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The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens & Ghosts

Tiya Miles

John F. Blair, Publisher
$16.95 paperback
264 pages
April 7, 2015

Written by an award-winning historian and recipient of a recent MacArthur “Genius Grant,” The Cherokee Rose explores territory reminiscent of the bestselling and beloved works of Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, and Louise Erdrich. Now, Tiya Miles's luminous but highly accessible novel 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. 

Based on the author's in-depth and award-winning research into archival sources at the Chief Vann House Historic Site in Chatsworth, Georgia, and the Moravian mission sponsored there in the early 1800s, Miles has blended this fascinating history with a contemporary cast of engaging and memorable characters, including 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. Together, the women’s discoveries about the secrets of the Cherokee plantation trace their attempts to connect with the strong spirits of the past and reconcile the conflicts in their own lives.


“With the character arcs and the exploration of an often-overlooked area of history—the Native American ownership of African slaves—this is a solid choice for book clubs that savor meaty discussions.” Library Journal
“…[a] wrenching yet enlightening saga. Readers will be taken with the way this novel blends past and present.” Publishers Weekly
“An enchanting examination of bloodlines, legacy and the myriad braches of a diverse family tree.” Kirkus Reviews
“With both modern-day and historical characters equally believable in their desires and life journeys, this novel tells a little-known story that is complex and captivating.” Foreword Reviews
Georgia Center for the Book named The Cherokee Rose as one of 2015 “Books All Georgians Should Read.”