to hear the reading of her will and the codicil added to it, no one believes what is written and no one understands why she took away Somerset and the land she loved from her niece Rachel who should have rightfully inherited it all. However, splitting it three ways among Rachel, her brother and her father William, Mary’s brother’s son, their family is shocked but William’s wife Alice is finally satisfied. But, its not over yet and more lies are about to come out and more lives are going to be destroyed because the rest, what Vernon Tolliver wrote in his final will is going to be revealed and Rachel, the only one left will have to decide her fate and that of others. Thinking that Percy, the one person who Mary gave up her life for and did not marry because he did not understand her need to cultivate and live her life on Somerset, Rachel was about the make the same mistake by not trying to make a life with his grandson Matt. Matt was not about to give up and went back to her hometown to find her and learn what really happened in Howbutker, Texas to change Rachel’s life and how she felt about him and his family. Finding out the truth: Rachel’s decision Rachel finds out the truth behind the small piece of land originally left to her Uncle Miles and who owns it but not why. All is finally revealed and she has a major decision to make which could not only ruin the lives of the people where she grew up, but the lives of the Warwick’s too. Finding out the transfer or sale of the land was fraudulent, she has a major decision to make, but not before Percy’s estranged wife Lucy comes to see her hoping to change her mind. What will she decide? What does happen to that land beyond the Sabine that belonged to her Uncle Miles? What is the curse of the Toliver family that caused Mary to want Somerset out of Rachel’s hands, you have to read this novel to find out. Is there a happy ending for Matt and Rachel only time will tell. But, on thing is for sure, there are many red and white roses that need to be given to those that need forgiveness asked of them and those who will bestow that forgiveness in the end. They were a fraternity of three as the author puts it: Miles Toliver, Percy Warwick and Ollie DuMont. Inseparable from birth and friends forever. But it did not start or end there, it started with three other men: Henri DuMont, who owned a dry goods store, Silas William Tolliver, who owned a cotton plantation and Jeremy Warwick who cut and sold lumber. There men all in different business and all who had their own on business in the same town. Silas called his plantation Somerset. These three men held the reins of leadership and needed a way to make sure they would get along. Knowing the history behind the War of the Roses in England and the part their families played in it they decided to use these roses and the colors to show their unity. Red roses or giving a red rose would mean you are asking for forgiveness. White given in return would be given in return to say that all is forgiven. Of course, pink would be the unthinkable. So many lives that were affected and destroyed. Lies and secrets that finally changed the destiny of so many people and those they loved dearly. One woman who made a decision that affected so many. Was she right? Should Mary have allowed Rachel to decide her own destiny? What was this Toliver family curse and would Rachel have been victim to it? Perhaps our author will write a sequel and let the reader know. For this story has many who must atone for their mistakes and although they are not here to ask forgiveness perhaps this reviewer can: Mary, Oliver, Percy, Lucy, Matt, and Rachel: I leave each of your five red roses and five white ones. One of each to keep for yourself asking your own forgiveness for your mistakes, and one white to forgive yourself for that mistake and more. You decide who gets the rest. As for the author: I bestow upon her FIVE YELLOW ROSES for bringing this sunshine into our lives with this amazing and insightful novel which is more than an love gone wrong, but it teaches us legacies are often just that, myths, stories and more and our destinies should not be foretold on them. One more thing: forgiveness powerful and we need to learn to forgive others or there will be even more hate and wars in the world.