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Essie's Roses

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  874 ratings  ·  52 reviews
#1 Amazon bestseller. Readers' Favorite Silver Medal Winner Best Southern Fiction. A sweeping, moving historical novel set before the Civil War about secrets, freedom, and the power of love.

Growing up in the Deep South during the years leading to the Civil War, two young girls find freedom on a hillside overlooking Westland, an Alabama plantation. Essie Mae, an intuitive,
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published March 23rd 2015 by Little Cabin Books LLC
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  874 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Heather Osborne
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed on behalf of Readers' Favorite

Essie's Roses: A Novel by Michelle Muriel is a historical fiction novel set in the South during the years leading up to the American Civil War. Essie, a slave, is born on the plantation Westland at the same time as the plantation owner, Katie Winthrop, births a little girl named Evie. Mysterious circumstances surround Essie's parentage, as her mother dies in birth. Evie's father loved Essie's mother, so they must hide the small girl. Against odds, Essie and
Charline Ratcliff
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've finally finished reading Essie’s Roses and all I can say is – wow, what an amazing read. What a well-written, completely believable and insightful book.

Essie’s Roses is a ‘fictional’ novel, yet it encompasses the same importance of message, and will certainly remind readers of their intrinsic knowledge of right versus wrong with the same quiet strength of conviction that Harriet Beecher Stowe provided to her readers when she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Additionally though, this book is so much
Susan Peterson
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Essie's Roses is the poignant story of 2 young girls who are best friends, one white and one black, living on a plantation in Alabama in the mid 1800s. Evie and Essie Mae were born on the same day, although Essie was the daughter of a slave, and Evie the only child of the owner of the plantation. The book takes you through their births and on into young adulthood, following both of them on their sometimes horrific journey. Each chapter is narrated by a different character; Essie, Evie, Evie's mo ...more
Shirley Lake
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing

A book is a new companion that you hold in your hands ready to open up in anticipation to begin a new journey and, after doing so, you discover you have just been introduced to new people, walk in situations that you ordinarily would never experience, go to places and see sights never before seen… these are the joys of falling into a book and having it tell you a story. This is what I have found in Essie’s Roses. Essie’s Roses is the book that when you put down, the characters are in your head t
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Such a stunning story of friendship, devotion, unconditional love, dreams and freedom.

The narrative is beautiful and brutal, you’ll need tissues near by. Muriel explores pre and post Civil War. She provides enough of a background of the turbulent times without dwelling. She focuses on her two main protagonists Evie and Essie creating the entire storyline. The twists and turns will catch you off guard. So many tender moments you’ll clutch at your heart balancing the times you’re on the edge of yo
Karen Wade
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I truly enjoyed Essie's Roses. From the very first chapter I was hooked. It was very hard for me to put the book down because I wanted to see what happened next.

I felt pulled into the story. The images created by the author made the story come to life for me. I felt like I was there. By far one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time.
Winter Sophia Rose
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Riveting, Insightful & Heartfelt! A Beautiful Read! I Loved It! ...more
Colleen Turner
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Find my full review at

I have to admit from the first sentence of this review that I have been just the worst reader ever! The lovely author of Essie's Roses, Michelle Muriel, sent me a copy almost a year ago, and I have just recently finished reading it. I started the book back in December 2015 (yes, you read that correctly) and at first attempt I just wasn't in the proper mood for a slowly unwinding story, as beautiful as it turned out to be. So it kept ge
Nicole Laverdure
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful historical novel to enjoy!

Essie's Roses, by Michelle Muriel, tells a story set during the years leading to the Civil War, at Westland, an Alabama plantation. Told by four women, Katherine Winthrop, Evie Winthrop, Delly and Essie Mae who shared a forbidden friendship! Evie Winthrop, is an imaginative dreamer and planter’s daughter, and Essie Mae, an intelligent colored slave girl. They strike up a secret friendship that thrives amidst the shadows of abuse.

Katherine Winthrop, is the m
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Copy Received for an honest review from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Books like Essie's Roses by Michelle Muriel are why I love reading. This was such a fantastic read, my heart ached and I couldn't put it down. Essie Mae is a colored girl, she starts off by risking her life to save her friend and also her mistress daughter. Stories like "Essie's Roses" are literary works of fiction. The story was so beautifully written, the pacing so well-done. Once I started I could not put it down. Th
Jenny Belk
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Essie's Roses takes place on an Alabama plantation, Westland prior to the Civil War. Katherine Winthrop is the mistress of the plantation. Evie is her only daughter. Also on the plantation live Bo,caretaker and Delly, Katherine's house slave. Essie Mae is the young slave girl who becomes friends with Evie, which is taboo. There are secrets in the household. At age nineteen Essie May and Evie leave Westland and head to Richmond to escape their abused pasts. They seek freedom and the pursuit of th ...more
Barbara Waloven
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written prose and well developed characters. The story of a mother and two girls and their struggles to hold onto dreams as well as their ability to dream during the troubled pre Civil War time. This heartfelt story brought tears to me during both happy and sad times. I have never read a book where I could so aptly smell the roses or the stench described within the pages. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a wonderfully emotional read.
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club-books
Was lucky enough to read a copy of this book as part of my work pre-publication and just loved it. Incredibly moving and beautifully written, with compelling characters and storylines, this one brought me to tears—sad and happy ones—more than once!
Judi Burns
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite history era to read and what a good read this was!
Michelle Muriel shared such a heartwarming story with us!!!
The innocence of children and how the adult world can attempt to tear it apart.
This is a story of true friendship filled with trust, honesty and love. Dreams to live and see them come to life.
Thank You, Michelle Muriel for sharing with us all. I look forward to reading you future books.
Laura Henderson
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was a WONDERFUL book. It brought tears to my eyes. I like the details of the story. Only thing I didnt like is how it jumps from 5 to 12 yrs old. LOVE THE CHARACTERS(except the husband) She made them feel real. Its a 'Gone With the Wind" meets "Roots"
roxanne mills
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written

