Viola's Reviews > Roses

Roses by Leila Meacham
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's review
Jan 18, 2010

liked it
Read from January 25 to 27, 2010

This book has been compared to Gone With the Wind and The Thorn Birds. I don't know much about The Thorn Birds, but I do know quite a bit about GWTW. Roses is similar in that it's a saga that crosses a few generations with three families. There's a cotton plantation, lumber mills, and unrequited love plus a feisty, stubborn heroine and a man who lookes like a Greek god who loves her and can't get her to break her stubborn ways. Sound familiar?

Really, this book wasn't bad, and I gave it three stars because I enjoyed it, and I know there are some people who would gobble this up and LOVE it. Several have as evidenced by the reviews on Amazon and GR.

For me, the problem is the comparison to GWTW which is so obvious it almost felt like the plot was borrowed. We already have a wonderful story about a cotton plantation that needs saved and a stubborn girl who throws away the good things in her life and the man who loves her to save it. The saying is that there are only six plots out there, but there has to be some originality, new depth, etc. to make them all different in their own right. Roses tries to do that, and yes, there are parts I really enjoyed. Clearly I liked reading it or I wouldn't have finished a 600 page book in three days; however, it's the depth that didn't make this a four or five star rating for me.

I did enjoy the characters, especially Percy Warwick and Matt Warwick, both of whom I fell for immediately. The problem is that my interest in the rest of the characters was surface-level. I wanted the right couples to get together and was so frustrated at their stubborn ways that kept them apart. THAT is a major difference between something as well-written as GWTW.

Yes, Scarlett O'Hara is a stubborn brat, but her passion for everything, not just Tara, is clear, and you get that as a reader. She makes you crazy as she chases after Ashley, but at the same time, there's something about Ashley that seems worth chasing after, and at the same time, you're deeply invested in Melanie and her plight. Herein lies the big difference for me between these two stories: GWTW has a heroine and a male lead that you care for and love, but you also love the entire cast of characters. I didn't really get that until I read the book because I always thought it was Scarlett and Rhett that I mainly cared for, but in reading GWTW, you fall in love with the entire cast, the South, and even Tara to the point that you want Scarlett to fight for that land, even though she's sacrificing so much to save it.

In Roses, I wasn't as invested in Mary Toliver. She was stubborn, but the spunk and humor was missing, and I just didn't care as much about her. I didn't care about Somerset either, and the lack of deep development for other characters as well (Ollie, Lucy, Rachel) just made it feel like it was copying GWTW without the depth and originality that it could have had.

That said, I did finish it quickly, and I did enjoy it, but it was sad and didn't leave me feeling much hope for characters that had already lost so much. At least at the end of GWTW, you have the sense that Scarlett will prevail because as she says, "Tomorrow is another day!"


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01/25/2010 page 290
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message 1: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily I have only read about 80 pages, but am disenchanted already. There is no character development or description of the setting. It makes it hard for me to care!

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