Review by Shellie for: The Cove ~ by Ron Rash
A dark and tragic World War I historical fable that examines the role of superstition and patriotism gone awry within the rural Appalachian mountains.
About: Pretty and smart Laurel lives in a gloomy cove that her parents purchased many years before within the iconic Appalachian mountains. The superstitious locals believe the area is haunted, think Laurel is a witch, and believe that she and the cove are the cause of any bad luck or misfortune falling upon the town. So she is avoided and shunned. Left alone in the cove - her parents dead, her brother just returning injured from the war efforts in Europe - she feels like it’s a gift when she hears lovely and mysterious music. Following its sound she finds a man playing a flute. He has a secret that Laurel will soon discover.
Although the war is believed to be ending, in the town there remains the remnants of patriotic fever. In particular there is one local, a recruiter, who is obsessed. Sadly his beliefs and actions will have consequences for the characters as their lives inevitably become horrifically and intimately intertwined – leading to an ending that will blow most readers away.
Thoughts: Several years ago I fell in love with Ron Rash’s writing while reading his fabulous book Serena. I would say that this recent book, The Cove, is a bit simpler in style than this previous book, which I think may make it more accessible to a larger variety of readers. Nevertheless, it is just as thought provoking.
With a style that is reminiscent of some of my favorite classic American authors such as Willa Cather and John Steinbeck, the author gives the reader a feel for a rural setting within the US where one can experience the daily life of the people detailed within the story. He uses the language of the natives in these mountains, with their special dialect and its slow simplicity; very effective for helping the reader to feel like they are there. The best part is that imbedded in the story is a moral around the foibles of human behavior that is akin to a dark fable. I like books which exemplify my country’s heritage, are surprising, and provide a reason to think. This book does all three.
I would recommend this book to readers who like historical horror as there are some very dark aspects to this story. Ron Rash has included some shocking scenes with one section where I was out of breath, expecting a huge calamity. Although not something all readers enjoy, I did since I love horror.
This was a romantic, tragic page-turning novel for me. It was easy to read, lyrical, and heartrending. With Serena and now The Cove, I have Ron Rash on my list as a favorite contemporary author. I give The Cove 4.5 stars and highly recommend it to readers who like a “take your breath away” twist in their reads.
Hardcover: 272 pages; Ecco (April 10, 2012.)
This book review is part of a tour from TLC Book Tours. For more information link to their website via the badge, where you can find other reviews for this book and more.
For your convenience, and to help support our host and the author, below are links to the last several reviews for The Cove:
- Thursday, May 3rd: Bookfoolery and Babble
- Monday, May 7th: Tina’s Book Reviews
- Tuesday, May 15th: Life Fire
This book will also be included in the War through the Generations - WWI challenge
Thanks for reading.