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I really wanted to like this book. In reality, it belongs to a genre that read frequently and I enjoy a lot. What went wrong then? How can you give up at 47% of an audiobook from one type of book that you like so much? The frank and simple answer is that I gave up because of the characters in this novel. The characters seemed unreliable and unlikable. Overall, we are introduced to selfish, self-centered, with little empathetic capacity and with a very limited view of life characters. Mary is obses I really wanted to like this book. In reality, it belongs to a genre that read frequently and I enjoy a lot. What went wrong then? How can you give up at 47% of an audiobook from one type of book that you like so much? The frank and simple answer is that I gave up because of the characters in this novel. The characters seemed unreliable and unlikable. Overall, we are introduced to selfish, self-centered, with little empathetic capacity and with a very limited view of life characters. Mary is obsessed with the cotton plantation she gain in her father’s will. It would be interesting to follow this obsession, but it isn’t understandable her insistence in obtaining her family’s acceptance when this earth destroys all existing family ties. It is unimaginable to me that Mary didn’t question her motives when her mother commits suicide and points her as guilty. This is a woman who lives only for the plantation! "I am Somerset" - I hear her say. And I feel like punching her. There is no self-criticism. There is simply a thought (unintelligible) that this plantation is the most important thing. More important than her mother, her brother, the man she loves ... she just destroys all her significant relationships because of this thought. Percy, the love interest, could be great was not the detail, that as a character, he serves to remind career women, that the reason for the existence of a woman is to be beautiful and to have children. And yes, he tries to make some compromises with Mary, but he has always this underlying idea. The other characters are either perfectly irrelevant or exaggerated. The characters in this book are very important, because the author major focus is in the romance. Although this book is a family saga, the truth is that is not given any importance to the historical events that occur. Only in that affect plantation or turbulent romance, are the historical events talked about. Therefore, I am not available to listen to more 9 hours of an audiobook with characters I don’t appreciate.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    While walking through a used book store, an elderly woman approached me and asked, "Young lady, would you like to read a GOOD book?" I, of course, said yes! She handed me Roses by Leila Meacham. If i'm being honest, the old lady-esque cover was giving me second thoughts and the book description made the book sound like another dime a dozen love story. Not necessarily bad, just a pass the time type story. However, I couldn't shake my curiosity when it came to this grandmother's fervent reccomenda While walking through a used book store, an elderly woman approached me and asked, "Young lady, would you like to read a GOOD book?" I, of course, said yes! She handed me Roses by Leila Meacham. If i'm being honest, the old lady-esque cover was giving me second thoughts and the book description made the book sound like another dime a dozen love story. Not necessarily bad, just a pass the time type story. However, I couldn't shake my curiosity when it came to this grandmother's fervent reccomendation and huge smile. "I'm telling you, this is a good book," she said, "A REALLY good book. I just know you are going to love this book." So I decided to pay my $3 and thanked the kind lady for her reccomendation. She replied, "You don't have to thank me, you can thank the author." I am glad that my path crossed with this little old lady because as she said, Roses is a good book! The book has much more substance to the story than expected. There are many unexpected plot twists that kept me intrigued throughout the entire book. So I feel that I can only end this reccomendation with a few words to the author. Thank you Leila Meacham!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bren

