With expert and unabashed big-canvas storytelling that reads like a Texas Gone With the Wind, Leila Meacham pens an epic of three intriguing generations. A deeply moving love story of struggle and sacrifice as well, ROSES is steeped with nostalgia for a time when honor and good manners were always the rule.

Coleen Marlo delivers an old-fashioned sprawling, multigenerational rags-to-riches tale with a healthy supply of steamy unrequited romance, all played out in the American heartland. Marlo is every bit a match for this material as she gives a strong performance that endows each character with personality and convincing emotions. She keeps the tension high, excelling in portraying Mary Toliver's relentless drive to save her family's plantation—to the detriment of all else—while also making clear what it's costing her to do so. AudioFile