cover image The Cherokee Rose

The Cherokee Rose

Tiya Miles. John F. Blair, $26.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-89587-635-5

This well-researched, intriguing historical novel from MacArthur fellow Miles (The House on Diamond Hill) delves into the little-known story of the prosperous Cherokee slaveholders in the antebellum South. In the present day, Jinx Micco, a Cherokee-Creek part-time librarian and newspaper columnist, lives in Ocmulgee, Okla. While conducting tribal research, she looks in to a missionary school on Cherokee chief James Hold’s plantation in Georgia, called the Cherokee Rose. She discovers his manor house, now a state museum strapped for funds, is going up for auction and travels to the Cherokee Rose to learn the true fate of one student, Mary Ann Battis. Meanwhile, Cheyenne Cotterell, a wealthy interior designer from Atlanta, decides to buy the Cherokee Rose in order to set up an upscale bed-and-breakfast and get back to her Native American roots. The third protagonist is Ruth Mayes, a magazine writer from Minneapolis and Cheyenne’s childhood friend, who arrives at the Cherokee Rose to write a feature story. When Cheyenne’s $1.5 million offer outbids the real estate tycoon Mason Allen, she makes a vengeful enemy. Jinx, Ruth, and Cheyenne form a sisterly alliance and befriend Adam Battis, an unemployed park ranger, former caretaker of the museum, and descendent of Chief Hold. The women soon unearth a lost diary, which brings to a close Miles’s wrenching yet enlightening saga. Readers will be taken with the way this novel blends past and present. (Apr.)