Roses **.* by Leila Meacham





I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where in her words, pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera.




 and Michael Lee at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. . . the perfect little food corner in blogland.







 This book for me is a classic example of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. The jacket, which is beautiful, also shows this:





 I’m sorry to say, that was not the case for me. It’s been compared to Gone with the Wind and The Thornbirds. I really wanted to like this book. I was disappointed and found it hard to finish. I lost interest and for the most part found the characters annoying and family members down right cruel.






“The Warwicks, descended from the House of York, grew only white roses in their gardens, while the Tolivers cultivated exclusively red roses, the symbol of the House of Lancaster.”



“The red and white rose. . .They will be a reminder of my duty to our friendship, to our joint endeavors. And if I should offend you, I will send a red rose to ask for forgiveness. And if I receive one tendered for that purpose, I will return a white rose to say that all is forgiven.”







 This multi-generation family saga, involves star-crossed lovers, family secrets, and pride and passion for the land. Three founding families star in this story, that takes place in a small Texas town: the Tolivers, who grow cotton, the Warwicks, who mine timber, and the DuMonts, who sell luxury dry goods. 



“It was a well-known fact that while they lived in one another’s pockets socially, they worked and prospered separately. It was a rule established at the beginning that each man’s enterprise must rise and fall by his own merits–without financial aid or assistance from the others.”






Told in three parts, by three characters’ points of view, this tale spans nearly 100 years and begins with Mary Toliver’s story in 1916.





The Toliver’s cotton plantation, Somerset, is bequeathed to Mary by her father at the tender age of 16, alienating her from her older brother’s and her mother’s affections.


























There were not a lot of food mentions in the book, here is one with the Toliver’s housekeeper, Sassie and her cinnamon rolls:









Ina Garten Easy Sticky Buns Recipe (masquerading as cinnamon rolls, I left the raisins out of Ina’s recipe and used pecans instead)

Recipe Here



 And of course, to look like cinnamon rolls, they had to have icing :-)

Icing Recipe Here 












I have to admit, these sticky buns were yummy without the icing, if fact, my husband preferred them that way :-)





  And another food vignette I stumbled on with Percy and Mary, picnicking on chicken salad and croissants:









Apricot-Almond Chicken Salad

  • 1  cup  sliced almonds, toasted

  • 3  cups  chopped cooked chicken

  • 1  cup  chopped dried apricots

  • 1 cup  halved green grapes

  • 3/4 cup sliced celery

  • 1/4  cup  mayonnaise

  • 1/2  cup plain greek-style yogurt

  • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger (I used 1 tsp. for our tastes)

  • 3  tablespoons apricot preserves

  • Salt and pepper to taste


 Stir together mayo, yogurt, ginger, and apricot preserves in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste; add chicken, apricots, celery, grapes, and almonds, tossing gently. Chill until ready to serve.










“The writing of Roses is fraught with problems. First, it is formal and stilted, as though the book were written in the 1950s rather than in 2009. The main characters are sketchily drawn, and Mary, in particular, is as much characterized by her clothes as by her thoughts, which are few.” – The Cleveland Plain Dealer


I’m afraid I tend to agree with this review, rather than those I ran across on Amazon. If you care to, you can read more for yourself, Here.




 “Red is to ask forgiveness, white to say forgiveness granted, pink to say forgiveness withheld.”








  Be sure to stop by Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday Favorites &  Food for Thought to see what everyone is reading and eating.



  9 comments for “Roses

  1. March 27, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Gosh you’re good at this:)Well done~

  2. March 27, 2010 at 10:11 am

    have i ever told you i love how you play at food for thought? too bad the book wasn’t good, especially when roses are involved, but who cares, your visuals make it all worth while for us! i love love love all your rosy pics! the tea cup and petals, pure pitter patter my heart… well all of them really!

    i need to hit the kitchen this morn, you are killing me with all this fab food… i won’t show my husband your book, he will be upset i am not reading about cinnamon buns or apple strudel, that he got stuck with beans!

    apricot chicken salad, sound fantastic, a new taste treat for me!

    i so love your involvement with the book, as a gardener your touches are not lost! bravo thank you so much for such a wonderful morning at your blog!

  3. March 27, 2010 at 11:14 am

    This review is like reading a wonderful book. I would have been drawn to this book by the cover myself. Too bad it was a disappointment, but lucky us that you chose to review it with such incredible thought and creativity. Between the stellar photos and the luscious food this review is totally delight!

  4. Carolyn
    March 27, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Okay, I will skip this book, but NOT those yummy cinnamon rolls! Put the tea pot on my friend.

  5. gollum
    March 27, 2010 at 11:34 am

    I couldn’t join y’all today at FFT as my husband had minor surgery. I bought a chicken to make salad and it’s still in the fridge–but that’s lucky for us because now I will use your recipe, adding apricots and grapes. Your photos are absolutely beautiful. I’m craving sticky cinnamon buns!

  6. March 27, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I had a very similar opinion of this book. I wanted to like it, but wasn’t impressed. I found it boring, too.

    Love the recipe for sticky buns, I will have to try it.

  7. Laura Leigh
    March 27, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Yum…Sorry I left the Lake too soon to take a few cinnamon rolls/sticky buns with me…Bet they were “delish” –

  8. March 27, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks for the review of the book. A cover like that would draw my Shabby Chic side right in but then to waste the time on an unworthy read would be so disappointing. Your pictures are so lovely. Thanks for sharing.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  9. March 27, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks everyone for your kind comments. . .if I had known how fun this would be, I would have started a long time ago :-)

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