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The Cherokee Rose

A Novel of Gardens & Ghosts

Tiya Miles


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (10/3/2016)


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.

John F. Blair, Publisher, 9780895876355

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Conversation Starters from

Many Americans can relate to Cheyenne Cotterell’s

journey to discover her genealogical history. Hearing

stories passed down by ancestors is a large part of

identity. But what if those stories don’t match records

such as newspapers, census information, and other

documents? Have you ever researched your family tree? Do you have

oral histories passed onto you from relatives or ancestors?

The Cherokee Rose is full of a diverse cast of characters from the past

and present. In what ways, big and small, do you see the characters

experience or confront prejudice based on their race, class, gender, or


The plot of The Cherokee Rose is really begun when the characters travel

to The Cherokee Rose Plantation because it is being auctioned; this is

not something that only happens in fiction. Do you feel citizens or

governments have a duty to protect historical sites like The Cherokee

Rose Plantation? Should there be more done to document and exhibit

the true history persevered in such places?

The Cherokee Rose follows Ruth Mayes and Jinx Micco, both gay

women of color, and Cheyenne Cotterell, a black woman trying to

discover a lost Native American branch of her family tree. The novel

also features historical characters often overlooked in history books

and records. In fact, when beginning her research, Tiya Miles was faced

with an archivist who laughed at the idea of finding any significant

material on African American and Native American women. Do you

think The Cherokee Rose does well to shine a spotlight on women

whose experiences have been all but erased from history? With which

character do you most identify? (You can take this Buzzfeed quiz to see

which character you’re most like!:


Tiya Miles’s distinguished research delving into the world of a

Cherokee-owned slave plantation in present-day Georgia culminated

into her works of nonfiction. Her research on that subject and expertise

on women’s history are the foundations for The Cherokee Rose. What

aspects of the history presented in the novel surprise you most? Was

the author’s note about her research enlightening or helpful? Do you

think fiction is a good tool to teach people about lesser known people

and events of the past?