Cover Image: The Cherokee Rose

The Cherokee Rose

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The Cherokee Rose by Tiya Miles was an interesting, well researched novel about the history of the Cherokee tribe in Georgia as well as African American/plantation, uncovered by current day ancestors. Thank you NetGalley, the author and publisher for the review copy. All opinions are mine.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to for the chance to read the re-release of “The Cherokee Rose” by Tiya Miles.

The novel takes place in a sleepy town in Georgia in which three women get to the bottom of the tragic history of the local looming estate of the Cherokee Rose. Part historic fiction, part romance, and part ghost story, the novel explores Southern racial politics left over by chattel slavery that still resonate today without ever feeling didactic or even academic.

The meat of the story is really in the every day horror of living with the legacy of slavery, and seeing communities of color pitted against each other in service of white supremacy. Despite being marketed as a story of gardens and ghosts, it’s a little light on ghostly, supernatural, and gothic elements. As a horror/supernatural fiction fan, I was hoping for more in that line and was curious if the rerelease would include those elements but rather than fabricating jump scares, the novel mainly sticks to the reality of what happened.

If you’re looking for a thoughtful rumination of what to do with grand manors that housed atrocities against humanity and had other POC (in this case Cherokee folks owning enslaved people) at the helm of those atrocities, this is it. If you’re looking for a book that wants to reconcile that history with a complex multicultural future and some sapphic rep, this is that book.

But if you’re looking for an all out ghost story, this isn’t that necessarily that novel. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great read; I just think the marketing of the book leaves a little to be desired.

All in all, a solid novel with notes for its rerelease that help make this historic novel feel like a blueprint for the future.

Was this review helpful?

The past and the present merge on a Georgia plantation (Hold House) when a historian, writer, and a potential buyer discover a diary that reveals more than any of them imagined. Written in alternating eras, we learn that the House once belonged to a Cherokee and we learn that the Cherokees once owned and had relations with enslaved Africans. The beauty of the novel is it is inspired by actual events as mentioned in the Author’s Notes.

The author has researched thoroughly and presents complex issues with graceful sensitivity and compassion. Layered in lore, the interwoven ancestry between the characters reflects the “mixing pot” of the American identity and all the cultural nuances it brings.

Recommended for American history lovers.

Thanks to the publisher, Random House Publishing, and NetGalley for an opportunity to review.

Was this review helpful?

Such an important book, I think this is one of my favorites this year. It gave me historical fiction, mystery, romance, revenge, and the commentary on race, religion, colonialism that I’m always looking for with three dimensional diverse characters. Highly recommend this one and how the author handles really nuanced and delicate issues.

Was this review helpful?

A big mysterious plantation with history and passion. This was a good balance between historical truth and contemporary attitude to it. I loved the characters of Jinx and Ruth and how they ended up searching for answers at the Hold House. Cheyenne was much harder to follow and connect with.

Was this review helpful?

The intention of this book seems lovely and the writing is strong but I just couldn't get into it. Maybe just not the right time? I may give this a try in the future but for now, it isn't the book for me.

Was this review helpful?

Rich in historical detail, this story and the three women captivated me.
Many thanks to Random House and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

The Cherokee Rose is an interesting historical fiction. Following the lives of different women, Miles successfully crafts a story that keeps readers intrigued for the whole ride!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Net Galley and Random House of an ARC in exchange for my honest review. This book is based on facts but is put into a fictionalized form so the author can have liberties to tell this story. The author is an academic and used her research to provide the structure for this story of the intertwined history of Indigenous and enslaved Blacks. Jinx is a Creek historian who visits Hold House in Georgia, originally owned by James Hold, to find out what happened during Indian removal. She then meets Ruth who is a writer of Black and White ancestry and Cheyenne who is from a wealthy Black family and interested in buying Hold House (with her parents' money). They discover a diary which leads them on a discovery of the history of the house which reflects the history of this area and people. This was interesting to learn more about the complex history of Indigenous and enslaved Blacks.

Was this review helpful?

3.5 out of 5 stars!