This book was so hard to put down. I felt like I was in the story. It was so captivating and sweet.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to my Sis in law, Jenny B. in OIB, who recommended Essie's Roses. Right again, wonderful story of two girls growing up in the south. One white wealthy child the other a black slave on the estate.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I loved the journey for these two girls. Their friendship and love was so unacceptable for that time period. The good, the bad, and the ugly! Felt totally wrung out by the end. Can't wait for the next book. I'll never look at roses the same way.
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is the story of four women in the period just prior to the Civil War. Miss Katie is mistress of a cotton plantation in Alabama. While Miss Katie is kind and intelligent, her husband John is ignorant and abusive, having married her only for her money. Delly is the loyal house slave with a sharp tongue, and she loves Katie and Evie as though they were her own. Evie is the only child of Katie and John, somewhat spoiled, adventurous. Her best friend, born the same night Evie was born, is Essie ...more
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a very timely book given the current discussions of race going on in the country right now. It opens in the years before the Civil War on a small plantation in Alabama. It is owned by Katherine Winthrop but she defers to her husband in its running. He is not a very nice man for many a reason but it is time when women were not considered smart enough to do anything but look pretty.

Katherine has a daughter, Evie, and is friendly with her house slave Delly. Delly cares for Essie a child of
Carol Boyer
Review by Carol Boyer

Carol Boyer October 25, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

Caught in a beautiful spell, into a different time, into a different place, this book wafted me away into dreams, and delighted my senses with the dialogue and the rich descriptions of an exquisite secret garden of roses, which I could picture and really felt like I could smell. From the beginning days in Alabama 1841, approaching the Civil War, to New York in 1865, this historical drama was a story told of two lovely girls,
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
For this being Michelle Muriel's first novel, and a historical based one at that, I have to say, "Bravo!" This is a beautifully written and well-developed novel with character's you quickly end up finding yourself rooting for. For me personally from the beginning with Essie, a character I loved from the start, I was quickly drawn into the story of her friendship and relationship with all the characters, mainly Evie Winthrop. Although Delly and Mr.Koontz are very, "colorful" and memorable charact ...more
Heidi Harsch
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Essie's Roses

Captivating. One word to describe this book. Michelle Muriel is blessed with the gift of bringing words to life.

I did not want the story to end. I want more. The characters came to life for me. I laughed with them and cried for them. Evie and Essie, two young women who the reader follows from birth to womanhood. Miss Katie Evies mother. Delly, who has been with Katie throughout her life. History repeats itself with a never-ending friendship. Evies father, cold, conniving. Evil. Unc
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won this book as a goodreads giveaway

Muriel beautifully depicts the complicated relationships between a Southern plantation family and their loyal slaves. Evie and Essie develop a bond that strengthens over the gruesome and trying events of childhood. Despite the social boundaries that are expected of them, they invent ways of bypassing restrictions and expectations to nurture a family freiendship that blossoms into adulthood. The description of the roses throughout the book has great signific
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A a Wonderful Novel of The Anguish Slavery Caused I pre-civil war

This book was a slow starter. I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading it, but I seldom put a book down without reading to the last page. I am so glad I continued with this one. The characters were very interesting and fun to follow. The story line kept my interest. Anyone who enjoys novels about the civil war will enjoy this love story. The story of love between slaves and their masters, of family members, and of young love. It
Rae Coletti
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Wilson-Stern

This is a powerful tale, masterfully written. The theme is meaty and complex. The plot is so well crafted that I am in awe. The character development is the best I've ever read. This book takes us through the struggles and suffering of life but reminds us that the human spirit can overcome anything if we hold to our hopes and dreams. A true master writer.
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! The only reason I chose it was because my mother's name was Essie Mae and boy am I glad I did! It did not disappoint. The story is told from the point of view of three strong women. It will make you mad, make you laugh and cry. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy historical fiction.
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Profound Piece of historical significance

What a beautifully written saga of friendship that transcended some of the worst human offenses in our history. A must read that will linger with me a long time.
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Freedom is different things for everyone!

What a wonderfully written little book. It's so full of emotions! I felt myself grow young again and enjoyed laying in the fresh green grass on a hillside with my two best friends, watching the clouds and dreaming.
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MICHELLE MURIEL is the award-winning, bestselling author of the #1 Amazon historical fiction bestseller ESSIE’S ROSES and her new novel Amazon bestseller, WATER LILY DANCE. Water Lily Dance follows the lives and secrets of three brave women, centuries apart, connected by French Impressionist artist Claude Monet. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, magna cum laude, and worked as a professional ...more

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