I recently read a really good book, that was not a mystery. Not in the true definition of a mystery book anyway.
Roses by Leila Meacham is a family saga. As the cover says, it did remind of Gone With the Wind, which is a favorite of mine. It is a long book - 609 pages. BUT it didn't take me any longer to read than a book half that size.
Here's what it is about:
"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".
The story begins with Mary Toliver, now an elderly woman, changing her will to not leave the family cotton plantations to any immediate family. She wants to break the curse that has haunted the Toliver's for 100 years. Once that is done, she heads home and asks her maid to pull her husbands old trunk in the attic out and unlock it. She must get to it and look for something. Once that is taken care of she will be traveling to west Texas to tell her niece in person, that she is not leaving the family business to her. Mary dies before she is able to do either of those things.
The story is then told, of the Toliver, Dumont and Warwick families, their journey from Louisiana to Texas, how the families are intertwined, their successes, failures, and heartaches.
I can find a mystery in almost any book. The mystery in Roses is why does Mary not want anyone in the family to inherit the business, what does she mean by curse (that word also grabs my attention) and what is the story between she and Percy...hmm?
There is a second book, Somerset, which is a prequel to Roses. It was published after Roses so it is probably meant to be read in that order. She has written several other books too. I plan on reading Somerset also.
About the author:
"Leila Meacham is a former teacher and the author of the New York Times bestseller Roses. She graduated from the University of North Texas and lives with her husband in San Antonio."