Tumbleweeds follows the lives of three friends, Cathy Benson, orphaned at eleven; John Caldwell, his mom died when he was young and was neglected by his father; and Trey Don Hall, abandoned by both of his parents at a young age. Their lives become entwined when Cathy comes to the small Texas town of Kersey to live with her grandmother and from that point on, they are inseparable.
Both men are in love with Cathy, but only one can have her heart. The saga follows the trio through their young adulthood well into their adulthood, when choices and events spiral and will have far reaching consequences for the trio.
The novel picks back up when they are well into adulthood, where the past still touches them. Can the wrongs of the past ever be fixed?
The events that occurred when Cathy, Jim and Trey were eighteen were selfish and carried the burden of long reaching sorrow for the main characters. All of the drama could have been resolved if not for a complete and utter lack of humanity on the part of Trey. What an abhorable person and the fact that Cathy and Jim could still have feelings for him made me dislike them a little bit.
I never liked Trey; he was a shallow and unsympathetic character. Whatever injustice he felt was done to him was ridiculous in light of his own “indiscretions”. He never grew as a character, he was just flat. I liked John and Cathy but I wasn’t happy with their character arcs and I thought John’s decision was led by guilt and not so much his heart. It seemed a waste of two people with the potential to be something better.
But that may have been Meacham’s point. Life is filled with decisions and actions that have far-reaching consequences and change the course of lives, not always for the better. But, a big But, the actions of these characters stretches my belief and the novel is pulled in a multitude of different directions and never settles on one.
For one, John and Trey’s secret and what they did with it I thought was outrageous and did not fit in with the setting or the lovey dovey tone of the novel and I felt it was thrown in for shock value. The accidental pregnancy and the way it which it happened, was just absurd. I’m sure it can happen, but combined with all the other incidents that left me stretching my belief, this was the topper.
Finally, the murder at the end, completely senseless and did nothing to the story. The drama could have and would have been much better resolved in another matter.
Tumbleweeds left me with a sick feeling in my stomach. The whole plot and everything that happened from the end of part one to the conclusion was just pointless and filled with unnecessary sadness. I had a hard time getting into the book and found the dialogue stiff and the conversation between characters, more so when they are eleven, hard to buy. In the end, I was disappointed by Tumbleweeds. I placed high expectations on Leila Meacham after reading her debut novel Roses and loving it. This one falls far from the mark.