    “A small part of the South not yet gone with the wind.” ― Leila Meacham, Roses I completely forgot to rate this book even though I read it, not recently but about six or seven years ago at least. What is really funny is that the book takes place in Texas and I read it while briefly living in Texas. Totally different Texas from the one in this book though! I will say I have sort of a fondness for big sweeping epic family dramas and that is exactly what this is. I also love descriptive prose. I want “A small part of the South not yet gone with the wind.” ― Leila Meacham, Roses I completely forgot to rate this book even though I read it, not recently but about six or seven years ago at least. What is really funny is that the book takes place in Texas and I read it while briefly living in Texas. Totally different Texas from the one in this book though! I will say I have sort of a fondness for big sweeping epic family dramas and that is exactly what this is. I also love descriptive prose. I want to feel I am there, in the moment in wherever the story is taking place. Had no issues with that here. I saw a review or two comparing this book to "Gone with the wind" and I really would not say that but it IS a book that kind of reminded me of times..and books..gone by. Everything was so lush and big and so much beauty and larger then life characters. I did think of Roses as a book that I may have read in the eighties. I would recommend it although it is long and do not be fooled into thinking it isn't dark or nothing bad happens..it's a sweeping saga and plenty happens both good and bad.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Britney

    "Roses" seemed like it would be a great read - being compared to "The Thornbirds" and all, I couldn't wait to pick it up...and now, I can't wait to put it down. Rarely do I abandon a read, neglect - yes, but leave for good? Almost never. I'm seriously contemplating it though. This novel seems to me like "Belle Cantrell" in disguise. I despise, loathe, detest the main character - who is a double-talking, self-denying, proud, stupid girl. Of course I couldn't find common ground with her! Nothing sh "Roses" seemed like it would be a great read - being compared to "The Thornbirds" and all, I couldn't wait to pick it up...and now, I can't wait to put it down. Rarely do I abandon a read, neglect - yes, but leave for good? Almost never. I'm seriously contemplating it though. This novel seems to me like "Belle Cantrell" in disguise. I despise, loathe, detest the main character - who is a double-talking, self-denying, proud, stupid girl. Of course I couldn't find common ground with her! Nothing she does or says makes sense or is logical in any way. She makes the most rash, idiotic decisions that the book is hardly entertaining but much more frustrating than anything. It's obvious turns of plot just for the sheer pain of it all made me groan in exasperation rather than commiserate. In fact, there is not a single logical, normal behaving character in the whole book. Not one single time is a decision made that I could see actually happening in real life. It is drama for your mama at it's very worst. Ugh, I can't even think about it. I just really hate it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    N

    This is a great book! It took me a while to get into the story and it is sooo long. It is quite a saga spanning many years and is well written. The characters are well fleshed out and interesting. You do get impatient with their behavior and would like to shake them at times but if you can hang in there it’s worth the time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gracie

    I think the best possible way to describe this book is that the shit hit the fan in the best and worst possible way. This book was so different from anything I have ever read before, with so many twists and turns that you never see coming. With enough drama to make Downton Abbey approve, unexpected changing of wills, characters you feel deeply for and torn between, a cursed plantation, and a way of communicating by roses, this book really has it all. I highly recommend this if you are looking fo I think the best possible way to describe this book is that the shit hit the fan in the best and worst possible way. This book was so different from anything I have ever read before, with so many twists and turns that you never see coming. With enough drama to make Downton Abbey approve, unexpected changing of wills, characters you feel deeply for and torn between, a cursed plantation, and a way of communicating by roses, this book really has it all. I highly recommend this if you are looking for something different, or something that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Content warnings: That being said, I must put in a few content warnings. There were three instances of extreme language, and although there were no sex scenes, it was implied and they talk about sex frequently. There was also a rather gruesome scene, that sensitive viewers probably wouldn't enjoy. Spoiler/Discussion: The thing that made me mad the most was how Percy is perceived by everyone and himself to be this noble character, who has honor and integrity, and yet while he was married to Lucy he had two mistresses. I know that his and Lucy's relationship has always been in shambles, but I was really disappointed in those parts, and I felt that they were unnecessary and did nothing to support the story. It was the peak of hypocrisy when Percy is talking about the importance of promises, and yet he went against his vows more than once, and didn't seem to regret it at all. I will say however, that I am very glad that Mary and Percy never had an affair. I was so relieved that they were moral and sensible enough to avoid that disaster, and that they both cared enough about Ollie to never betray him. I was also kind of disappointed that we didn't get to really see much of Mary and Ollie's marriage. When Mary thinks back on their time together, she always just seemed to talk about how they respected each other and how they had a great life together. Obviously she wasn't as happy as she would have been if she had married Percy, but I felt like there was a lack of love that should have been there. After everything that Ollie had done for her, after seeing how much he cared about her, I expect her to say more about him.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I was prepared to give this a 4 about 2/3 in, as much as I didn't like the main character, I thought the story of Mary and Percy was intriguing and ironic, and was looking forward to seeing how the story finished. The fact that I didn't cry in parts which probably warranted a tear or two did make me think that perhaps the writing was not of the same calibre of books that this one has been compared to, and I didn't really feel a connection with the setting either. Most books I love leave me feeli I was prepared to give this a 4 about 2/3 in, as much as I didn't like the main character, I thought the story of Mary and Percy was intriguing and ironic, and was looking forward to seeing how the story finished. The fact that I didn't cry in parts which probably warranted a tear or two did make me think that perhaps the writing was not of the same calibre of books that this one has been compared to, and I didn't really feel a connection with the setting either. Most books I love leave me feeling that the setting itself was as important as the characters and plot development, particularly in historical fictions, whereas this one really could've been set anywhere at any time. I'd read a lot of reviews which mentioned that the readers didn't like the ending. Given the developments of the previous 400 pages, I thought that perhaps the author threw a curveball in at the end which upset a lot of the "Happily ever after" types of readers. I don't mind books which leave me feeling distraught, angry, depressed or heartbroken - that means I was invested in the story and the characters, but what I can't stand is when the author just wastes the reader's time. This book was over 600 pages, and the last 200 pages were completely unnecessary and BORING! It was probably one of the weakest conclusions I've ever read. Sadly the ending has left me feeling that this book is a stinker, and a waste of my precious reading time!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Doreen

