The New York Times bestselling author of Serena returns to Appalachia, this time at the height of World War I, with the story of a blazing but doomed love affair caught in the turmoil of a nation at war
Deep in the rugged Appalachians of North Carolina lies the cove, a dark, forbidding place where spirits and fetches wander, and even the light fears to travel. Or so the townsfolk of Mars Hill believe–just as they know that Laurel Shelton, the lonely young woman who lives within its shadows, is a witch. Alone except for her brother, Hank, newly returned from the trenches of France, she aches for her life to begin.
Then it happens–a stranger appears, carrying nothing but a beautiful silver flute and a note explaining that his name is Walter, he is mute, and is bound for New York. Laurel finds him in the woods, nearly stung to death by yellow jackets, and nurses him back to health. As the days pass, Walter slips easily into life in the cove and into Laurel's heart, bringing her the only real happiness she has ever known.
But Walter harbors a secret that could destroy everything–and danger is closer than they know. Though the war in Europe is near its end, patriotic fervor flourishes thanks to the likes of Chauncey Feith, an ambitious young army recruiter who stokes fear and outrage throughout the county. In a time of uncertainty, when fear and ignorance reign, Laurel and Walter will discover that love may not be enough to protect them.
This lyrical, heart-rending tale, as mesmerizing as its award-winning predecessor Serena, shows once again this masterful novelist at the height of his powers.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Ecco (first published February 22nd 2012)
ISBN 0061804193 (ISBN13: 9780061804199)
About the Author
The truck's government tag always tipped them off before his Kansas accent could.Town/Location:
This story takes place in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina.
There is an ethereal feel to this story, as if the Cove was part of another world. I found myself drawn in by Laurel, a sad and lonely young woman lost to the Cove. Laurel is rather a mix of simple and complex. She speaks simply, she lives simply, she loves simply. However she is not simple-minded. Intelligent and strong, life in the Cove has not broken her. Devoted to a brother that is her world and ostracized by her community, she clings every day to every minute glimpse of beauty that she can find, few as they are in such a desolate landscape.
Her brother Hank is an honorable man who was horribly wounded in the war against the Germans. He and his sister are both viewed as outsiders, living in a Cove that most feel is cursed. However while Hank returns from the war a hero and sees a better life in his future, his sister Laurel will never be anything but cursed, marked at birth as a witch.
The Cove is viewed by the town as cursed, but in seeing the Cove through Laurel’s eyes I came to love it. Quiet and peaceful, it is free of people, since everyone fears it. There are some areas completely in shadow where light never falls, but there are also pockets of beauty where butterflies flit and colorful parakeets skirt across the sky as sunlight glistens in a hidden copse. There is always beauty in life. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder for it.
This is a story of judgement-- people passing judgement that they have no right to pass-- and the story slowly reveals itself, like the peeling of an onion, layer by layer.
I would consider this story to have a didactic theme, with a moral lesson hiding in the story. However there is also something cautionary about it. This story left me feeling a little like one of my favorite movies, The Spitfire Grill, leaves me feeling whenever I watch it-- melancholic yet hopeful.
I love the cover! Showing a redhead immersed waist-deep in the murky water of a creek or river, it is mysterious and serene and almost foreboding.
My final word: As the title would indicate, the setting in this story is everything. The ethereal feel of the Cove, the darkness, dankness, with pockets of beauty, is haunting. Laurel is one of these hidden beautiful bits. Unfortunately few could see the beauty of the Cove, nor that of Laurel. But I definitely felt the beautiful spirit of this story. I loved it, and am looking forward to reading more of Ron Rash's work!
Writing Style: 9/10
My Rating: 9 out of 10
I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.
Check out the full book tour schedule:
Monday, April 9th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, April 11th: “That’s Swell!”
Thursday, April 12th: The Whimsical Cottage
Monday, April 16th: Just Joanna
Tuesday, April 17th: Picky Girl
Wednesday, April 18th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, April 19th: A Musing Reviews
Monday, April 23rd: Life In Review
Tuesday, April 24th: Lit and life
Wednesday, April 25th: Brandi Reads
Thursday, April 26th: West Metro Mommy
Monday, April 30th: The Road to Here
Tuesday, May 1st: The Mookse and the Gripes
Thursday, May 3rd: Bookfoolery and Babble
Monday, May 7th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Tuesday, May 15th: Life Fire
Tuesday, May 22nd: Layers of Thought