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A Novel

by Ron Rash

Serena by Ron Rash X
Serena by Ron Rash
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There are currently 42 member reviews
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  • Donna W. (Wauwatosa, WI)
    Vivid Language, Interesting Characters
    The vivid language and interesting characters make this a fast moving drama. Serena grabs a hold of the reader's attention from her first introduction, and her greed and ruthlessness are balanced by Rachel's sweetness.

    The author uses beautiful phrasing, and wonderful descriptions. He has developed a taut drama that builds to a speeding climax.

    There is a lot of information about the logging business, and this is countered with information about the environmental movement which brings in a good counter balancing perspective.

    I enjoyed the book and found it to be thought provoking. I still will find myself thinking about the characters, and wondering what made Serena tick.

    All in all, a good read.
  • Anna S. (Auburn, AL)
    Unbridled greed and ambition
    Serena,the title character of this gripping novel, is the complete sociopath: attractive, intelligent, charming when she chooses to be, and utterly without conscience. She and her almost-equally sociopathic husband ruthlessly cut down everything, be it trees or people, in their quest to "cut down every tree on earth". They are the perfect match until he, in a moment of compassion,attempts to help someone she has marked for elimination.

    For me the weakest part of this otherwise excellent novel was the ending which was a bit too predictable.
  • Anna R. (Oak Ridge, TN)
    Quite a Read
    Don't you love a book that grabs you from page one and doesn't let go until the very end? Wow, that is the type of book Ron Rash has written..

    Serena is a ruthless woman who goes to any lengths to get what she wants. If something or someone gets in her way, watch out.

    The book was especially interesting to me because I live about an hours drive from the Great Smoky Mountains. To read about the lumber company stripping the land and the steps taken to claim the land for the park was fascinating.
    I haven't read any books by Ron Rash before but I will now. This is an amazing read. I read it in two afternoons.
  • Gunta K. (Whitehall, NY)
    A woman, tough, beautiful, cold and calculating
    "Serena" by Ron Bash is a page turner. We first meet Serena as she gets off the train from Boston in the company of her new husband, George Pemberton. On the platform awaiting their arrival is a man with his pregnant daughter at his side. Gossip has it the young girl's child is George Pemberton's. Ensues a violent scene between one of Pemberton's hired men and the girl's father. At the end of this violent scene Serena informs the pregnant girl that from now on, she, Serena, will be the mother of any and all children George sires. This moment sets the pace for the unfolding story.

    Life and work in a logging camp in North Carolina in year 1929 is hard and dangerous. The day by day work of loggers is fraught by constant threat of death from falling trees, catapulting frozen tree limbs in winter, runaway saws and a marauding panther. Nature in that vast wilderness is unforgiving. Serena rides among the loggers, shares meals, is constantly vigilant over their mistakes, has no mercy for anyone. A man hurt in a logging accident is sent home without pay.

    She also relentlessly hounds the mother of her husband's illegitimate child, to the point where the young mother opts to leave North Carolina for fear of harm coming to her son from Serena.

    Life in a logging camp of those days is described as incredibly full of squalor, hunger for whole families unable to buy food at the company store. Daily life of young girls working in the kitchens is full of fear since they are daily subjected to the whims of carousing men.

    This book is mesmerizing in its subject and the manner in which this tale is told.

    I recommend this tome because one is never bored throughout its 371 pages.
  • Elsbeth R. (Medford, WI)
    I didn't particularly like this book. On the other hand, I didn't really dislike it. The first half of the the novel seemed slow-moving. The second half picked up steam and became a real page-turner.

    When Serena was introduced, she was portrayed as an absolute wonder woman, being not only beautiful, but smart. She was portrayed as a woman who loved her husband and was determined to be his partner in love as well as the logging business. She was almost too unique to be believed. And then, as the story progressed, her true character came to light.
  • Loretta F. (Fountain Inn, SC)
    Mountain-high Drama
    After reading the first few sentences, I was drawn into the story and could not put it down. Now, the memory of it lingers, and I still find myself shaking my head in wonder at the sheer ruthlessness of the characters. They are larger than life and seem even more powerful than the mountains around them.

    Besides being memorable, I enjoy reading fiction that can teach me something new. Set in the mountains of North Carolina, the author often relates native wisdom about plants and animals with tidbits such as salamanders in a spring help keep the water pure. The writing is sometimes homely and poetic as when the author describes the fall colors as "bright and various as a button jar." Sadly, I also learned much about the history of the timber business and its brutal impact on the environment.

    This is a powerful novel and one of the best I have read in a long time. I would highly recommend it to individuals and book clubs.
  • Jane N. (Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey)
    One of the main characters in this story realizes that a person can be starving for words as well as food. Ron Rash has written a story that will fill the reader with both words as well as food for thought. This story is set in the early days of the Great Depression in South Carolina lumber country, a time of great innocence and greed in this country. The descriptions of both the land and the characters are beautifully written and the reader will soon find themselves caught up in a story that is hard to put down. Serena is a character that is hard to fathom or forget, but it is well worth the readers time to try to understand her. I hope that Ron Rash has a sequel planned for this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading more of his work.


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