Mary J. (Scottsdale, AZ)
Not for the Faint of Heart
This is a interesting story but can be violent at times. It describes murders and hunting of animals. That aside, the story is quite engrossing and will keep you wondering what will happen next.
Talya (Medical Lake, WA)
Beautiful work of Southern fiction
This work of art transformed me to the Carolina's during the Great Depression. It was a dark novel and I felt what all the characters were feeling, especially the author's Lady Macbeth herself, Serena. It was amazing to see how greed transforms the characters from beginning to the fantastic twists and turns of the plot. I will look for more novels by Ron Rash in the future.
Kathy G. (Alamo, CA)
Serena by Ron Rash
From the first page to the last, Ron Rash's storytelling was filled with contrasts between beauty and violence, land preservation versus economic interests, life versus death. His characters were captivating beyond words. I don't believe that there has ever been a woman quite like Serena!
Serena is my first book about the Southern Appalachia Region of North Carolina, and the trials of working for a lumber company. Ron Rash's descriptive pages placed me among the Highlanders - their string houses - their fears - their danger.
I highly recommend this beautifully written novel to book clubs and anyone who loves a good read. My next task is to order more of Ron Rash's books.
Fred S. (san diego, CA)
I enjoyed this book,and I'm looking forward to getting another of Mr.Rash's books.
Kristen H. (Baltimore, MD)
Into the woods
I had high expectations for the book based on the preliminary reviews I'd read, so perhaps it isn't surprising that I was disappointed, although I was glad to have read it in the end.
The story was weirdly Shakespearean, and there were enough references to old English that it was clear that this was intentional. Think one of the bloodier stories - Hamlet or Macbeth, maybe, without any of the wry humour that underlies those tragedies. It also had a touch of the Ancient Greek plays (especially with the use of the chorus) - Medea, maybe - without the character development.
The characters were unconvincing and un-nuanced, and many of the plot points felt forced or contrived. What made the story worthwhile, however, was the sub-story of the development of the National Park System, which is timely with the upcoming Ken Burns film on the subject, as well as the approaching NPS centennial in 2016. The presentation of the logging communities and the rape of the forests is in sharp contrast with the maneuvering land-grab that protected the lands into one of the most cherished parks in the system.
Flawed, but worthwhile.
Rebecca J. (Knoxville, TN)
Serena by Ron Rash
I was interested in the setting and subject of this book being North Carolina and part of the Great Smoky Mountains where I live. I learned a bunch about logging and the problems that came with the development of national parks. That said, the characterization part of the book could have been much better. The story lines were interesting (perfect power couple, poor illegitimate mother, etc.) but there was never much of an explanation of why the people were the way they were. Serena and her husband were 2 of the most evil characters I have ever read about, but I never got a glimpse of what made them that way. As a result, I found them somewhat unbelievable. The book was interesting but could have been great with maybe less history and more character development.
Wendy F. (Kalamazoo, MI)
A book filled with the lust for power. Serena Pemberton and her husband set out to take the lumber business by storm and they don't seem to care how they do this. This book really digs into the psyches of two power hungry individuals who have little care for others. This is a good read but I do wish that we would have found more out about Serena's childhood and what made her what she grew up to be.