Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, January 08, 2010

Leila Meacham's Roses,a slice of saga cake that's a delicious red velvet read

Leila Meacham's steadfast saga novel,Roses, starts the show off by introducing us to Mary Toliver,the renowned as well as infamous matriarch of Somerset, her family's cotton plantation in East Texas, who is spending her last days on earth making changes to her last will and testament in order to disinherit her niece Rachel.

Instead,Mary arranges for long time family friend and rival Percy Warwick to be given control over the fate of Somerset. This is not done out of malice for Rachel,rather this seemingly cruel gesture is meant to save her from what is considered "the curse of the Tolivers".

Many years ago,Mary was awarded the family estate after the death of her father who had driven their fortunes into the ground. Her mother and brother wanted to sell off what was left of the place and be done with it,but Mary persisted on saving Somerset which lead to a lot of hard choices and several sorrows along the way.

One of the many things she had to divide her heart's desire between was Percy,heir to the local lumber baron,who wanted a stay-at-home wife to mother his children but adored Mary and her stubborn spirit nonetheless. By bequeathing Somerset to him,Mary hoped to make up for the sins of her past and spare Rachel from following in her emotional footsteps toward a lonely life of regret:

Rachel,however,takes after her aunt in more ways than one and is determined not to give up Somerset without a fight. She sets out to dig up some dirt on Percy,so that she has some leverage in which to bargain with him to take back the farm without having to go to court. While a few family secrets are unearthed(including one that could have serious legal repercussions on the Warwick family fortunes),Percy is steadfast in his refusal to go against Mary's last wishes.

Like Mary before her,Rachel is torn between choosing to reclaim Somerset by any means necessary or losing out on her lifelong dream forever. Adding to the list of casualties in this turbulent tug of war is Matthew,Percy's grandson who loves Rachel very much but doesn't want to destroy his grandfather in the process as well. History seems to be dead set on repeating itself here,especially in the romance department:

When I first received a copy of this delightful book at BEA last spring,it was described as an old fashioned style of story in the tradition of The Thorn Birds and Gone With The Wind. Rather bold comparisons to be made,yet Roses does more than live up to the hype.

It's a charmingly written tale of love lost and hoped to be won that lures you in with a luscious atmosphere of time and place that teasingly tosses you a trail of tasty plot bread crumbs that you are all too willing to follow. Roses is one of those hard to put down books which many may see as a guilty pleasure but there's nothing to be ashamed of here.

Sagas are rich mental feasts to be sure,and while overdoing a good thing isn't the best literary diet,it never hurts to indulge yourself on quality,which Meacham's book most definitely is.

Roses is now available everywhere,so make haste and find a copy to snuggle up in a Snuggie with to help warm your spirits this chilly season. Goodness knows,the feisty females showcased here have plenty of fiery temperament to heat up even the bleakest of winters:

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