    THIS IS A STUPID BOOK!! THE MAIN WOMAN LOVES THE LAND MORE THAN HER MAN!! UGH!!! ALSO, WHAT A RACIST BOOK "ROSES" IS!! LEILA MEACHAM USES THE WORD 'SQUAW' AND DOESN'T REALIZE HOW HURTFUL THAT WORD IS!! DOESN'T SHE KNOW IT OFFENDS AMERICAN INDIAN WOMEN, DOESN'T SHE KNOW WHAT IT MEANS? DOESN'T SHE KNOW IT DENOTES FEMALE GENATALIA?? I LOST INTEREST IN THE BOOK AFTER SHE USES IT TO DESCRIBE THE MAIN CHARACTER'S DISHEVELED STATE! WOW!! REALLY LEILA MEACHAM?? NOT ONLY DO YOU POINT OUT THE MAIN CHARACT THIS IS A STUPID BOOK!! THE MAIN WOMAN LOVES THE LAND MORE THAN HER MAN!! UGH!!! ALSO, WHAT A RACIST BOOK "ROSES" IS!! LEILA MEACHAM USES THE WORD 'SQUAW' AND DOESN'T REALIZE HOW HURTFUL THAT WORD IS!! DOESN'T SHE KNOW IT OFFENDS AMERICAN INDIAN WOMEN, DOESN'T SHE KNOW WHAT IT MEANS? DOESN'T SHE KNOW IT DENOTES FEMALE GENATALIA?? I LOST INTEREST IN THE BOOK AFTER SHE USES IT TO DESCRIBE THE MAIN CHARACTER'S DISHEVELED STATE! WOW!! REALLY LEILA MEACHAM?? NOT ONLY DO YOU POINT OUT THE MAIN CHARACTER AS HAVING DIRTY HANDS WITH DIRTY FINGERNAILS AND OLD RATTY CLOTHES BUT THE HAIR IS DESCRIBED AS "HANGING DOWN HER BACK LIKE AN INDIAN SQUAW'S"??? SHE JUST WASN'T DIRTY ENOUGH UNTIL YOU TOPPED HER OFF AS LOOKING LIKE AN INDIAN SQUAW?? HOW DIRTY DO YOU THINK US 'SQUAWS' ARE???? NOW WE SEE HOW YOU LOOK AT AMERICAN INDIAN WOMEN!! THANKS!! BOOK BURNING OF 'ROSES' BY LEILA MEACHAM AT MY HOUSE!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jonna Rubin

    Welp. I’ve had this book on my to-read list for ten actual years. 40% of the way through, and I just ... can’t. It is so incredibly boring. The main character is obsessed with her cotton plantation, and that is ... the most interesting thing I have to say. She’s obsessed with a piece of land. It’s ridiculous and painful and I am out.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Esil

    I am rating this book based on how much I enjoyed reading it, not necessarily on how good it is. It was cheesy. somewhat predictable and the characters were not very deep, but nevertheless I must have been in the mood for a cheesy book because I had trouble putting it down.

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