Saturday, June 5, 2010
Review: Roses by Leila Meacham
Genre: Historical Romance/Family Saga
Publisher: Hatchette, 2010
East Texas 1916: In the great mansions of Houston Avenue, Howbutker, live the town's founding families, the Tolivers, the Warwicks and DuMonts. Over generations they have settled their differences by exchanging roses: a red rose for forgiveness and a white rose to accept.
But when proud, precocious teenager Mary Toliver inherits cotton plantation Somerset from her father, the first seeds of discontent are sown. On becoming the new mistress of Somerset she defies her mother and brother. And it is not the last time will sell her soul for the sake of the family soil. When she declines the proposal of handsome timber magnate Percy Warwick . the man who has loved her since childhood, it is a shattering choice that will spell heartbreak for generations to come.....
Perhaps my expectations were too high. Roses received a great deal of attention when it was released and I've read numerous glowing reviews that speak of being 'swept away', 'held captive' and 'keeping the tissues near' but it certainly didn't have that effect on me. The storyline is very much what one would expect from this sort of generational saga and told from the perspective of three of the main characters, Mary, Percy and Mary's granddaughter, Rachel, none of whom I found appealing, it provides the usual tale of lost inheritances, unrequited love and family feuds.
An 'epic saga of secrets' it isn't. The characters may not know the truth but the reader does and I felt like no more than an observer waiting for it all to happen. Reading it was like driving down a long straight road with nary a corner to offer an element of surprise or the unexpected.
In a novel of this length I would have liked to learn more about the history and social issues of the time and as I'm never likely to visit Texas some vivid description of the landscape would also have been welcome.
I can see why it's popular and its pleasant enough light reading but I find it hard to believe that it's been compared to Gone with the Wind.
Royal Reviews Historical Challenge
Historical Tapestry ABC Challenge
M is for Meacham