I struggled with grading this book. Tiya Miles is a notes scholar and a department head at Harvard, important qualifications that are sadly missing from her author bio. With an academic background myself, I could feel Miles fighting with her need to be thorough and cite her sources and when to let the story flow. This is an amazing story and a wonderful piece of history to research and explore but bouncing between the academic insights and the fictional tale did cause the first portion of the book to be a struggle.

This is the second publication, The Cherokee Rose. First published in 2015, the book has been heavily edited and republished. The story focuses on a Georgia plantation and the three women who are drawn to it. It explores the connection between the indigenous slaveholders and the slaves that worked the plantation.

A good book overall. I believe as Miles grows and finds her voice in historic fiction, we will see greater works from her.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for an e-arc in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

The Cherokee Rose was a story of 3 women’s journey to learn about their history and Indigenous and Black heritage and how it all connected at the Hold Plantation almost 200 years prior. Through the journal of Anna Gamble with help of Mary Ann Battis they find out what actually happened at the plantation and in result, their true families’ history.
The book held my attention alright. Tiya Miles did give notice to / warn readers in the beginning of the book that it was a story with a lot of different facets. To me, it was trying to do too much. I would have been more intrigued just reading about the history of what happened to those who lived and were enslaved at the Hold Plantation.
However, there was a lot of character development for Jinx, Ruth and Cheyenne and it showed that finding your family history can be a really important if not the most important aspect of your life.
Overall this held my attention and had some strong female characters. The style of writing and telling a story through a journal entry was interesting. 3/5 stars.

Was this review helpful?

The history of a Georgia plantation is explored through the words of three different women from different times in history. I found the characters not well developed, difficult to engage with and the plot a bit scattered, just my opinion.

Was this review helpful?

I was lured in by the premise of The Cherokee Rose--especially as someone who absolutely loved The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois. The story itself doesn't disappoint, exploring resonant issues like legacies of trauma, land rights, and enslavement. The narrative and the characters are a bit on the flat side, which is a bit of a letdown, but ultimately I think the story alone is worth the journey.

Was this review helpful?

The author's debut novel, The Cherokee Rose surrounds a Georgia plantation and the three women who find themselves drawn into its connection to the history of Native American slaveholders. The novel was originally published in 2015 but the one I am reviewing today is the revised and edited edition.

-The amount of research that went into this novel is explained in both the preface at the beginning and all the resources and interviews listed at the back. As a newbie to this topic, I appreciated the thorough explanations.

- Three strong female protagonists-Jinx, Cherokee and Ruth

- A mature lesbian romance that was a story element and not the whole focus of the story. Honestly, I am just relieved that any romance didn't take away from the historical portion of the story.

-Tiya Miles doesn't shy away or try to paint a rosy picture of what life was like on the plantation.

- I know a lot of other reviewers didn't like the journal entries that took over the novel. I did love them but yeah, maybe they could have been spaced out in the novel. ( I guess this is more a positive/negative)


-It was a little difficult to get into. A lot of starts and stops before I was immersed. The story does improve in the middle of the book though.

- I didn't feel like the male characters were written as well as the female characters.

- I rate it as a two-star because even though the history was so interesting, I don't think this is one of those books that is going to stick out for me on December 31st(end-of-year reviews).

Overall, I do believe it is a good book in introducing myself to a little addressed discussion in history but I think it would be a topic to further understand by reading some nonfiction.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for access to this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

#TheCherokeeRose #NetGalley.
Publication Date 13/06/23
Goodreads Review 19/06/23

Was this review helpful?

A new and revised edition of The Cherokee Rose is coming out in June 2023 - and it is a significant revision from its first 2015 publication. It's difficult to tell if the average Goodreads rating refers to the first version or also rolls in the new edition. My review is for the 2023 edition, and I received an electronic ARC from NetGalley in exchange for this review.

I loved the historical story told in this novel - one I've not come across before in historical fiction. Miles tackles the Cherokee and Creek nation's slave-holding history in the pre-Civil War South. If ever a story underlines our complicated history, this is it. The author is an academic historian, and the book is meticulously researched (and referenced), a feature I look for and appreciate in historical fiction.

