It's actually a little early to review Leila Meacham's Roses, but I understand it was one of the hottest Advanced Reading Copies at BEA this year. This is the reprint of my starred review from the Aug. 15 issue of Library Journal, reprinted with permission.
Meacham, Leila. Roses. Grand Central. Jan. 2010. c.624p. ISBN 978-0-446-55000-0. $24.99. F
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
Copyright © 2009 Cahners Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. Reprinted with permission.