The Cherokee Rose, written by Tiya Miles, award-winning historian and recipient of a recent MacArthur Genius Grant, explores territory reminiscent of the works of Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, and Louise Erdrich. This luminous but highly accessible work examines a little-known aspect of America s past slaveholding by Southern Creeks and Cherokees and its legacy in the lives of three young women who are drawn to the Georgia plantation where scenes of extreme cruelty and equally extraordinary compassion once played out. The novel is based on historical sources about the Chief Vann House Historic Site in Chatsworth, Georgia, and the Moravian mission sponsored there in the early 1800s. Miles uncovered this fascinating history while researching her book The House on Diamond Hill. In The Cherokee Rose, she has fictionalized the story and introduced contemporary aspects to make this history more accessible. The characters in The Cherokee Rose include Jinx, the free-spirited historian exploring her tribe s complicated racial history; Ruth, whose mother sought refuge from a troubled marriage in her beloved garden and the cosmetic empire she built from its bounty; Cheyenne, the Southern black debutante seeking to connect with a meaningful personal history; and, hovering above them all, the spirit of long-gone Mary Ann Battis, a young woman suspected of burning a mission to the ground and then disappearing from tribal records. The story of the women s discoveries about the secrets of a Cherokee plantation traces their attempts to connect with the strong spirits of the past and reconcile the conflicts in their own lives.
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