Book Review: Serena by Ron Rash

SerenaSerena by Ron Rash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:   The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains—but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any man, overseeing crews, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving her husband's life in the wilderness. Together this lord and lady of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor. Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons' intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.

Rash's masterful balance of violence and beauty yields a riveting novel that, at its core, tells of love both honored and betrayed.

Spectacular! I finished this book & needed a couple days to just think about it before saying anything. I'm always thrilled when a book won't leave me alone after the reading is done. I loved this story & can honestly say that Serena was beyond formidable. I can't give away the best bits but honestly, there's something heartbreaking & altogether alluring in Pemberton when he's confronted with the truth of his end & is still determined to prove himself worthy of her. That was fascinating. I can't say Pemberton was blameless but I certainly don't think he deserved all that he got. The Coda at the end was a great bow on the story but I can honestly say that even without it, I would have been completely satisfied with the ending. Great characters & lush writing. I highly recommend this one.

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