By Leila Meacham
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.
This was not a book I would have picked for myself on the face of it. This book was chosen for bookclub and I have to say while it wasn’t my favorite, I did end up liking it.
The plot was interesting and kept you turning the pages of this rather thick novel. I found the ending a bit lacking, but the story is really about the characters, particularly Mary and Percy, and how the stories of their families spins out from there.
I didn’t like Mary Toliver very much, especially where the story followed her a young girl. I found Percy much more compelling and it was Percy’s sections alone that caused me to shed a few tears.
The beginning of the book is a little clumsily written, especially around how themes are introduced. The story of the meaning of roses in Howbutker was so awkwardly introduced I had severe misgivings about how the book was going to go. But the story finds its footing after the first hundred pages and the meaning of roses ends up being a nice plot device, rather than the awkward mess it was introduced as.
If you like romance novels, I think you will greatly enjoy this one. I’m not much for romances, but even I enjoyed Roses.