Plot-wise, the book is a dual timeline story set around a historic plantation once owned by a Cherokee/European chief who enslaved over 100 people. A found diary and ghost reveal the historic part of the story. And this is where the novel is weakest. The modern-day storyline often feels like reading an old Nancy Drew mystery merged with a romance novel, which clashes with the story's serious tone. The author states that she is still working on writing fiction, and I appreciate her honesty - and her willingness to keep writing. I'll watch for future novels by Tiya Miles and look forward to seeing her fiction muscles grow.

My assessment: 5 stars for historical content, 3.5 stars for plot and character development, for 4 stars overall.

Was this review helpful?

The premise of this book was interesting, but the outcome wasn't up to the same standard. The book was a good read until the (only) unlikeable main character got the most pages in her perspective, and the story was no longer something I wanted to read. I desperately waited for there to be some level of stakes that didn't occur through the first half of the book. I was stuck wondering, what was the point?

Was this review helpful?

This book shines a light on a bit of history that really isn't widely known and it does a decent job of presenting it in a fictionalized way. You can tell that the author put in a lot of research on the topic before writing.

Instagram post will be up soon (hopefully by the end of the week) and will be linked to Goodreads review.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Net Galley for providing an early copy of The Cherokee Rose by Tiya Miles

Author Tiya Miles shaped and defined this deeply moving and historically accurate novel over the course of several years. Now readers will experience the depth of her care as she documents the fictional lives of three women who will join forces to right the wrongs of the past on land once belonging to the Cherokees in Georgia.
Cheyenne is the wealthy young woman who participates in an auction to purchase what was once called The Cherokee Rose, a former plantation. Jessica (Jinx) hails from Oklahoma and is researching the Creek connections to the plantation and the story she may have gotten wrong about an early settler at the plantation, and Ruth who hails from Minneapolis and is on a magazine assignment during her forced vacation. While these three strong women are fictional, what they uncover through a diary found on the plantation is brimming with a chronicle of life on the plantation during the 19th century.
Readers will be fascinated with everything there is to learn through the words of the brilliantly competent Tiya Miles. For example, little=known facts about the Native American population owning black slaves may come as a surprise. In addition, the "ghost story" and idea of the plantation being haunted has its roots in the culture of the inhabitants. There are so many avenues of fact and emotion in this book that will leave the reader wanting to know more. Miles has included notes and a list of suggested reading to aid further research.
While some slave scenes of the past are cruel and haunting, it speaks to the souls of the enslaved that life goes on and hope endures.

Was this review helpful?

A rerelease of a previously published book following a substantial revision, The Cherokee Rose is a work of fiction written by a historian at the top of her field. Miles is a professor at Harvard University and the Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study, and if you haven’t read her fantastic works of non-fiction (especially All That She Carried), you’ve been missing out. The Cherokee Rose presents the reader with three women drawn to a former plantation house owned by a chief of the Cherokee Nation in what is now Georgia. Jinx is a Cherokee tribal historian and grad school dropout living in Oklahoma; Ruth is a magazine writer in Minnesota with a troubled past; and Cheyenne is the well-to-do daughter of a prominent Black family in Atlanta who’s hoping to uncover her family’s rumored Cherokee roots.

Likes: This is history that has little coverage in fiction, and the Cherokee Rose beautifully unpicks the complex relationships between white, Black, Cherokee, and mixed-race people during the 19th century and examines the ramifications these have for the present day. There are diary entries from a fictional 19th century character (based on a real person) that convincingly replicate the writing style of the period. The diary has an immediacy and an emotional impact that pulled me in and kept me turning pages, frantic to find out what happened to the 19th century women whose lives it describes. And the introduction and author’s note do a fantastic job of detailing where fact became fiction and providing sources.

Dislikes: While I loved Jinx and Ruth’s characters, I felt Ruth’s backstory veered into melodrama. Cheyenne at times almost felt like a caricature of a spoiled little rich girl. And occasionally, some factual historical information intruded on the story in a way that felt like an info dump. However, I wouldn’t let these critiques prevent me from recommending this book to fans of historical fiction.

FYI: murder, rape, abusive relationships, misogyny, racism, slavery, difficult childbirth.

Was this review helpful?

When I discovered The Cherokee Rose, I was intrigued by the little known history of Native American slaveholding. Unfortunately, while I found the history fascinating, the story has some flaws and the writing is mediocre.

Was this review helpful?